This week, I made a discovery. I found out that an incredibly thin shell in a very small well impacts the way light travels.
Scientists have known for a decade about the impacts of very small wells on light. This cool platform keeps light confined to a tiny blip which is so small, it shines on just a single particle–allowing a researcher to get lots of precise information, such as the sequence of a strand of DNA. I have worked (along with other researchers) to modify this platform for a fancy protein that won’t function unless it thinks it’s in a living environment. We made tiny balls to mimic the protein’s native environment, and fit them within the small wells. It worked! Now, we’ve been spending lots of time understanding our data. Before telling the science community about our results, though, we needed to know exactly how light is moving in our modified wells. The mathematics is so complicated that it can’t be done without a computer simulation! I’ve been using a sophisticated software package to get some great results. I am the very first person to see how a 5nm shell (that’s the width of just 2 DNA strands side-by-side!) makes the tiny blip of light be just a bit brighter in the center of the well.
By many standards, this is not a huge discovery–but that doesn’t keep me from being excited about it! I completed one of my life goals: to find out something that no one else knew before, something that I couldn’t have read in a book or journal article. I did not do this work all on my own, but this small contribution indelibly bears the stamp of my efforts. I contributed to the body of scientific knowledge that exists in this world!
I was the first to make this discovery, and that is worship. I’m not worshiping myself because I am great and powerful and independent; those things aren’t true of me. Instead, I worship God because I am participating in the giant narrative of the continual revelation of his world through science. I worship God, because he orchestrates the great unfolding of our understanding and he directs me to play my part well.
Sometimes, worship isn’t sitting in a church pew and singing with hands raised. Sometimes, worship is sitting in front of a computer screen, modeling objects that are too small for our eyes to see. Worship is allowing God to use us as characters in his grand story.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON TINY WELLS (ZERO MODE WAVEGUIDES)