Past Talks

What We Do and Why We Care…


The Image Pipeline and the Image of God

The process of capturing an image with a digital camera is deceptively complex. I will give a brief introduction to the imaging pipeline – the process of capturing an image, from photons entering the lens to writing the digital image to storage. In the latter portion of the talk, I will discuss the “image of God”, as mentioned in Colossians 1:15, and draw some analogies to the way photographs are produced.


Advances in neuroscience have allowed us to, for the first time in human history, look inside warm, wet brains. We’re learning how to see what’s going on inside our heads when we do math, pray to God or watch a sad movie. This talk will briefly review techniques available to the modern neuroscientist and discuss a few example experiments. We’ll then discuss the interaction of philosophy and neuroscience, including its implications for faith.

Meeting the Other: Building Philological Muscle for a Better World

The usefulness of the humanities has been subject to lively debate lately. While the pragmatic benefits of obscure philological work in, for example, Old Norse literature can be difficult to tally in terms of concrete, one-for-one causality, the interpretive work of understanding and analyzing texts that goes on in my undergraduate courses allows students to build up those “muscles” needed for reflexive, sympathetic, and yet critical engagement with both themselves and Others, whether taken as cultural or national Others, or as the Others they see every day, work with, hang out with, etc. The humanities, done properly, teach us to engage reciprocally with that which is different than ourselves, to remain humbly aware of our own socio-cultural situatedness, to appreciate at the same time that we remain critical–all essential skills if we are to love the world and yet not be of it, to bring the language of Christianity to the problem. I will talk about my own teaching and research, my growing awareness of the potential of my field and the humanities in general, and the way all this relates to my understanding of my faith and its relationship to the world.

Transmedia: The Hidden Power of God

What if there was a systematic perpetual worldwide conspiracy to hide the existence of God? What if your family, your friends, and your co-workers were all actively part of this conspiracy? What if you discovered that you were also actively part of this conspiracy? Could you process the idea that everything that you believe and hold dear was separating you from God? This passion talk will question reality itself, and ask us why we believe what we believe?

Artificial Intelligence: What Makes Us Human?

In 1956, the term Artificial Intelligence was introduced through an extended brainstorm session at Dartmouth College. Six years earlier, Alan Turing published a paper that proposed a metric for determining human-like intelligence in machines. Since then, there’ve been many attempts to deconstruct and reconstruct our attempts to define the area of Artificial Intelligence. This talk will (1) give a few Philosophical counter-arguments towards the possibility of intelligent computers, (2) describe a range of systems that were created in the attempt to achieve greater intelligence, and (3) use the experiences from pursuits in Computer Science as a means to understand what it means to re-create ourselves—(and) more fundamentally, what makes us who we are.

What is Faith?

Christian faith is based on the premise that people can choose to believe in Jesus Christ as God. Yet much work in philosophy would question whether it is possible for a person to choose what they believe. Further, there is the question of whether such belief could be considered rational. Where then does this leave Christianity? Is it a religion that is saying that our eternal destinies are based upon that which is impossible for us? Or is there more to faith than meets the eye? In this talk, I will look not only for the philosophical and theological answers to the question of “What is faith?”, but also to the practical challenges these answers place before us as the body of Christ in sharing the Gospel.

Not Applicable: A Professional Testimony

I was encouraged to give a talk and have some interest but am not really interested in writing an abstract or anything. 😦 I’d probably talk a little bit about the research I’m interested in and what I’m doing in grad school.

Dark Hollywood

Movies are a reflection of a society’s value system”. Who doesn’t like movies? The film industry’s power in entertainment is obvious, but how can they use media to alter our thoughts and culture? What makes Hollywood so successful and omnipresent? Enter Hollywood’s dark side to discover the hidden messages in our favorite movies, the science behind screenwriting; a quest to ‘know (and love) your enemy’.

Serving God in Uniform

Following God impacts the decisions we make, the way we interact with others, and the way we think and feel about ourselves and our place in the world. In this talk I’ll tell you a little about my experience following God in the military–from my decision to join the Navy, how knowing God has shaped my approach to leadership and career development, and how the crazy parts of life sometimes bring the richest blessings. (I’m also happy to try and answer any questions you have about military life.)

Why God cares about environmental issues and so should you

Environmental issues such as climate change are some of the most pressing in our society today. And yet discussion of such issues has mostly been absent from the church, and these issues have been dismissed as unrelated to how we are to live our lives as Christians. In this talk, I argue that in fact the opposite is true. Environmental issues are supremely important to God, both in terms of our stewardship over the Earth and our calling to help the poor. As Christian scientists, we should be leading the way on these issues because we are uniquely positioned to further God’s kingdom through them.

The Big Bang

How did the Big Bang Theory become the dominant theory that describes the history of the universe? In this talk, I will explain various competing candidate theories in the 20th century that describes the evolution of the universe: their mathematical foundation, philosophical underpinnings, and observational predictions. I will present the evidences from observation that helped the Big Bang to gain critical mass support. In and through this, we will be able to see how worldviews and scientific investigations influence each other.

Preventing an Imposter from Stealing Your Identity

Many graduate students suffer from “imposter syndrome” at some point in their academic careers. That sense of inadequacy and feeling like a fraud can stifle one’s professional growth by weakening his/her self-confidence in their abilities and accomplishments. Left unchecked, imposter syndrome can strike at the very core of our identities. This talk will contrast the secular response to imposter syndrome with the biblical concept of identity, highlighting how we, as Jesus followers, are to take our cue from Christ, not the world around us (or how we may perceive it).

Probing the Top Quark

The Top Quark is the heaviest Fundamental Particle discovered in nature. The reason for its exceedingly large mass is not well understood. But experiments at the Large Hadron Collider can shed some light by measuring it Magnetic Dipole Moment. In this talk I will discuss my work on modeling the effects of magnetic moment on the property of photons emitted by the Top quark. I will discuss the relevance and significance of this project in the contexts of 1. advancing particle physics, 2. advancing God’s Kingdom, and 3. my personal spiritual growth.

A Christian Start-up?  Learning from founding 4Soils

Kids are like sponges, and they’re spending on average 43 minutes a day on smartphones and tablets. Why were there no good Bibilcally based materials for children?

As I saw the trend for edu-tainment in the areas of math, reading, and a host of other topics, I was lead to think about and start my current start-up on the area of engaging the mobile first generation with their faith in a new way, through these interactive, touch, mobile devices.

Wireless Communications: How God is Breaking Down Barriers

The development of wireless communication over recent decades has revolutionized the way we interact with the world around us, breaking down barriers that once limited our connection with people and information.  This talk will look more closely at why wireless communication systems is relevant to us as Christians.  Drawing from both technical concepts as well as personal experiences, we will discuss the ways in which God can use all people to demonstrate his desire for all people.

Technologies for Cooperation Across Diversity

Although the Internet and globalisation offer us the possibility of meeting and cooperating with people who are different from us, actually doing this is harder than it seems. In this talk, I plan to reflect on the role of technology for cooperation across cultures, geography, language, and religion, and how public cooperation can shape our way of doing research itself.

Past Passion Talks

God’s Creation and Stuff You Didn’t Know about Video Games

Romans 8 says that creation waits to be liberated from bondage and decay through the children of God. Two questions arise: (1) “What is creation?” and (2) “Who does the liberating?” Assuming that (1) creation includes video game technology and (2) “children of God” includes us, how well are we doing? This talk gives a brief overview of God in the video game industry, how academic and professional Christians are fellowshipping at secular conferences, and gives an instance for the earnest efforts of God’s children seeking to liberate God’s creation for God’s purposes. 

Free as in Freedom

Computers are changing the way we communicate and collaborate. One recent trend is the practice of open source software development, in which software developers make their work freely available to all. We will look at the impact of open source development on the software industry, and potential take-aways for other disciplines. 

Talent: Knowledge, Power, and Responsibility

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

The main talk will be based on the parable of talents told by Jesus and its effect on believers on future career goals. As many of you are in academia or industry, this parable gives tremendous weight for highly educated Christians, as we are among the 1% in the world with the privilege of knowledge, with much talents and gifts given to us.

How and what should we do as privileged people that have received much and how can we use our gifts for His glory? We all know that knowledge equals power, but we have to be also aware that with much power, comes much responsibility.

The Brain, the Will & the Spirit: Relationships from a Christian Worldview

We are learning a lot about willpower and self-control through psychology and neuroscience, both about its limitations and its potential. At the same time, other experiments seem to cast doubt on the entire concept of freewill.

How do these data interact with the Christian worldview? Can neuroscience challenge core Christian concepts of spirit, choice and virtue? In a flyby survey, we will discuss the major challenges to the Christian worldview and how these data might be synthesized.

What do you want to do with your life?

When you are at the end of your PhD, you get asked this question a lot. This talk is about the experience of planning your post-academic future when faith, and not your own understanding, is the driving factor. This talk does not claim to have the answers, but asks the question of what it is that we actually want, highlighting the uncertainty, fear, and loneliness in the process. Not only drawing from examples in the Bible, particularly, the story of Joseph, but also movie references from: Kickass, Evan Almighty, Lion King, and Finding Nemo.