Christians in Science: The Christian Chemist
Edgar Andrews is a retired scientist who has spent a very long time in the field, and has seen a number of changes over the years. This writer recently had the opportunity to speak with Andrews about his life dedicated to science and to God, and the changes he has seen over the years.
As a child, Andrews had found himself fascinated by a book titled The Marvels and Mysteries of Science. So captivating was this book on his young mind that it set him on his lifelong quest to dig deeply into these same marvels and mysteries.
Andrews began his quest of scientific inquiry by pursuing a degree in theoretical physics from London University. It was during this time of schooling that another important book changed Andrews’ life.
Edgar had only a passing acquaintance with Christianity. His family had not been particularly religious and he had hardly ever stepped foot in the door of a church. Edgar had never had any interest in religion, and yet, at age 19, Edgar was taken by the sudden desire to read the New Testament. This urge was inexplicable to him, but being an avid reader, he tackled the task, and the results of his reading were almost immediate. Says Edgar:
“As I read the NT, Jesus Christ became a real Person to me and I felt His presence as I devoured its pages. I immediately began to profess my new-found faith in Christ and joined the Christian Union at my university at the beginning of my second year in October 1954, soon becoming a member of the committee and Missionary Secretary. I owe much to later membership of a Bible-believing church and to reading the English Puritans and books on the Reformation and reformed doctrine.”
Which books are more interesting
Edgar's Work in Science
Andrews began his scientific work in the chemical industries in 1953 after having obtained his degree. His first line of work involved the conversion of molten polymer into fibers of the newly-discovered polyester polymer. At the time, this was cutting-edge work, and Andrews was tasked with elucidating the mechanisms involved with this process.
His work in chemistry led him ever deeper into new fields of study, conducting research into such things as electron microscopy, the crystallization of polymers, and fracture mechanics. Andrews’ work was of such quality that he found his research being published in leading research journals, including Proceedings of the Royal Society A, the Journal of Applied Physics the Journal of Materials Science and Polymer Journal.
In 1962 Andrews was appointed to the newly created Readership in Materials Science at Queen Mary College, University of London, and charged with the development of a Department of Materials Science there. This came to fruition five years later when a new Department was created and Andrews was appointed to London University’s newly established Chair of Materials (a post that he held for 37 years until retirement in 1999, when he was given the lifetime title of Professor Emeritus).
In September 1972, Andrews was one of four speakers invited to address an international audience of over 400 scientists at the Michigan Molecular Institute's Dedication Symposium, along with Professor Donald Lyman and Nobel Laureates Paul J. Flory and Melvin Calvin.
God and Science
During and after a long university career Andrews fulfilled a number of other part-time roles, both as a scientist, and as a Christian. These include:
- International Consultant to the Dow Chemical Company, USA (for 32 years)
- International Consultant to the 3M Company, USA (20 years)
- Member Scientific Advisory Board to the National Oil Company of Finland (5 years)
- Non-executive Director of a UK public company (10 years)
- Member of various UK Government Science Committees (20 years)
- Expert witness in the British High Court and Court of Appeal, and in USA courts (various cases spanning 20 years)
- Chairman of Christian publishing and other companies (40 years)
- Chairman of Evangelical Press and Evangelical Times (25 years)
- President of the Biblical Creation Society, UK, (over 40 years)
- Independent Church Elder and Pastor (over 60 years)
Despite his busy and fruitful scientific career, Edgar never lost sight of his faith. For him, it was integral to his scientific work. Says Andrews:
“My biblical world-view affects every department of my life, including my understanding of science as one means of exploring God’s creation. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) is said to have exclaimed ‘O God, I am thinking your thoughts after you’ when he discovered the laws of planetary motion. This neatly summarizes the way I feel about the Bible and science. Many years ago, following a lecture I gave to scientists at the Dow Chemical Company research center in Midland, Michigan, Dow’s Director of Research, who was not a Christian, said he believed my Christian faith gave me insights into science that others did not have. This was a completely unsolicited remark which I believe was true. In several books I have set out to demonstrate how the Bible illuminates the wonder of the natural world.”
Edgar's Work Today
Andrews has had a very fruitful publishing history. In addition to his books on science, Edgar has written a number of books on how science and faith interact. Some of these titles include:
The Bible under attack (with Hywel Jones and Iain Murray, 1977); From nothing to nature* (1978); God, science and evolution* (1980); Christ and the cosmos (1986); Who made God? Searching for a theory of everything* (2009). [*indicates books translated into one or more other languages].
While retired from science, Andrews continues his work on the intricate interplay of God and science in giving talks and sharing his articles, writings, and insights. All of these are available on his website whomadegod.org