Idol Chatter

There have been several Fridays home this past semester that have left me watching television all evening, and my newfound interest in “Ghost Whisperer” which is followed up by “Moonlight” has had me pulling a CBS all-nighter and watching “Numb3rs” which airs every week at 10 p.m. Numb3rs is basically a “Bones”-like procedural: every week there is a murder or some sort of crime which has the FBI enlisting a team of brilliant phsyicist-mathemeticians (as opposed to forensic anthropologists) at the local university to solve the situation using, well, math equations and physics.
I’ve started to like Numb3rs (though not nearly as much as I like Bones).
Most interesting on the show, though, is not merely the mathematical approach to solving crime, but that one of the scientists, Dr. Larry Fleinhardt (played by Peter MacNicol), is on a serious spiritual quest. He lives in a monastery, practices meditation daily, and is constantly discussing his religious questions with his colleagues. His character is also engaged in the search for “the God particle“:

“The preferred name for the God particle among physicists is the Higgs boson, or the Higgs particle, or simply the Higgs…Most physicists believe that there must be a Higgs field that pervades all space; the Higgs particle would be the carrier of the field and would interact with other particles, sort of the way a Jedi knight in Star Wars is the carrier of the ‘force.’ The Higgs is a crucial part of the standard model of particle physics—but no one’s ever found it.”
Larry’s character makes for fun science-religion debates and dialogue on the show, none more so than on last Friday’s episode, “Atomic No. 33,” which brought a faith-based healing church, the FBI, and these math-crime-solving geeks all together. Larry’s soul-searching–and belief that it is impossible to be a scientist without also believing in God, that science leads one to belief in God–was front and center and made for a pretty interesting science-meets-religion discussion. Plus, at the end of the episode, they do this fun “walk on water” physics experiment.
To watch the episode in full, click here.

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