For the past 50 years, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation has facilitated discussions about science and Christian faith in Canada. As part of our 50th-anniversary celebrations, we asked 50 CSCA members to comment on their personal connections to science, scripture, and Canadian scenery. We will share these contributions throughout 2023 in the hope that you will find them engaging and encouraging.
CSCA member of the week: Joseph Vybihal, teaching professor
1. Why did you choose your scientific discipline?
When I was a child, I never knew there was such a thing as computer science. I was interested in astronomy, and I wanted to be an astronaut. In high school, I took a programming course as an elective. Like an artist with a blank canvas creating beautiful drawings out of their imagination, I discovered that programming was the same thing. If I could imagine it, I could build it in real life by simply typing on a keyboard. I created video games and websites. I invented my own programming language. I ‘hacked’ into things to see how they worked. It was—and still is—magical. When I realized that I could use computer programming to explore topics like thinking and reasoning, I was hooked. This led me to artificial intelligence. My general science background also permitted me to work with other great people on projects for hospitals, aerospace, and engineering. I even spent time as a contractor building software for various clients. Teaching university students the art of building software and the joys of discovery through research is what I focus mostly on these days.
2. What is one of your favourite Bible verses and why?
Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd. My life has had too many ups and downs. I am grateful to God for his continuous presence. Even though I feel like Job at times, I know I have a saviour that does not forget (Job 19:25).
3. Which Canadian city or landscape do you love exploring and why?
It is hard to just pick one. There is picturesque Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, Cavendish Beach in PEI, the Mont-Royal mountain-river walk to a lookout point in Montreal for those who like to climb, and the countless tall mountains of British Columbia you can simply walk up to and just look up. Canada is truly a wondrous place. If only it were smaller to see it all.