John Houghton: help from God in life and science

John Houghton discusses the role of Jesus and God in own life and career, including influence on crucial balloon flight of satellite instrument.

This clip is an extract of an in-depth interview taken from the Oral History of British Science programme.

Listen to the full interview track and all other tracks from this interview on British Library Sounds

But the fact that I’m a – I’m a sinner who needs to be forgiven and that Jesus died to forgive me is something very basic in my understanding of the whole faith. And the result of that is, of course, that I’ve increasingly, I think, felt a connection with the person of Jesus, which you can only describe as a relationship of, I suppose, love, like you feel very close to him, but also committing to – committing to God through Jesus the whole of my life so far as I’m able to do that. And that includes my work. And I believe that, you know, very much in retrospect – it’s not always in prospect, of course, but in retrospect, I can look and see the way God has helped me to do a variety of things and has also … answered prayer in regards to the way my scientific work has gone, not only my prayers but other people’s prayers too. And, you know, the remarkable balloon flight is something which in retrospect, of course, I – I see as God helping me to do something which – which is very important in my career. But also announcing to me that he was helping me by the way in which that particular event occurred, if that makes sense to you. 

How did he announce that he was helping you? By the fact of the first two failing? 

By the fact that we were right on the edge. And it was – you know, it had to work whatever – the third one had to work whatever and it did. And without that I wouldn’t have been – I wouldn’t be here today, I don’t suppose, in the sort of way I am. And it’s a – it’s one of those, you know, absolutely pivotal points. And in other ways too, in smaller ways perhaps, not quite so obvious. Now you may say, of course, I’m a scientist and therefore believe in the laws of nature and all those things, yes I do and I do believe that it’s a very orderly world and we have a very orderly God.

  • John Houghton
  • 00:02:43
  • British Library Board
  • Paul Merchant
  • 07/03/2011
  • C1379/45