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Victor J Stenger
emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu, adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and president of Colorado Citizens for Science

I was 10 years old at the end of the Second World War, and I was absolutely fascinated by the atomic bomb. I read everything I could find on the subject, and used to listen to the reports of tests on the radio. So this certainly got me interested in science – anything with that much power must have had something to it.

When I was 16 years old, my mother took me to Manhattan and we attended a show at the Hayden Planetarium. After that, I was hooked on astronomy and especially the prospects for space travel. I read all I could find on that subject, and would sit for hours looking at the solar system paintings by Chesley Bonestell, such as Saturn As Seen From Titan.

I dreamed of travelling in space, and being the first man on the moon. I worried that I would be too old. It turned out that I was too young.

But physics and astronomy wasn’t the whole story. I became fascinated by evolution, and read all about it. It just made so much sense to me. When I tried to explain it to others in my heavily Catholic neighbourhood, they accused me of heresy. But I was able to show them books by priests that showed it was okay for a Catholic to believe in evolution. Anyway, I became an atheist.

Victor Stenger is author of books including God: The Failed Hypothesis - How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and The Comprehensible Cosmos: Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From? (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)). See his website.