About Elizabeth Nielson

Elizabeth Nielson is an undergraduate senior in philosophy at Brigham Young University. Attending a Jewish preschool, being raised in the church, and later studying at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies, she has been exposed to and interested in theological dialogue and doctrinal exploration since a young age. In college she has enjoyed interdisciplinary research within the relatively unexplored field of philosophy and Mormonism. Other works include “Between the Natural and the Spiritual Man: Weakness of Will, Mormonism, and the Conflicts of Duality,” published in the BYU Religious Education Student Symposium Journal (Feb 2015). Elizabeth plans on attending law school in Fall 2016.

Mormonism and the Scientific Persistence of Circles: Aristotle, Spacetime, and One Eternal Round

Abstract: The prominence of circles and circular motion has been one present in scientific discussion of the structure of the universe from Aristotle to Einstein. Development through Ptolemy, Copernicus and Kepler created elliptical variations, but in essence, the scientific community has been unable to break free of a certain degree of circular motion that ultimately seems fundamental to the very nature of the universe. Just as the circle featured prominently in Aristotle’s cosmology, it remains an integral aspect of reality, though perhaps it is more difficult to pick out in its present forms as planetary ellipses and curved space-time. In this paper I analyze the intellectual tradition surrounding the circle as a reflection of God’s eternal nature as discussed in Doctrine and Covenants 3:2. Essentially, I argue that the traditional Mormon conception of “one eternal round” is evidence of the eternal and divine nature of circles, which, the tradition indicates, is an inescapable feature of physical reality, and indicative of God and his purposes. Continue reading