A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

Air conditioning and heating of all buildings and vehicles have greatly increased the productivity, health, and comfort of human beings and their domesticated animals. However, in spite of the comfort and convenience, air conditioning and heating both engender plentiful complaints.

For example, as in many offices, the top-ranking source of disputes among our Reasons to Believe employees is thermostat wars. A temperature that is optimal for one employee proves freezing cold or sweltering hot for another. In cities that experience extreme heat and humidity, the buildings are so over air-conditioned that many people find themselves reaching for a sweater or jacket when entering from the outside.

Air conditioning and heating factor big-time into the global warming and climate change debates. Climatologists point out that more than 10 percent of the fossil fuels we burn and, consequently, the greenhouse gases we emit, go toward maintaining our air conditioning and heating units. With every passing year, that percentage rises. Hence, many scientists and politicians have called for drastic reductions in air conditioning and heating as a means to mitigate global warming and climate change.

Laws that ban citizens from using air conditioning and heating are unlikely to be popular or inexpensive to enforce. However, thanks to a new invention, such laws may not be necessary.

Personal Thermal Comfort
A team of eight scientists at the University of California, San Diego has developed flexible, wearable thermoelectric devices that can deliver more than 10°C (18°F) of adjustable cooling or heating effect for up to eight hours (see the featured image).1 The use of such devices means that individual humans can be kept comfortably cool or warm without the use of air conditioning units and furnaces to cool and heat buildings, homes, and vehicles. Unlike the one-temperature-fits-all output of air conditioning units and furnaces, such devices can be customized to meet the individual thermal comfort conditions preferred by different people.

The wearable thermoelectric device that the team of eight invented and developed was not the first personal cooling garment. However, previous personal cooling garments were bulky, consisting of vests containing large fluid or gel channels for coolant circulation and either delivering only a small temperature drop or a nonadjustable temperature drop.

What is especially novel about the eight scientists’ invention is that the garment is a solid state cooling device consisting of stretchable double elastomer layers separated by rigid thermoelectric pillars (see figures 1 and 2). This garment is lightweight and flexible.


Figure 1: Engineering Features of the Thermoelectric Device. Image credit: Sahngki Hong, University of California, San Diego


Figure 2: Flexible Nature of the Thermoelectric Device. Image credit: Sahngki Hong, University of California, San Diego

Many Potential Benefits
This wearable temperature control garment is the only cooling garment that can deliver adjustable, broad-range temperature drops for a continuous eight hours. At eight hours of sustained cooling, a human can wear one of these garments at work, another at home, and another for commuting and running errands between work and home.

Wearable thermoelectric devices also possess the advantage in that they can keep humans comfortably cool or warm in outdoor scenarios. Athletes, construction workers, firefighters, police, and people in other outdoor occupations would be able to perform at much higher levels of productivity. The death rate in such occupations would drop and the health of such people would improve.

There are also medical benefits. Wearable thermoelectric devices could enhance the recovery rate and time from burn wounds, fevers, and neurological disorders.2 The quality and longevity of life for people living with sclerosis could be improved.3

People in the military would be able to function under high heat and extreme cold conditions. Thermal cooling of individual soldiers could serve as thermal camouflage, enabling them to hide the thermal signature of their bodies from infrared detectors.

Our animals and our animal husbandry economy would benefit. These devices can be manufactured to serve as thermal control garments for domesticated animals. No longer would horses, donkeys, cows, and other animals that serve us need to die or suffer from heat stroke and freezing cold.

If these devices were to become ubiquitously available for human use, about 10 percent of the total energy presently being consumed by humans could be eliminated. Since most of this 10 percent comes from the burning of fossil fuels, the input of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere could be significantly reduced and global warming substantially mitigated.

Our Responsibility and Resources
In Genesis 1:28–30 and Job 37–39 God exhorts humans to manage Earth and its resources for our benefit and the benefit of all life. This thermal control clothing invention serves as one of many examples of how God has provided all the resources we need to fulfill his exhortations.

Featured image credit: Sahngki Hong, University of California, San Diego


Check out more from Reasons to Believe @Reasons.org

  1. Sahngki Hong et al., “Wearable Thermoelectrics for Personalized Thermoregulation,” Science Advances 5, no. 5 (May 17, 2019): id. eaaw0536, doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaw0536.
  2. Motahareh Mokhtari Yazdi and Mohammad Sheikzadeh, “Personal Cooling Garments: A Review,” Journal of the Textile Institute 105, no. 12 (December 2014): 1231–50, doi:10.1080/00405000.2014.895088.
  3. Yazdi and Sheikzadeh.


About The Author

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. I also am eager to equip Christians to engage, rather than withdraw from or attack, educated non-Christians. One of the approaches I’ve developed, with the help of my RTB colleagues, is a biblical creation model that is testable, falsifiable, and predictive. I enjoy constructively integrating all 66 books of the Bible with all the science disciplines as a way to discover and apply deeper truths. 1 Peter 3:15–16 sets my ministry goal, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience." Hugh Ross launched his career at age seven when he went to the library to find out why stars are hot. Physics and astronomy captured his curiosity and never let go. At age seventeen he became the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or "quasars," some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe. Not all of Hugh's discoveries involved astrophysics. Prompted by curiosity, he studied the world’s religions and "holy books" and found only one book that proved scientifically and historically accurate: the Bible. Hugh started at religious "ground zero" and through scientific and historical reality-testing became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God! When he went on to describe for others his journey to faith in Jesus Christ, he was surprised to discover how many people believed or disbelieved without checking the evidence. Hugh's unshakable confidence that God's revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message. Wholeheartedly encouraged by family and friends, communicating that message as broadly and clearly as possible became his mission. Thus, in 1986, he founded science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe (RTB). He and his colleagues at RTB keep tabs on the frontiers of research to share with scientists and nonscientists alike the thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology. In this realm, he has written many books, including: The Fingerprint of God, The Creator and the Cosmos, Beyond the Cosmos, A Matter of Days, Creation as Science, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, and More Than a Theory. Between writing books and articles, recording podcasts, and taking interviews, Hugh travels the world challenging students and faculty, churches and professional groups, to consider what they believe and why. He presents a persuasive case for Christianity without applying pressure. Because he treats people's questions and comments with respect, he is in great demand as a speaker and as a talk-radio and television guest. Having grown up amid the splendor of Canada's mountains, wildlife, and waterways, Hugh loves the outdoors. Hiking, trail running, and photography are among his favorite recreational pursuits - in addition to stargazing. Hugh lives in Southern California with his wife, Kathy, and two sons.

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