Kathleen’s involvement in the emerging science and religion dialogue includes organizing programs, lectures, and conferences at Chestnut Hill College to support ongoing interest in the dialogue. She received a John Templeton Foundation Science and Religion course award, the Quality and Excellence in Teaching award from the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, and an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Iona College, New Rochelle, NY. Her present research focuses on the work and synthetic methods of the Jesuit paleontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, particularly as it relates to modern science. She has published several book chapters and articles on these topics, edited a volume of essays about the life and work of Teilhard entitled Rediscovering Teilhard’s Fire, and is currently writing a book about Teilhard’s mysticism.
Edward J. Devinney Jr., Ph.D. is a visiting professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Villanova University. He is widely known for the “Wilson/Devinney” computer code for binary star light-curve analysis used by scores of astronomers.
He has a bachelor’s degree in physics from LaSalle University, with a minor in both philosophy and religion, and a doctorate in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Pennsylvania.
He spent 10 year working in the Florida university system, including two as a National Academy of Sciences Senior Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Goddard Space Center. He then spent nine years with Siemens U.S. research labs as head of the artificial intelligence department and chief scientist. He spun out a high-technology company from Siemens and served seven years as its CEO.
His astronomical interests include instrumentation, observational aspects of solar eclipses, and binary stars, including black hole binaries. He is also very interested in the philosophy of science.
Heaven and the Heavens (Spring 2012)
Peter Dodson, Ph.D. has spent his entire career as a gross anatomist at the School of Veterinary Medicine, and as a dinosaur paleontologist in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, both at the University of Pennsylvania.
He has done extensive fieldwork in the western United States and at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta. In 1981 he discovered a new horned dinosaur in Montana, which he described as Avaceratops lammersi in 1986. He has participated in field projects in Madagascar, Egypt, Argentina, and China.
With his students and colleagues, he is co-describer of a gigantic sauropod from Egypt, Paralititan stromeri, the diplodocoid sauropod Suuwassea emiliae from Montana in 2004, and the basal neoceratopsian Auroraceratops rugosus from China in 2005. His work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the University of Pennsylvania Research Foundation. Co-editor of The Dinosauria, author of The Horned Dinosaurs and of several children’s books including An Alphabet of Dinosaurs, he is currently working on a book about the dinosaurs of China.
Reflections on Fossils and Faith (Spring 2012)
David Hufford, Ph.D. joined the faculty of the Penn State College of Medicine in 1974 in the Department of Behavioral Science. His broadly multi-disciplinary approach earned him joint appointments in the Departments of Family & Community Medicine and Humanities.
When he retired in 2007 he held a University Professorship, was chair of the Department of Humanities, and Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry. Hufford is also Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania and in 2010 he became Senior Fellow for Spirituality in the Brain, Mind and Healing Division of the Samueli Institute.
Hufford’s research has focused on spiritual experiences, incorporating concepts from neuroscience to anthropology and psychiatry, including the differentiation of intense spiritual experience from psychotic symptomatology. His inquiry has focused on the experiential grounds for spiritual beliefs, and the role of reason in their development and persistence. He has also sought to understand the widely held notion that science and spiritual belief are contradictory. His publications have primarily been concerned with describing the grounds for spiritual belief, showing their reasonableness, and challenging the assertion that, beginning with the Enlightenment, science has made religion outdated and not rationally defensible.
His book, The Terror that Comes in the Night, considers beliefs about spiritual evil that are found all over the world within the context of scientific research on sleep paralysis.
Near Death Experience, After Death Contacts, and the Spirits of Sleep Paralysis: The Scientific, Spiritual, and Clinical Interfaces (Spring 2012)
MMichelle M. Francl is a Professor of Chemistry at Bryn Mawr College, where she has been on the faculty since 1986. She is a quantum chemist who has published in areas ranging from the development of methods for computational chemistry to the structures of topologically intriguing molecules, and teaches both chemistry and the occasional writing course. She was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2009.
Michelle is herself a writer whose essays on science, culture, and policy appear regularly in Nature Chemistry and whose reflections on living a contemplative life in the midst of the everyday chaos can be found in a number of print and online venues.
Trained as both a theologian in the Roman Catholic tradition and as a scientist, Michelle is interested in the ways in which theology and science intersect and interact. Should religion fear science? Should science dismiss the religious? How do these two seemingly different ways of taking a “long, loving look at the real”—science and theology—help us express our understanding of the universe that surrounds us?
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives at Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University, a Master of Arts from the Yale Divinity School, rabbinic ordination from RRC and a doctorate in religion from Temple University.
She has a longstanding passion for interfaith engagement that has led her to participate in major conferences from Doha, Qatar to Washington, D.C. For more than 30 years, she has explored what joins and separates religions in their practice and approach to holy texts. She has designed and led innovative workshops and retreats that bring emerging religious leaders together, in part thanks to two major grants from the Henry R. Luce Foundation.
She writes her own blog, Multifaithworld.org, and is published regularly on The Huffington Post. Fuchs-Kreimer is on the advisory board of the new Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue and serves as a founding board member of Clergy Beyond Borders with Imam Yahya Hendi.
Previously, Fuchs-Kreimer served as director of the Kaplan Institute for Adult Jewish Studies and as rabbinic director of the Jewish Identity Program of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Philadelphia. She is a past president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, was a member of their Ethics and Executive Committees, and a board member of the Association for Religion and Intellectual Life.
She is the author of Parenting as a Spiritual Journey (second printing: Jewish Lights, 1998) and of articles in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Religious Education, Cross Currents, Lilith and The Reconstructionist andJewish Social Studies, among other journals. She contributed chapters to Broken Tablets: Restoring the Ten Commandments (Jewish Lights Publishing, 1999), Christianity in Jewish Terms (Westview Press, 2000), The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (Women of Reform Judaism, 2007) and other volumes in the fields of interreligious dialogue, religion and social science, and Jewish thought.
Frank J. Hoffman is a Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and Associate Director of Ethnic Studies at West Chester University near Philadelphia. During the academic year he teaches full time at WCU and does research as a Visiting Scholar (Associate) in the South Asia Center, University of Pennsylvania. He received his PhD degree in Philosophy of Religion at University of London, King’s College.
Professor Hoffman was elected Chair of the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium (2011-2013) and President of the Greater Philadelphia Asian Studies Consortium (Fall 2012). He is a past president of The Oriental Club of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Interdisciplinary Association for Philosophy and Religious Studies, and the Society for Philosophical Study of Religion, Science, and Asian Thought (a Metanexus Local Society at WCU). Hoffman has organized numerous panels at conferences where his undergraduate and M.A. students have presented their papers, and has received theFaculty Merit Award in Faculty-Student Collaboration, West Chester University (2005); also for his own research, the Faculty Merit Award in Research, West Chester University (2006).
Hoffman has approximately one hundred publications including articles, book chapters, encyclopedia articles, and book reviews. He is author of Rationality and Mind in Early Buddhism, Pali Buddhism (with Ven. Mahinda Deegalle), and Breaking Barriers (with Godabarisha Mishra), and is also Associate Editor of the international journal, Asian Philosophy. He served as external examiner at Temple University and University of Madras.
In the past decade during summers Frank Hoffman has taught graduate students in several Chinese universities, including in the Schools of Philosophy at Peking University and Fudan University. In summer of 2012, Frank Hoffman was appointed as Professor, Sri Lanka International Buddhist Academy (SIBA), for his work with their new PhD program.
His work in the field of science and religion spans 30 years with leadership in the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS), in which he served as president from 1981 to 1984, and as associate editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.
Katz is past president of the Metanexus Institute and serves on the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and on several committees including “The Dialogue Between Science and Religion.” He is editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Food published by Scribner.
Patrick McCauley, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Chestnut Hill College where he teaches religion, literature and philosophy. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophical Theology and Literature from the University of Iowa, an M.A. in English Literature from Binghamton University and a B.S. in Communications/Cinema Production from Ithaca College.
His first book, Reading by the Light of a Burning Phoenix: A Kantian Interpretation of Hesse, was published last summer by LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing. It offers a new interpretation of Hermann Hesse’sSteppenwolf and is grounded on Immanuel Kant’s moral philosophy. He has also published the chapter, “On the Relation of Kant’s Aesthetics to His Practical Work,” in The Sacred and Profane: Contemporary Demands on Hermeneutics, edited by J.F. Keuss.
Frank Pennington is an Ordained Minister with The United Church of Christ, a national Protestant denomination of just under two million members. A progressive church, the United Church of Christ has roots in the New England Congregational as well as The Reformed churches. Frank has a Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester/Crozer Divinity School in Rochester NY and an undergraduate major in education with a strong interest in the social sciences. A 1972 graduate of the Divinity School, he served ministries in Buffalo NY (emphasis college chaplaincy and student organizing), and churches in the Finger Lakes of NY State and in the Philadelphia region, most recently serving with the United Church of Christ at Valley Forge (29 years). In addition to formal ministry he has also taught in urban public schools in both New York and Pennsylvania. In a period of intense public division with the weakening of civil discourse along with the growth of what have been called “the culture wars,” Frank has a strong interest in the constructive inter-faith conversations between religion, spirituality and the sciences especially as these conversations might be advanced at the grass roots and “in the pews.” Frank writes a weekly blog on religion and culture entitled “Frankonfaith” found on wordpress.com/ and enjoys outdoor activities including cycling, kayaking and hiking.
Leonard Norman Primiano, Ph.D. is Professor of Religious Studies, Chair of the Religious Studies Department and Co-Director of the Honors Program at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA. He earned a B.A. in religious studies, an M.A. in folklore and folklife, and a dual Ph.D. in religious studies and folklore and folklife, all from the University of Pennsylvania.
He also earned a master of theological studies from Harvard University. He serves on the Executive Board of the American Folklore Society, is co-chair of the Folk Belief and Religious Folklife section of the American Folklore Society, co-chair of the Space, Place, and Religious Meaning Consultation of the American Academy of Religion. Primiano co-chaired the Cabrini College Society for Religion and Science, a three-year program sponsored by the Metanexus Institute on Religion and Science Local Societies Initiative.
He has served as the developer and curator of Cabrini’s Religious Folk, Popular, Liturgical Arts Collection since its inception in 2002. His research areas include American religion; vernacular, folk and popular religion; American folklore and folklife studies; religious material culture (including Roman Catholic “holy cards”); and religion and the media, including Catholicism and television.
Currently he is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.In this capacity, Dr. Rivera teaches courses on theological topics, i.e., on God, Creation, Christology, Theological Anthropology, Theology and the Sciences, and Liberation Theology. Dr. Rivera’s research and teaching also include courses that explore the relationships between theology and the traditions of Western philosophy and culture. Among his interests is the exploration of the social and theological dimensions of important scientific ideas. His book The Earth Is Our Home (Imprint Academic, 2010) explores the meaning and implications of evolutionary theory for epistemology and philosophy of religion, especially in the work of British Philosopher Mary Midgley. As a theologian and scholar, and as someone committed to the perspectives brought by theologies of liberation, Dr. Rivera moves within an interdisciplinary intellectual landscape.