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Creation: Artistic & Divine

Feb 15, 2020
Swift Hall
1025 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Stephen M. BarrUniversity of Delaware

Jennifer Newsome MartinUniversity of Notre Dame

This event was open to high school students, parents, and teachers.

Co-sponsored by Mundelein Seminary, the Archdiocese of Chicago Vocation Office, Relevant Radio, and the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame. This program was made possible in part by a gift from the Paluch Family Foundation and a grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

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Physics tells us how the universe is ordered, but can it tell us why? How are the laws of physics like a baseball rulebook? And why should we expect the universe to operate according to regular laws anyway?

If God created all things at the beginning of time, what are artists doing when they "create" a beautiful work of art? Can one thing be more beautiful than another? How are beauty and art related to God?

Join us on February 15, 2020 at the University of Chicago as Professors Stephen Barr (Physics, U of Delaware, President of Society of Catholic Scientists) and Jennifer Newsome Martin (Theological Aesthetics, Notre Dame's Department of Liberal Studies) help high school students from throughout the region investigate the physics of creation and the theology of creativity.

Contact Austin Walker for more information or with questions.


Day Schedule

8:30   Breakfast and Registrations (Swift Hall Common Room)

9:00   Introductions and Prayers (Swift Hall 3rd Floor Lecture Hall)

9:15   Icebreaker

9:30    Lecture: Steve Barr with Q&A (35 min lecture, 15 min Q&A)

10:20   Break

10:30   Lecture: Jenny Martin with Q&A (35 min lecture, 15 min Q&A)

11:30   Lunch and Discussion Groups (2nd and 3rd Floor Swift Classrooms)

1:00   Adoration

1:30   Discussion/Q&A among Barr, Martin, and Students


Stephen M. Barr, a theoretical particle physicist (PhD from Princeton University), has held research positions at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Washington, and Brookhaven National Laboratory.  In 1987, he joined the faculty of the University of Delaware, where he is now Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Director of its Bartol Research Institute. His research centers on “grand unified theories” and the cosmology of the early universe.  He has written 150 research papers, as well as the article on “Grand Unification” for the Encyclopedia of Physics. He has lectured widely on the relation of science and religion and is the author of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith, A Student’s Guide to Natural Science, and Science and Religion: The Myth of Conflict. He is also President of the Society of Catholic Scientists.


Jennifer Newsome Martin is Assistant Professor in the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame, where she also received a PhD in 2012. She is a systematic theologian with areas of research interest in 19th and 20th century Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox thought, trinitarian theology, theological aesthetics, religion and literature, French feminism, ressourcement theology, and the nature of religious tradition. Her first book, Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Critical Appropriation of Russian Religious Thought (University of Notre Dame Press, 2015),  was one of 10 winners internationally of the 2017 Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise (formerly the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise). She is also the co-editor of An Apocalypse of Love:  Essays in Honor of Cyril O’ Regan (Herder & Herder, 2018). Other work has appeared in Modern Theology, Communio: International Catholic Review, and in a number of edited volumes and collections of essays.