COLLIS Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at Cornell University, the In Lumine Network, and the Lumen Christi Institute partner to organize
"Faith on the Frontiers: Origins, Cosmos, and Extraterrestrial Life"
a weeklong intensive summer seminar for undergraduates exploring questions at the frontiers of science and theology.
Where do we come from? Are humans a unique form of life? Is there life beyond our planet, and what would that mean for us? In this weeklong intensive seminar at Cornell University, we will explore scientific, philosophical, and theological approaches to these questions in an attempt to forge a holistic perspective in which the three disciplines are treated as distinct but mutually enriching paths to truth. Possible topics to be explored include: the material origins of the cosmos, evolution and the origin of human beings, the structure of the cosmos, and theological implications for the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Outside of the classroom, we will explore the night sky at Cornell’s Fuertes Observatory, chat with Catholic astronaut and scientist, Thomas Jones; tour Cornell Space Sciences Labs; and sing the Office of Compline under the stars.
LOCATION AND FORMAT
- The seminar will take place at Cornell University, in Ithaca, NY. Admitted students will be required to arrange their own travel to and from the seminar.
- Admitted students will be granted a stipend of $350 to offset travel costs
- Lodging and meals will be provided for the duration of the seminar.
- Participants will arrive on Sunday, July 7 and depart on Saturday, July 13. The seminar will take place from Monday to Friday, with lecture, discussion, and/or field excursions throughout the day
- Participants will be required read the assigned materials in preparation for the seminar.
- In order to receive the $350 stipend, students must participate fully in all seminar activities and complete a survey at the end of the seminar.
- Open to all undergraduate students, including those who graduate in 2024 and recent graduates.
- Applicants must submit an online application, including details on their course of study, a statement of interest, and a letter of recommendation.
- 15 applicants will be admitted to the seminar.
The application deadline is February 25, 2024
Contact us with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This seminar is made possible through the support of grant #62372 from the John Templeton Foundation, “In Lumine: Promoting the Catholic Intellectual Tradition on Campuses Nationwide.”
Christopher T. Baglow is the director of the Science and Religion Initiative in the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, where he also serves as Professor of the Practice in the theology department. He is the author of the textbook Faith, Science, & Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge (2nd ed., Midwest Theological Forum, 2019) and his work has been featured by the Word on Fire Institute and in That Man is You, Crux, Notre Dame Magazine and Church Life Journal. He is a consultant for the USCCB Committee on Catechesis and Evangelization, and his thirty-two year career in Catholic education has spanned high school, undergraduate, graduate, and seminary teaching. Baglow earned a bachelor’s degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville, a master’s degree from the University of Dallas, and a doctorate from Duquesne University. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Catholic Scientists.
He is best known for his work helping Catholic educators integrate faith and science in their classrooms, most notably for creating and directing the Steno Learning Program in Faith and Science (named for Blessed Nicholas Steno) and the Integrating Faith and Science at Catholic High Schools Nationwide project. Baglow was one of four people to receive an Expanded Reason Award for Teaching in 2018 from the University of Francisco de Vitoria and the Vatican–Joseph Ratzinger Foundation. He lives with his family in the South Bend, Indiana, area.
Jonathan Lunine is the David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences and Chair of the Department of Astronomy at Cornell University. Lunine is interested in how planets form and evolve, what processes maintain and establish habitability, and what kinds of exotic environments (methane lakes, etc.) might host a kind of chemistry sophisticated enough to be called "life". He pursues these interests through theoretical modeling and participation in spacecraft missions. He works with the radar and other instruments on Cassini, continues to work on mass spectrometer data from Huygens, and is co-investigator on the Juno mission launched in 2011 to Jupiter. He is on the science team for the James Webb Space Telescope, focusing on characterization of extrasolar planets and Kuiper Belt objects. Lunine is currently PI for a JPL-led study to send a probe into Saturn's atmosphere, and has contributed to mission concept studies for space-based astrometry and microlensing missions. Lunine is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has participated in or chaired a number of advisory and strategic planning committees for the Academy and for NASA.
Karin Öberg is Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University. Her specialty is astrochemistry and her research aims to uncover how chemical processes affect the outcome of planet formation, especially the chemical habitability of nascent planets. Dr. Öberg obtained her B.Sc. in chemistry at Caltech in 2005, and her Ph.D. in astronomy, with a thesis focused on laboratory astrochemistry, from Leiden University in 2009. She did postdoctoral work at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as a NASA Hubble fellow, focusing on millimeter observations of planet-forming disks around young stars. In 2013 she joined the Harvard astronomy faculty as an assistant professor. She was promoted and named the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor in Astronomy in 2016, and promoted to full professor with tenure in 2017. Dr. Öberg’s research in astrochemistry has been recognized with a Sloan fellowship, a Packard fellowship, the Newton Lacy Pierce Award from the American Astronomical Society, and a Simons fellowship.