2017 Conference Report

A great start!

Dear Friends of the Society of Catholic Scientists,

I am writing to update you on the progress of the Society of Catholic Scientists.

SCS held its first conference in Chicago, on April 21-3.  About 105  people came, including over 80 members of SCS, fifteen “Scholar Associates of SCS” (Catholic philosophers, theologians and historians), and several other special invitees representing several organizations that are supporting us. 

The line-up of speakers was stellar. It included two very distinguished non-Catholic scientists, the cosmologist John D. Barrow of Cambridge University, and Robert C. Berwick of MIT, who wrote an extremely important book recently on the origins of human language.  Karin Öberg, one of our founders and Board members (who just received tenure at Harvard a few days before the conference!), gave a talk on the origin and prevalence of habitable planets. Ken Miller of Brown University gave our first St. Albert Award lecture on evolution; Br. Guy Consolmagno (Director of the Vatican Observatory gave the banquet lecture, and Robert Scherrer of Vanderbilt University (Secretary of SCS) gave a talk on the contributions to cosmology of Fr. Georges Lemaître, the founder of the Big Bang theory. 

There were also six contributed talks, and twelve poster presentations. The general feeling among attendees was that all the presentations were very interesting and that the conference a great success. 

Many attendees told me and others that they found the conference very exciting and that they enjoyed the opportunity to meet and interact with other Catholic scientists and scholars. 

The conference received good publicity in the Catholic press, as well as some in the secular press, including an article in Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnfarrell/2017/04/23/faith-and-science-come-together-at-conference-for-society-of-catholic-scientists/#63caf36c4d8c

Before the conference, SCS had about 320 members. The publicity attending the conference has increased that in just two weeks to about 400 members (once we have processed all the applications) and applications continue to come in every day. 

We are planning to have videos of the conference talks posted on the website very soon. We also hope to add various new features to the website over the summer. 

Several groups have expressed interest in working with SCS on projects in the future, including the Lumen Christi Institute (which helped enormously in planning the first conference) and the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame.  Both groups helped fund the conference, as did the John Templeton Foundation and several generous private donors.

I plan to send updates to everyone on our mailing list every few months from now on.

Steve Barr
President of SCS

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The Society of Catholic Scientists is an international organization founded in June of 2016 to foster fellowship among Catholic scientists and to witness to the harmony of faith and reason.