Science in Christian Perspective


In Memoriam

Irving A. Cowperthwaite (1904ń1999):
One of the Five Founding Fathers of ASA

F. Alton Everest*

Sole survivor of the five founders

It is with sorrow and with great respect that we note that Irving Cowperthwaite is dead but it is with joy that he is now with the Lord he loved and served. Irving was one of the five who met in 1941 and organized the American Scientific Affiliation. While the attention of the nation was on war and preparation for war, this tiny band, each in some branch of science, had aspirations of helping the local church to understand the new language of science and especially to help young people meet the spiritual challenges to their faith that science seemed to be making.

Some of the first five fell by the wayside very soon. Irving was one who faithfully took up his responsibility and became an important early member of the ASA. He served as Secretary/Treasurer for the years 1942 and 1943 and was on the Executive Council which directed all ASA affairs for those very formative years. He was faithful in contributing to and attending all the early conventions.

Irving received the BS degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in chemistry in 1926. About that time, Prof. D. A. MacInnes left MIT for Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research and he took Cowperthwaite with him. For the next four years, Irving was a research chemist at Rockefeller Institute in New York City while pursuing a full graduate Ph.D. program at Columbia University.

In 1937 Irving left Columbia University to become Chief Engineer and Metallurgist at Thompson Wire Company in Boston. He retired from Thompson in 1969 with an impressive list of scientific papers to his credit.

Irving in 1931 married Fae Irene Poore, a graduate student at Teachers College whom he had met at Calvary Baptist Church of New York City. An interesting twistóWill H. Houghton was pastor of Calvary at that time. It was in Dr. Houghtonís Board Room at Moody Bible Institute that ASA "first saw the light of day."