57th Annual Meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation

Christian Pioneers in Science

Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA

August 2 - 5, 2002


Charles Townes

Professor of Physics
and Nobel Laureate
University of California (Berkeley)

Ian H. Hutchinson

Professor of Nuclear Engineering
and head of the
Alcator Project at MIT

Francis S. Collins

Director of the National Human Genome
Research Institute
National Institutes of Health

Owen Gingerich

Research Professor of Astronomy and History of Science
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Jennifer Wiseman

Congressional Fellow for Physics

The theme for the meeting is "Christian Pioneers in Science," which program chairs Ted Davis (tdavis@messiah.edu) and Sara Miles (smiles@eastern.edu) are interpreting not only to emphasize leading Christian scientists from the past, but also to emphasize Christian scientists from our own day who are pioneers in their disciplines.

Dr. Charles Townes, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964 for his work in quantum electonics. Dr. Townes invented the maser, a device that amplifies electromagnetic waves, akin to the laser, which amplifies visible light. Indeed, the maser led to the laser, for which Townes also holds a patent. Dr. Townes has a long and distinguished career in American science. His first significant work took place during World War II, when he helped develop radar bombing systems at Bell Laboratories. After the war, he joined the faculty of Columbia University, where he had the idea leading to the maser. Then, following a brief appointment as vice president of the Institute for Defense Analysis (Washington, D.C.), Townes became provost and professor of physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; since 1967 he has been Professor at the University of California (Berkeley). Dr. Townes is a Christian, and serves on the advisory board for the ASA.

Our second keynote speaker will be Ian H. Hutchinson, Professor of Nuclear Engineering and head of the Alcator Project at MIT, the largest university-based fusion research team in the nation. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, Dr. Hutchinson is a graduate of King's College, Cambridge, and the Australian National University. His primary research interest is the magnetic confinement of plasmas, with the ultimate objective to enable nuclear fusion to be used for practical energy production. In addition to numerous scientific journal articles, Dr. Hutchinson is the author of Principles of Plasma Diagnostics (Cambridge, 1987), a monograph about how to make measurements on plasmas that has become the standard text in its field. An active Christian layman, Dr. Hutchinson has served as an accredited local Methodist preacher, an assistant at a Church Army man's welfare hostel, a Baptist elder, and a Lutheran council president. Long concerned and interested in the relationship of science and Christianity, Dr. Hutchinson has written and spoken widely on the subject, in both academic and congregational contexts. He is the founder and organizer of "The Faith of Great Scientists, "a seminar about Christian pioneers in science at MIT.

Our third keynote speaker will be Francis S. Collins, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH. Here is a mini-biography of Dr. Collins.

Dr. Jennifer Wiseman is a Congressional Science Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and currently works with the Science Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. Dr. Wiseman received a bachelor's degree in physics from MIT and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University. She then served as a Jansky Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and as a Hubble Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, where she remains a visiting scholar. Her research concerns the study of ongoing star formation using observations with radio, optical, and infrared telescopes including the Very Large Array and the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Wiseman is a Fellow of the ASA and has given several talks to college students, elementary school classes, and church groups on the excitement of seeing God's ongoing creativity in nature. She is also a lay preacher and adult Sunday School teacher in her church.

In keeping with the theme, the program chairs will give preference to papers dealing substantively with important Christian scientists from the past, and are seeking outside funds to sponsor several more plenary addresses by contemporary Christian pioneers in science. Additional keynote speaker(s) will be announced over the next few months. Emphasis will also be given in the program to symposiums organized by the commissions and to papers by young scientists and graduate students, in an effort to encourage future Christian pioneers in science.

Pepperdine 2002 Home Page
ASA Home Page