Keynote Speaker

Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase

Senior Scientist and Senior Education and Communication Specialist
Planetary Science Institute

Grace Wolf-Chase in front of Orion Nebula

A Cosmic Journey: Reflections on Faith, Science, & Creative Interaction

Lecture Recording (access requires an SPU login)

I was mesmerized by space long before I was able to explain what Astronomy is, let alone what an Astronomer actually does. Science – like faith – is a process, a journey that is characterized by interactions and relationships. Indeed, the concept of interaction is central to how we understand the Universe, which appears to be better described as an evolving web of relationships rather than a collection of “things.” Modern science itself is a community enterprise, involving interactions between many people who bring complementary and overlapping skills to build on the work of past generations. In the Christian traditions, the concept of interaction is similarly fundamental to considering God’s relationship to nature, our relationship to each other, and to a Trinitarian understanding of God.

My presentation will explore how interactions and relationships play out in my research on the birth of stars and planets; how they are central to engaging communities in “people-powered research;” and how the creative mutual interaction between science and faith can deepen ways of thinking about God.

Dr. Grace Wolf-Chase is an astronomer who is a Senior Scientist and Senior Education and Communication Specialist for the Planetary Science Institute. Dr. Wolf-Chase is involved in multiple efforts to promote academic dialogue between science and religion. She was the leader of a project entitled "Engaging Faith-based Communities in Citizen Science through Zooniverse", which was managed by the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion. A recent blog post on the Zooinverse website provides further background on the project. She is Vice President of the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science (CASIRAS), an independent organization of scientists and theologians that supports the Zygon Center for Religion and Science and co-publishes Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. She also serves as an advisor for the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion Science for Seminaries program.