Catholic scientists to meet at society’s inaugural conference co-sponsored by the McGrath Institute for Church Life

By Meg Mirshak

The Society of Catholic Scientists will convene April 21-23 at its inaugural conference co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s McGrath Institute for Church Life. Catholic theoretical particle physicist Stephen M. Barr, a distinguished partner of the McGrath Institute for Church Life and its Science & Religion Initiative, serves as president of the society.

The conference, “Origins,” will foster thought and discussion on a multitude of ideas including the beginning of the universe, life, language, intelligence and consciousness. The Lumen Christi Institute is also co-sponsoring the event with support from the John Templeton Foundation. It will be held at Chicago’s Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel. Registration is closed.

Last summer, Barr and other top researchers formed the society as a place for Catholic scientists to foster their vocation, converse with others on questions related to science and the Catholic faith, and serve as a resource for Catholic educators, priests, and laypeople. The society has several hundred members.

Barr is a featured speaker at Science & Religion Initiative summer conferences and workshops hosted by the McGrath Institute for Church Life. The programs seek to train educators to develop curriculum that expands the dialogue between science and religion and challenge the notion that the two disciplines are in conflict. He is the author of Modern Physics and Ancient Faith published by Notre Dame Press. Barr is a professor at the University of Delaware and created an online course on the intersection of faith and science for the McGrath Institute for Church Life.

Conference speakers include Harvard Professor Karin I. Öberg, Brown University Professor Kenneth R. Miller, and Br. Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory. Non-Catholic scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Cambridge are also scheduled to speak.

Media interested in attending the conference or scheduling interviews should contact Barr at or 302.489.9831. For more information, visit

The McGrath Institute for Church Life at Notre Dame partners with Catholic dioceses, parishes and schools to address pastoral challenges with theological depth and rigor. By connecting the Catholic intellectual life at Notre Dame to the life of the Church, the McGrath Institute for Church Life forms faithful Catholic leaders for service to the Church and the world. Visit