Socratic Club hosts science, religion lecture
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 02:02
Tonight at 7 p.m. in the LaSells Stewart Center, the Socratic Club will feature a lecture by distinguished chemist Dr. Henry F. Schaefer on the work of physicist Stephen Hawking, theories of the origin of the universe and God.
“Very rarely do we host single speakers,” said Dr. Gary Ferngren, OSU history professor and adviser to the Socratic Club, which typically organizes debates with speakers representing both sides of an issue. “In fact, we have only done something like this three other times. Dr. Schaefer seemed like a good exception, however.”
This exception was made in part because of Schaefer’s prestigious reputation. He received a bachelor’s degree in chemical physics from MIT and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Stanford University.
Currently, Schaefer is the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia.
His research involves solving important problems in molecular quantum mechanics. With over 1,300 publications between 1981 and 1997, Schaefer was the sixth-most cited chemist in the world.
He has received many distinguished awards, including the Schroedinger Medal and the Ira Remsen Award of the American Chemical Society.
A scientist and a Christian, Schaefer has presented many lectures throughout the nation on the relationship between science and Christianity. He is the author of “Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence.”
“I’m interested to see what a scientist rather than a humanist says about religion and science,” Ferngren said.
In his presentation, Schaefer will discuss leading theories about the beginning of time, space and life’s existence. From his perspective as both a scientist and a Christian, Schaefer will explore the Big Bang Theory, suggesting that it shapes not only the understanding of the origin of life, but the nature of God as well.
“I’m expecting an interesting perspective on both science and Christianity from Dr. Schaefer,” said Socratic Club president Matt Rueben. “I think he will take an approach of harmonizing both science and Christianity, which will be refreshing to see the two come together.”
The Socratic Club, largely founded on the principle of Thomas C. Haliburton’s quote: “Hear one side and you will be in the dark. Hear both and all will be clear,” still seeks to provide time for multi-sided thought and discussion on the lecture. After the seminar, the audience will have an opportunity to ask Schaefer questions.
“I’m excitied to hear the questions of the audience,” Reuben said. “With a single-speaker lecture, this will still provide an opportunity to hopefully evoke more views on the topic than just the speaker’s.”
For those who wish to see the presentation but cannot make it to the LaSells Center, a live stream of the event can be accessed at live.oregonstate.edu, and made available on YouTube later. As always, the event is free.
Ryan Dawes, news reporter