Other conference speakers include Catholics like Vatican Observatory director Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J.; Karin Öberg, an astronomy professor at Harvard University; and Kenneth R. Miller, a biology professor at Brown University.
Non-Catholic speakers include Robert C. Berwick, a computer science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and John D. Barrow, a theoretical physicist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
Barrow will discuss his views on the origin and evolution of universes, while Berwick will speak on the ideas he and Prof. Noam Chomsky have developed on the beginnings of human language and why they think no other animals have anything like human language.
Besides lectures, there will be meals, social occasions, and a membership meeting at the conference.
The Society of Catholic Scientists has several hundred members. These include top researchers in such astrobiology, evolutionary theory and super-string theory.
Members include American Catholic scientists as well as undergraduate, graduate or postdoctoral students pursuing research in a natural science. The society's president is Stephen M. Barr, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Delaware. Its episcopal adviser is Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia.
The society held its first-ever Gold Mass at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s chapel on Nov. 15. It chose the term “Gold Mass” because it is the color of the hoods worn by those graduating with a doctorate in science and because St. Albert the Great, a medieval philosopher with a strong interest in natural sciences, was an alchemist who worked to turn base metals into gold.
That Mass followed the tradition of Masses for other professions, such as Red Masses for lawyers, White Masses for medical professionals, and Blue Masses for police officers.
The Society of Catholic Scientists website is https://www.catholicscientists.org.