Gordon in the News: last updated 11/14/2011

Tackling The Big Questions: Gordon Wins Grant for Lecture Series On Science and Faith

November 3, 2011

Jo Kadlecek
Senior Writer
[email protected]

WENHAM, MA—From our origins to exploring new galaxies, three leading scientists will be tackling some big issues in a new lecture series at Gordon College, thanks to a $240,000 grant.

Beginning in November 2012, Gordon College will partner with the John Templeton Foundation to present the Herrmann Lectures on Science and Faith. The series honors the pioneering work of Dr. Robert Herrmann, a chemistry scholar who taught at Gordon College for 14 years and addressed the “Big Questions” around science and religion throughout his career. Now retired, Herrmann forged a strong partnership with Sir John Templeton that enabled numerous groundbreaking events, networks, programs and publications that invited strategic thinkers to explore the relationship between science and faith.

The Herrmann Lectures on Science and Faith will take place annually at Gordon College beginning next fall, enabling world-class scientists to explore and present new research while developing an in-depth, original perspective on a topic on the threshold of science and religion. The annual gatherings are open to individuals from Boston, New England and beyond, and include three lectures over two days, with formal responses from distinguished scholars after each lecture. The research will later be compiled in a book.

“It is our hope that the Herrmann Lectures on Faith and Science will create an opportunity to galvanize individuals,” said Dan Russ, dean of academics at Gordon College. “These lectures are meant to explore issues of faith and science that invites a richer, broader, enduring and more strategic dialogue.”

The first in the Herrmann Lectures on Faith and Science scheduled for November 2012 will be Walter R. Thorson. Thorson began his career as an instructor of chemistry at Tufts University and then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before becoming a professor of theoretical chemistry at the University of Alberta and an adjunct professor of philosophy of science at Regent College in Vancouver. Thorson was a research fellow at the National Science Foundation at Harvard University whose area of expertise is intelligent design.

The second guest lecturer in the fall of 2013, Owen Gingerich is professor emeritus of astronomy and of the history of science at Harvard University and a senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Gingerich chaired Harvard's History of Science Department from 1992-93 and was a featured guest at Gordon’s dedication of the Ken Olsen Science Center in 2008. The third lecturer for the Herrmann Lectures on Science and Faith is not yet confirmed.

The lectures will take place in the Ken Olsen Science Center (KOSC), a state-of-the-art, 80,000 square-foot science and technology center at the heart of Gordon College’s campus. All lectures will be open to the public free of charge.

“This is an exciting partnership that allows us to build on our commitment to the sciences in the context of our Christian faith,” Russ said. “For students and scholars alike, these lectures will present an opportunity to learn about ground breaking research, which will surely inspire more engaged and meaningful discussions around these issues.”


Gordon College is a multidenominational Christian college of the liberal arts and sciences on Boston’s North Shore, offering majors in 36 fields with graduate programs in education and music education. Gordon is nationally recognized for excellence in academics and in character building, and ranks as one of the nation’s top Christian colleges. www.gordon.edu