List of Christian thinkers in science

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This list is about the relationship between religion and science, but is specific to Christian history. This is only supplementary to the issue as lists are by themselves not equipped to answer questions on this topic. The list's purpose is to act as a guide: names, annotations, and links are provided for use in further study on this topic.

This list is non-exhaustive and is limited to those scientists whose Christian beliefs or thoughts, in writing or speaking, are relevant to their notability.

Many well-known historical figures who influenced Western science considered themselves Christian such as Copernicus,[1] Galileo,[2] Kepler,[3] Newton[4] and Boyle.[5]

313–1000 A.D. (4th–10th centuries)[edit]

Set of pictures for a number of notable Scientists self-identified as Christians: Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Francis Bacon and Johannes Kepler.

In 313 the Edict of Milan ended Christian persecution in the Roman Empire. Although this is not the start of Christianity it largely starts Christians' recorded achievements in many pursuits, including science.

During late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, the Aristotelian approach to inquiries on natural phenomenon was used. Some ancient knowledge was lost, or in some cases kept in obscurity, during the fall of the Roman Empire and periodic political struggles. However, the general fields of science, or Natural Philosophy as it was called, and much of the general knowledge from the ancient world remained preserved though the works of the early Latin encyclopedists like Isidore of Seville. Also, in the Middle Eastern territories of the Byzantine empire, many Greek texts were preserved in Syriac translations, many of which were translated into Arabic under Islamic rule, during which many types of classical learning were preserved and in some cases improved upon.[6]

Christians, especially Nestorians, contributed to the Arab Islamic civilization during the Ummayads and the Abbasids by translating works of Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to Arabic.[7] They also excelled in philosophy, science (such as Hunayn ibn Ishaq, Qusta ibn Luqa, Masawaiyh, Patriarch Eutychius, Jabril ibn Bukhtishu etc) and theology (such as Tatian, Bar Daisan, Babai the Great, Nestorius, Toma bar Yacoub etc.) and the personal physicians of the Abbasid Caliphs were often Assyrian Christians such as the long serving Bukhtishu dynasty.[8][9]

  • Anatolius of Laodicea (early 3rd century – 283): a bishop of Laodicea, one of the foremost scholars of his day in the physical sciences.[10] He is an early writer, predating the Edict of Milan.
  • Nemesius (?-c. 390) A bishop of Emesa whose De Natura Hominis blended theology with Galenic medicine and is notable for its ideas concerning the brain.[11][12] It also may have anticipated the discovery of the circulatory system.[13]
  • John Philoponus (c. 490 – c. 570): a figure in the Monophysitism minority of Eastern Christianity. His criticism of Aristotelian physics was important to Medieval science. He also theorized about the nature of light and the stars. As a theologian he rejected the Council of Chalcedon and his major Christological work is Arbiter.[note 1][14][15]
  • Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – c. 636): Catholic Archbishop who preserved many scientific selections from the ancient worlds. His most popular work was Etymologiae which contained information on medicine, mathematics, astronomy, atomic theory, geography, agriculture, zoology, mineralogy, physiology, and other topics. His work was widely used throughout the medieval ages for its extent of research topics.[16]
  • Bede, the Venerable (c. 672 – 735): Catholic monk, venerated as a saint and Doctor of the Church. He was an influence for early medieval knowledge of nature. He wrote two works on "Time and its Reckoning." This primarily concerned how to date Easter, but contained a new recognition of the "progress wave-like" nature of tides.[17]
  • Rabanus Maurus (c. 780 – 856): Benedictine monk and teacher, he later became archbishop of Mainz and is venerated as blessed in the Catholic Church. He wrote a treatise on Computus and the encyclopedic work De universo. His teaching earned him the accolade of Praeceptor Germaniae, or "the teacher of Germany."[18]
  • Leo the Mathematician (c. 790 – after 869): Archbishop of Thessalonica, he later became the head of the Magnaura School of philosophy in Constantinople, where he taught Aristotelian logic. Leo also composed his own medical encyclopaedia. He has been called a "true Renaissance man" and "the cleverest man in Byzantium in the 9th century".[19][20][21]
  • Hunayn ibn Ishaq (c. 809 – 873): Assyrian Christian physician known for translations of Greek scientific works and as author of "Ten Treatises on Ophthalmology." He also wrote "How to Grasp Religion", which involved the apologetics for his faith.[22]
  • Qusta ibn Luqa (820–912): Melkite physician, scientist and translator. He wrote commentaries on Euclid and a treatise on the Armillary sphere. A Latin translation of his work ‘On the Difference between the Spirit and the Soul’ ('De Differentia Spiritus et Animae') was one of the few works not attributed to Aristotle that was included in a list of ‘books to be 'read,' or lectured on, by the Masters of the Faculty of Arts, at Paris in 1254, as part of their study of Natural Philosophy. He was known for medical works admired by Muslims as well, such as Medical Regime for the Pilgrims to Mecca: The Risālā Fī Tadbīr Safar Al-ḥa.[23][24]

1001–1200 A.D. (11th and 12th centuries)[edit]

Clerks studying astronomy and geometry.
France, early 15th century.

As of the year 1000, western Europe remained a backwater compared to other world regions: while the population in Constantinople exceeded 300,000, Rome had mere 35,000 inhabitants and Paris only 20,000.[25][26] This new period, however, saw prosperity and rapidly increasing population, which brought about great social and political change.

During the Renaissance of the 12th century, interest in the study of nature was revitalized through an intense translation movement aimed at Greek and Arabic scientific texts. Monastic and cathedral schools took a leading role in studying these texts and theorizing over the new insights they brought. At the same time, an important new kind of higher learning institution was being developed: the university.

1201–1400 A.D. (13th and 14th centuries)[edit]

The translation of scientific texts continued. By 1200, there were reasonably accurate Latin versions of the main classical works. Meanwhile, the new universities were rapidly spreading through Europe and providing a new infrastructure for scientific communities. They became the main institutions in which the new texts were studied and elaborated. In fact, the medieval university curriculum laid much more emphasis on scientific knowledge than does its modern descendent.[35] This all lead to innovative scientific work being done, especially in the 14th century.

  • Robert Grosseteste (c.1175–1253): Bishop of Lincoln, he was the central character of the English intellectual movement in the first half of the 13th century and is considered the founder of scientific thought in Oxford. He had a great interest in the natural world and wrote texts on the mathematical sciences of optics, astronomy and geometry. He affirmed that experiments should be used in order to verify a theory, testing its consequences and added greatly to the development of the scientific method.[36]
  • Pope John XXI (c.1215–1277): He wrote the widely used medical text Thesaurus pauperum before becoming Pope. When he took office as pope in 1277, he immediately cracked down on heterodoxy including Averroes works and teachings on Aristotle.[37]
  • Albertus Magnus (c.1193–1280): Patron saint of scientists in Catholicism who may have been the first to isolate arsenic. He wrote that: "Natural science does not consist in ratifying what others have said, but in seeking the causes of phenomena." Yet he rejected elements of Aristotelianism that conflicted with Catholicism and drew on his faith as well as Neo-Platonic ideas to "balance" "troubling" Aristotelian elements.[note 2][38]
  • Roger Bacon (c.1214–1294): He was an English philosopher who emphasized empiricism and has been presented as one of the earliest advocates of the modern scientific method. He joined the Franciscan Order around 1240, where he was influenced by Grosseteste. Bacon was responsible for making the concept of "laws of nature" widespread, and contributed in such areas as mechanics, geography and, most of all, optics.[39]
  • Jordanus de Nemore (fl. 13th century): Italian scholar whose work was considerable important in the development of mathematics and science.[40]
  • Theodoric of Freiberg (c.1250–c.1310): Dominican who is believed to have given the first correct explanation for the rainbow in De iride et radialibus impressionibus or On the Rainbow. In theology he disagreed with Thomas Aquinas on metaphysical positions and tended towards a more Neoplatonic outlook than Aquinas.[41]
  • Thomas Bradwardine (c.1290–1349): He was an English archbishop, often called "the Profound Doctor". He developed studies as one of the Oxford Calculators of Merton College, Oxford University. These studies would lead to important developments in mechanics.[42]
  • William of Ockham (c.1285–c.1350): He was an English Franciscan friar and scholastic philosopher. He is a major figure of medieval thought and was at the center of the major intellectual and political controversies of his time. Commonly known for Occam's razor, the scientific/methodological principle of parsimony that contributed to theory choice in the scientific method, he also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology.[43]
  • Jean Buridan (c.1300–c.1358): He was a Catholic priest and one of the most influential philosophers of the later Middle Ages. He developed the theory of impetus, which was an important step toward the modern concept of inertia.[44]
  • Nicephorus Gregoras (c.1295-1360): He was a figure in the Hesychast controversy and took a position against Palamism. In science he proposed a calendar revision, wrote on the astrolabe, and was part of a revival in Byzantine astronomy.[45][46]
  • Nicole Oresme (c.1323–1382): Theologian and bishop of Lisieux, he was one of the early founders and popularizers of modern sciences. One of his many scientific contributions is the discovery of the curvature of light through atmospheric refraction.[47]

1401–1600 A.D. (15th and 16th centuries)[edit]

Around 1350, the Black Death and other disasters sealed a sudden end to the previous period of massive philosophic and scientific development. Even during the initial portion of the Renaissance, the amount of scientific activity remained depressed.[48]

Yet, developments such as the printing press and the dissemination of algebra would soon have important consequences. From around 1475 scientific inquiry resumed and later reached levels previously unseen. It was a period of great upheaval: the Fall of Constantinople; the discovery of the Americas; the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation presaged large social and political changes. Indeed, the publication of Copernicus' heliocentric model of the cosmos (1543) is seen by many as marking the beginning of a scientific revolution.

  • Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464): Catholic cardinal and theologian who made contributions to the field of mathematics by developing the concepts of the infinitesimal and of relative motion. His philosophical speculations also anticipated Copernicusheliocentric world-view.[49]
  • Otto Brunfels (1488–1534): A theologian and botanist from Mainz, Germany. His Catalogi virorum illustrium is considered to be the first book on the history of evangelical sects that had broken away from the Catholic Church. In botany his Herbarum vivae icones helped earn him acclaim as one of the "fathers of botany".[50]
  • Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543): Catholic canon who introduced a heliocentric world view. In 1616, in connection with the Galileo affair, this work was forbidden by the Church "until corrected". Nine sentences representing heliocentricism as certain had to be either omitted or changed. This done, the reading of the book was allowed.[51] Only in 1835 the original uncensored version was dropped from the Index of Prohibited Books.[52]
  • Michael Servetus (1511–1553): Nontrinitarian who was condemned and imprisoned by Catholics before being burned at the stake by Calvinists in Protestant-run Geneva. In science wrote on astronomy and his theological work "Christianismi Restitutio" contained the first European description of the function of pulmonary circulation.[53]
  • Michael Stifel (c.1486–1567): Augustinian monk and mathematician who became an early supporter of Martin Luther. His Arithmetica integra contained important innovations in mathematical notation and a table of integers and powers of 2 that some have considered to be an early version of a logarithmic table.[54][55] He also wrote on Biblical prophecies.[56][57][58]
  • William Turner (c.1508–1568): He is sometimes called the "father of English botany" and was also an ornithologist. Religiously he was arrested for preaching in favor of the Reformation. He later became a Dean of Wells Cathedral, but was expelled for nonconformity.[59]
  • Ignazio Danti (1536–1586): As bishop of Alatri he convoked a diocesan synod to deal with abuses. He was also a mathematician who wrote on Euclid, an astronomer, and a designer of mechanical devices.[60]
  • Giordano Bruno (1548–1600): Italian philosopher, priest, and cosmologist, known for espousing the idea the that Earth revolves around the Sun and that many other worlds revolve around other suns. For his many heretical views, including his denial of the divinity of Christ, he was tried by the Roman Inquisition and burned at the stake. The Catholic Encyclopedia labels his system of beliefs "an incoherent materialistic pantheism."[61]

1601–1700 A.D. (17th century)[edit]

If the scientific revolution started in the 16th century, it was now in full operation. New ideas in physics, astronomy, biology, human anatomy, chemistry, and other sciences were posing a challenge for many conceptions about nature that had prevailed starting in Ancient Greece and continuing through the Middle Ages. This eventually led to the rejection of the old views and established a new framework for the study of nature. The period culminated with the publication of the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687 by Isaac Newton, representative of the unprecedented growth of scientific publications throughout Europe. Newton is presented in the next section of the list, since he died in 1720.

  • Tycho Brahe (1546–1601): Brahe "not only designed and built instruments, he also calibrated them and checked their accuracy periodically. He thus revolutionized astronomical instrumentation." His work is considered to have been essential for the discoveries of Johannes Kepler.[62] Brahe was a Lutheran.
  • Bartholomaeus Pitiscus (1561–1613): He may have introduced the word trigonometry into English and French. He was also a Calvinist theologian who acted as court preacher at the town then called Breslau.[63]
  • John Napier (1550–1617): Scottish mathematician known for inventing logarithms, Napier's bones, and being the popularizer of the use of decimals. He also was a staunch Protestant who wrote on the Book of Revelation.[64]
  • Francis Bacon (1561–1626): Considered among the fathers of empiricism and is credited with establishing the inductive method of experimental science via what is called the scientific method today.[65]
  • Johannes Kepler (1571–1630): His model of the cosmos based on nesting Platonic solids was explicitly driven by religious ideas; his later and most famous scientific contribution, the Kepler's laws of planetary motion, was based on empirical data that he obtained from Tycho Brahe's meticulous astronomical observations, after Tycho died in 1601. He had wanted to be a theologian at one time and his Harmonice Mundi discusses Christ at points.[66]
  • Galileo Galilei (1564–1642): Scientist who had many problems with the Inquisition for defending heliocentrism in the convoluted period brought about by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. In regard to Scripture, he took Augustine's position: not to take every passage too literally, particularly when the scripture in question is a book of poetry and songs, not a book of instructions or history.[67]
  • Laurentius Gothus (1565–1646): A professor of astronomy and Archbishop of Uppsala. He wrote on astronomy and theology.[68]
  • Bonaventura Cavalieri (1598–1647): Italian mathematician and Jesuat known for Cavalieri's principle.[69]
  • Marin Mersenne (1588–1648): For four years he devoted himself to theology writing Quaestiones celeberrimae in Genesim (1623) and L'Impieté des déistes (1624). These were theological essays against atheism and deism. He is more remembered for the work he did corresponding with mathematicians and concerning Mersenne primes.[70]
  • René Descartes (1596–1650): He was a key thinker of the Scientific Revolution. He did important work on geometry and is honoured by having the Cartesian coordinate system used in plane geometry and algebra named after him. His Meditations on First Philosophy partially concerns theology and he was devoted to reconciling his ideas with the dogmas of Catholic Faith to which he was loyal.[note 3][71]
  • Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655): Catholic priest who tried to reconcile Atomism with Christianity. He also published the first work on the Transit of Mercury and corrected the geographical coordinates of the Mediterranean Sea.[72]
  • Anton Maria of Rheita (1597–1660): Capuchin astronomer. He dedicated one of his astronomy books to Jesus Christ, a "theo-astronomy" work was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and he wondered if beings on other planets were "cursed by original sin like humans are."[73]
  • Blaise Pascal (1623–1662): Jansenist thinker;[note 4] well known for Pascal's law (physics), Pascal's theorem (math), and Pascal's Wager (theology).[74]
  • Francesco Maria Grimaldi (1618–1663): Italian Jesuit priest who was the first to make accurate observations on the diffraction of light.[75]
  • Isaac Barrow (1630–1677): English divine, scientist, and mathematician. He wrote Expositions of the Creed, The Lord's Prayer, Decalogue, and Sacraments and Lectiones Opticae et Geometricae.[76]
  • Athanasius Kircher (1602–1680): German Jesuit scholar and polymath who published around 40 major works, most notably in the fields of Orientalism, geology, and medicine.
  • Juan Lobkowitz (1606–1682): Cistercian monk who did work on Combinatorics and published astronomy tables at age 10. He also did works of theology and sermons.[77]
  • Nicolas Steno (1638–1686): Lutheran convert to Catholicism, his beatification in that faith occurred in 1987. As a scientist he is considered a pioneer in both anatomy and geology, but largely abandoned science after his religious conversion.[78][79]
  • Seth Ward (1617–1689): Anglican Bishop of Salisbury and Savilian Chair of Astronomy from 1649–1661. He wrote Ismaelis Bullialdi astro-nomiae philolaicae fundamenta inquisitio brevis and Astronomia geometrica. He also had a theological/philosophical dispute with Thomas Hobbes and as a bishop was severe toward nonconformists.[80]
  • Thomas Sydenham (1624–1689), English physician who is considered "the father of English medicine" and has been dubbed "The English Hippocrates".[81]
  • Robert Boyle (1627–1691): Prominent scientist and theologian who argued that the study of science could improve glorification of God.[82][83] A strong Christian apologist, he is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Chemistry.

1701–1800 A.D. (18th century)[edit]

The 18th century is considered the zenith of the Enlightenment. It was not a single movement or school of thought, it was less a set of ideas than it was a set of values. At its core was a critical questioning of traditional institutions, customs, and morals, and a strong belief in rationality and science. The end of the century saw the French Revolution which led to the first major de-Christianization attempts in Europe to occur in many centuries. This culminated in the Cult of the Supreme Being. The period thus saw Christianity in transition and eventually conflict.

  • John Wallis (1616–1703): As a mathematician he wrote Arithmetica Infinitorumis, introduced the term Continued fraction, worked on cryptography, helped develop calculus, and is further known for the Wallis product. He also devised a system for teaching the non-speaking deaf. He was also a Calvinist inclined chaplain who was active in theological debate.[84]
  • John Ray (1627–1705): English botanist who wrote The Wisdom of God manifested in the Works of the Creation. (1691) The John Ray Initiative[85] of Environment and Christianity is also named for him.[86]
  • Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716): Polymath who invented Calculus independently of Isaac Newton. He was a philosopher who developed the philosophical theory of the Pre-established harmony; he is also most noted for his optimism, e.g., his conclusion that our Universe is, in a restricted sense, the best possible one that God could have created. He made major contributions to physics and technology, and anticipated notions that surfaced much later in philosophy, probability theory, biology, medicine, geology, psychology, linguistics, and computer science. He wrote works on philosophy, politics, law, ethics, theology, history, and philology. He was a Lutheran who worked with convert to Catholicism John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg in hopes of a reunification between Catholicism and Lutheranism.[87]
  • Isaac Newton (1643–1727): He is regarded as one of the greatest scientists and mathematicians in history. Newton's study of the Bible and of the early Church Fathers were among his greatest passions, though he consistently refused to swear his allegiance to the church. He wrote Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (Nontrinitarianism).[88] Isaac Newton's religious views are considered by some to be close to deism and several biographers and scholars labeled him as a deist who is strongly influenced by Christianity.[89][90][91][92] However, he differed from strict adherents of deism in that he invoked God as a special physical cause to keep the planets in orbits.[93]
  • Colin Maclaurin (1698–1746): Proposed to explain Newton's differential calculus using infinite series instead of Newton's fluxions. A Divinity student, he had a Christian institute named for him.[94]
  • Stephen Hales (1677–1761): A Copley Medal winning scientist significant to the study of plant physiology. As an inventor designed a type of ventilation system, a means to distill sea-water, ways to preserve meat, etc. In religion he was an Anglican curate who worked with the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and for a group working to convert black slaves in the West Indies.[95]
  • Thomas Bayes (1701–1761): Presbyterian minister who wrote Divine Benevolence, or an Attempt to Prove That the Principal End of the Divine Providence and Government is the Happiness of His Creatures. He is better known for Bayes' theorem and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1742. [96]
  • Firmin Abauzit (1679–1767): A physicist and theologian. He translated the New Testament into French and corrected an error in Newton's Principia.[97]
  • Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772): His writing is the basis of Swedenborgianism and several of his theological works contained some science hypotheses, most notably the Nebular hypothesis for the origin of the Solar System.[98]
  • Benjamin Stillingfleet (1702–1771), British botanist and Fellow of the Royal Society.
  • Albrecht von Haller (1708–1777), Swiss anatomist, physiologist known as "the father of modern physiology." A Protestant, he was involved in the erection of the Reformed church in Göttingen, and, as a man interested in religious questions, he wrote apologetic letters which were compiled by his daughter under the name .[99]
  • Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778): He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy" and also made contributions to ecology. Natural theology and the Bible were important to his Systema Naturae and Systema Vegetabilium.'[100]
  • Leonhard Euler (1707–1783): A significant mathematician and physicist, see List of topics named after Leonhard Euler. The son of a pastor, he wrote Defense of the Divine Revelation against the Objections of the Freethinkers and is also commemorated by the Lutheran Church on their Calendar of Saints on May 24.[101]
  • Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794): Is considered the "father of modern chemistry". He is known for his discovery of oxygen's role in combustion, developing chemical nomenclature, developing a preliminary periodic table of elements, and the law of conservation of mass. He was a Catholic and defender of scripture.[102]
  • Herman Boerhaave (1668–1789), remarkable Dutch physician and botanist known as the founder of clinical teaching. A collection of his religious thoughts on medicine, translated from Latin into English, has been compiled under the name Boerhaaveìs Orations.[103]
  • John Michell (1724–1793): English clergyman who provided pioneering insights in a wide range of scientific fields, including astronomy, geology, optics, and gravitation.[104][105]
  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799): Mathematician appointed to a position by Pope Benedict XIV. After her father died she devoted her life to religious studies, charity, and ultimately became a nun.[106]

1801–1900 A.D. (19th century)[edit]

Further information: List of parson-naturalists

This period led Christians in science to face changes and increased challenges. It was the 19th century that brought the professionalization of the scientific enterprise. By then, religious thinkers who expressed themselves on scientific subjects were increasingly treated as "trespassers". This was also the first century that saw actual discussions of the "relationship between science and religion". In previous ages there was occasional concern about tension between faith and reason, but religion and science were not presented as two opposing forces. This ethos gave birth to the conflict thesis. At the end of the century it was common the view that science and religion "had been in a state of constant conflict". This notion is still very popular, although it is not endorsed by current research on the history of science.[107]

1901–2000 A.D. (20th century)[edit]

During the previous century, the practice of science became professionalized and institutionalized in ways that continued through the 20th century. As the role of scientific knowledge grew in society, it became incorporated with many aspects of the functioning of nation-states.

2001–today (21st century)[edit]

Interest in the relationship between science and religion has increased in recent decades due to continued controversies and recognition from awards like the Templeton Prize.


This section concerns significant Christian thinkers in science who are alive today. Those who lead organizations of Christians in science or who write works concerning how Christians of today respond to science. An article published by The University of Chicago Chronicle stated that 60% of physicians in the United States describe themselves as Protestant or Catholic.[279]

Biomedical Sciences[edit]

  • Eben Alexander (born 1953): American, Harvard-educated neurosurgeon best known for his book, "Proof of Heaven", in which he describes his 2008 near death experience.[280] In a recent interview, Dr Alexander said: "It's time for brain science, mind science, physics, cosmology, to move from kindergarten up into first grade and realize we will never truly understand consciousness with that simplistic materialist mindset."[281]
  • Werner Arber (born 1929): Werner Arber is a Swiss microbiologist and geneticist. Along with American researchers Hamilton Smith and Daniel Nathans, Werner Arber shared the 1978 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of restriction endonucleases. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Arber as President of the Pontifical Academy—the first Protestant to hold that position.[282]
  • Robert T. Bakker (born 1945): Paleontologist who was a figure in the "dinosaur Renaissance" and known for the theory some dinosaurs were Warm-blooded. He is also a Pentecostal preacher who advocates theistic evolution and has written on religion.[283][284]
  • R. J. Berry (born 1934): He is a former president of both the Linnean Society of London and the Christians in Science group. He also wrote God and the Biologist: Personal Exploration of Science and Faith (Apollos 1996) ISBN 0-85111-446-6 H taught at University College London for over 20 years.[285][286]
  • Derek Burke (born 1930): British academic and molecular biologist. Formerly a vice-chancellor of the University of East Anglia, Professor Burke has been a specialist advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology since 1985.
  • Ben Carson (born 1951): American neurosurgeon. He is credited with being the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head.[287]
  • Alasdair Coles: Lecturer in neuroimmunology at Cambridge University and an honorary consultant neurologist to Addenbrooke’s and Hinchingbrooke Hospitals. He is involved in research into new treatments for multiple sclerosis. His amateur research interest, in the neurological basis for religious experience, came from managing a small cohort of patients with spiritual experiences due to temporal lobe epilepsy and he has given lectures on this subject at several universities. Coles was ordained in the Church of England in 2008 and is now a curate at St Andrews Church, Cambridge, alongside his medical and scientific work.[288]
  • Francis Collins (born 1950): He is the current director of the National Institutes of Health and former director of the US National Human Genome Research Institute. He has also written on religious matters in articles and the book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.[289][290]
  • Darrel R. Falk (born 1946): Darrel Falk is an American biologist and the former president of the BioLogos Foundation.[291]
  • Charles Foster (born 1962): Charles Foster is a science writer on natural history, evolutionary biology, and theology. A Fellow of Green Templeton College, Oxford, the Royal Geographical Society, and the Linnean Society of London,[292] Foster has advocated theistic evolution in his book, The Selfless Gene (2009).[293]
  • John Gurdon (born 1933): Sir John Bertrand Gurdon is a British developmental biologist. In 2012, he and Shinya Yamanaka were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells. In an interview with on the subject of working with the Vatican in dialogue, he says "I'm not a Roman Catholic. I'm a Christian, of the Church of England...I've never seen the Vatican before, so that's a new experience, and I'm grateful for it."[294]
  • Brian Heap (born 1935): Biologist who was Master of St Edmund's College, University of Cambridge and was a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion.[295][296]
  • William B. Hurlbut: William Hurlbut is a physician and Consulting Professor at the Stanford Neuroscience Institute, Stanford University Medical Center. In addition to teaching at Stanford, Hurlbut served for eight years on the President's Council on Bioethics and is nationally known for his advocacy of Altered Nuclear Transfer (ANT).[297]
  • Brian Kobilka (born 1955): He is an American Nobel Prize winner of Chemistry in 2012, and is professor in the departments of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kobilka attends the Catholic Community at Stanford, California.[298]
  • Denis Lamoureux (born 1954): Denis Lamoureux is an evolutionary creationist and holds a professorial chair of science and religion at St. Joseph's College at the University of Alberta, Canada—the first of its kind in Canada, and with Phillip E. Johnson, Lamoureux co-authored Darwinism Defeated? The Johnson-Lamoureux Debate on Biological Origins (1999). Lamoureux has also written Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution (2008).[299]
  • Noella Marcellino (born 1951): American Benedictine nun with a degree in microbiology. Her field of interests include fungi and the effects of decay and putrefaction.[300]
  • Alister McGrath (born 1953): Prolific Anglican theologian who has written on the relationship between science and theology in A Scientific Theology. McGrath holds two doctorates from the University of Oxford, a DPhil in Molecular Biophysics and a Doctor of Divinity in Theology. He has responded to the new atheists in several books, i.e. The Dawkins Delusion?. As of early 2014, McGrath will be the New Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford.[301]
  • Kenneth R. Miller (born 1948): Biology professor at Brown University who wrote Finding Darwin's God ISBN 0-06-093049-7.[302]
  • Simon C. Morris (born 1951): British paleontologist who made his reputation through study of the Burgess Shale fossils. He was the co-winner of a Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal and also won a Lyell Medal. He is active in the Faraday Institute for study of science and religion and is also noted on discussions concerning the idea of theistic evolution.[303][304][305]
  • William Newsome (born 1952): Bill Newsome is a neuroscientist at Stanford University. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Newsome is the co-chair of the BRAIN Initiative, "a rapid planning effort for a ten-year assault on how the brain works."[306] Newsome is also a Christian and has written about his faith: "When I discuss religion with my fellow scientists...I realize I am an oddity — a serious Christian and a respected scientist."[307]
  • Martin Nowak (born 1965): Evolutionary biologist and mathematician best known for evolutionary dynamics. He teaches at Harvard University, which is pictured in an old drawing.[308]
  • Ghillean Prance (born 1937): Noted botanist involved in the Eden Project. He is also the current President of Christians in Science.[309]
  • Joan Roughgarden (born 1946): An evolutionary biologist who has taught at Stanford University since 1972. She wrote the book Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist.[310]
  • Mary Higby Schweitzer: paleontologist at North Carolina State University who believes strongly in the synergy of the Christian faith and the truth of empirical science.[311][312]


  • Gerhard Ertl (born 1936): He is a 2007 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry. He has said in an interview that "I believe in God. (...) I am a Christian and I try to live as a Christian (...) I read the Bible very often and I try to understand it."[313]
  • Henry F. Schaefer, III (born 1944): He wrote Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence? ISBN 0-9742975-0-X and is a signatory of A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. He was awarded the American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry in 1979.[314]
  • Brian Kobilka (born 1955): He is an American Nobel Prize winner of Chemistry in 2012, and is professor in the departments of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Kobilka attends the Catholic Community at Stanford, Calif.[298]
  • Richard H. Smith Jr. (born 1945): Born to Lutheran parents, he converted to Presbyterianism (PCA) in early adulthood. A church elder, organic chemist, professor, and early researcher into the chemistry of both cancer and HIV-AIDS, he was named Maryland Chemist of the Year in 1995. He currently teaches Chemistry and other subjects at McDaniel College in Maryland.[315]

Physics and Astronomy[edit]

  • Peter Bussey: British particle physicist and Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Glasgow. Educated at Cambridge University (MA, PhD, ScD), Doctor Bussey is involved in the search for the Higgs boson, and works at major international particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, DESY in Hamburg. He has given many lectures about issues concerning Christian faith and cosmology.
  • Antony Hewish (born 1924): Antony Hewish is a British Radio Astronomer who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974 (together with Martin Ryle) for his work on the development of radio aperture synthesis and its role in the discovery of pulsars. He was also awarded the Eddington Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1969. Hewish is a Christian.[316] Hewish also wrote in his introduction to John Polkinghorne's 2009 Questions of Truth, "The ghostly presence of virtual particles defies rational common sense and is non-intuitive for those unacquainted with physics. Religious belief in God, and Christian belief ... may seem strange to common-sense thinking. But when the most elementary physical things behave in this way, we should be prepared to accept that the deepest aspects of our existence go beyond our common-sense understanding."[317]
  • Walter Thirring (born 1927): Austrian physicist after whom the Thirring model in quantum field theory is named. He is the son of the physicist Hans Thirring, co-discoverer of the Lense-Thirring frame dragging effect in general relativity. He also wrote Cosmic Impressions: Traces of God in the Laws of Nature.[318]
  • Antonino Zichichi (born 1929): Italian nuclear physicist and former President of the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare. He has worked with the Vatican on relations between the Church and Science.[319][320]
  • George Coyne (born 1933): Jesuit astronomer and former director of the Vatican Observatory.
  • Guy Consolmagno (born 1952): American Jesuit astronomer who works at the Vatican Observatory.
  • John Polkinghorne (born 1930): British particle physicist and Anglican priest who wrote Science and the Trinity (2004) ISBN 0-300-10445-6. Winner of the 2002 Templeton Prize.[321]
  • Owen Gingerich (born 1930): Mennonite astronomer who went to Goshen College and Harvard. Mr. Gingerich has written about people of faith in science history.[322][323]
  • Russell Stannard (born 1931): British particle physicist who has written several books on the relationship between religion and science, such as Science and the Renewal of Belief, Grounds for Reasonable Belief and Doing Away With God?.[324]
  • Michał Heller (born 1936): He is a Catholic priest, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion. He also is a mathematical physicist who has written articles on relativistic physics and Noncommutative geometry. His cross-disciplinary book Creative Tension: Essays on Science and Religion came out in 2003. For this work he won a Templeton Prize. [note 9][325]
  • Robert Griffiths (born 1937): A noted American physicist at Carnegie Mellon University. He has written on matters of science and religion.[326]
  • George Francis Rayner Ellis (born 1939): Professor of Complex Systems in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with University of Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking, published in 1973, and is considered one of the world's leading theorists in cosmology. He is an active Quaker and in 2004 he won the Templeton Prize.
  • Joseph H. Taylor, Jr. (born 1941): American astrophysicist and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his discovery with Russell Alan Hulse of a "new type of pulsar, a discovery that has opened up new possibilities for the study of gravitation."[327]
  • Colin Humphreys (born 1941): He is a British physicist. He is the former Goldsmiths’ Professor of Materials Science and a current Director of Research at Cambridge University, Professor of Experimental Physics at the Royal Institution in London and a Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge. Humphreys also "studies the Bible when not pursuing his day-job as a materials scientist."[328]
  • Christopher Isham (born 1944): Theoretical physicist who developed HPO formalism. He teaches at Imperial College London. In addition to being a physicist, he is a philosopher and theologian.[329][330]
  • Frank J. Tipler (born 1947): Frank Tipler is a mathematical physicist and cosmologist, holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at Tulane University. Tipler has authored books and papers on the Omega Point, which he claims is a mechanism for the resurrection of the dead. His theological and scientific theorizing are not without controversy, but he has some supporters; for instance, Christian theologian Wolfhart Pannenberg has defended his theology,[331] and physicist David Deutsch has incorporated Tipler's idea of an Omega Point.[332]
  • J. Richard Gott (born 1947): Gott is a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. He is known for developing and advocating two cosmological theories with the flavor of science fiction: Time travel and the Doomsday argument. When asked of his religious views in relation to his science, Gott responded that "I’m a Presbyterian. I believe in God; I always thought that was the humble position to take. I like what Einstein said: “God is subtle but not malicious.” I think if you want to know how the universe started, that’s a legitimate question for physics. But if you want to know why it’s here, then you may have to know—to borrow Stephen Hawking’s phrase—the mind of God."[333]
  • William Daniel Phillips (born 1948): 1997 Nobel laureate in Physics (1997) who is a founding member of The International Society for Science and Religion.[334]
  • John D. Barrow (born 1952): English cosmologist who did notable writing on the implications of the Anthropic principle. He is a United Reformed Church member and Christian deist. He won the Templeton Prize in 2006. He once held the position of Gresham Professor of Astronomy.[335][336]
  • John Hartnett (born 1952): Australian Young Earth Creationist who has a PhD and whose research interests include ultra low-noise radar and ultra high stability cryogenic microwave oscillators.[337][338][339]
  • Stephen Barr (born 1953): Physicist who worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory and contributed papers to Physical Review as well as Physics Today. He also is a Catholic who writes for First Things and wrote Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. He teaches at the University of Delaware.[340]
  • Karl W. Giberson (born 1957): Canadian physicist and evangelical, who has published several books on the relationship between science and religion, such as The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions and Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and Believe in Evolution.
  • Stephen Meyers (1958–): Physicist and earth science. Meyers wrote Signature in the Cell and Darwin's Doubt. Worked as a geophysicist for the Atlantic Richfield Company. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science in 1991. Director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute and Vice President and Senior Fellow at the DI.[341]
  • Andrew Pinsent (born 1966): Fr. Andrew Pinsent, a Catholic priest, is the Research Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at Oxford University.[342] He is also a particle physicist, whose previous work contributed to the DELPHI experiment at CERN.[343]
  • Juan Maldacena (born 1968): Argentine theoretical physicist and string theorist, best known for the most reliable realization of the holographic principle - the AdS/CFT correspondence.[344]
  • Jennifer Wiseman: She is Chief of the Laboratory for Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. An aerial of the Center is shown. In addition she is a co-discoverer of 114P/Wiseman-Skiff. In religion is a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation and on June 16, 2010 became the new director for the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion.[345]
  • Pamela Gay (born 1973): An American astronomer, educator and writer, best known for her work in astronomical podcasting. Doctor Gay received her PhD from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2002.
  • Ard Louis: A reader in Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford. Prior to his post at Oxford he taught Theoretical Chemistry at Cambridge University where he was also director of studies in Natural Sciences at Hughes Hall. He has written for The BioLogos Forum.[346]
  • Don Page (born ????): Canadian theoretical physicist and practicing Evangelical Christian, Dr. Page is known for having published several journal articles with Stephen Hawking.[347]
  • Gerald B. Cleaver (born ????): Professor in the Department of Physics at Baylor University and head of the Early Universe Cosmology and Strings (EUCOS) division of Baylor's Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics & Engineering Research (CASPER). His research specialty is string phenomenology and string model building.[348]
  • Manuel García Doncel, born in 1930, Spanish Jesuit physicist, formerly Professor of Physics at Universidad de Barcelona.
  • Ian H. Hutchinson (born ????): Professor of nuclear science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His primary research interest is plasma physics and its practical applications. He and his MIT team designed, built and operate the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, an international experimental facility whose magnetically confined plasmas are prototypical of a future fusion reactor.[349] He has spoken with the American Scientific Affiliation on the intersections of Christianity and science,[350] and with The Veritas Forum as well.[351]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ He was also called John of Alexandria, hence the picture.
  2. ^ In 1252 he helped appoint Thomas Aquinas to a Dominican theological chair in Paris to lead the suppression of these dangerous ideas.
  3. ^ This attempt was, and is, considered unsuccessful by the Catholic Church so his philosophy is still considered erroneous in it.
  4. ^ Although Jansenism was a movement within Roman Catholicism, it was generally opposed by the Catholic hierarchy and was eventually condemned as heretical.
  5. ^ Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovered oxygen earlier but published his findings after Priestley.
  6. ^ In the biography by Cambell (p. 170) Maxwell's conversion is described: "He referred to it long afterwards as having given him a new perception of the Love of God. One of his strongest convictions thenceforward was that 'Love abideth, though Knowledge vanish away.'"
  7. ^ As was Euler. Like Gauss, the Bernoullis would convince both sets of fathers and sons to study mathematics.
  8. ^ He stated that: "Both Religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view."
  9. ^ He teaches at Kraków, hence the picture of a Basilica from the city.


  1. ^ Pro forma candidate to Prince-Bishop of Warmia, cf. Dobrzycki, Jerzy, and Leszek Hajdukiewicz, "Kopernik, Mikołaj", Polski słownik biograficzny (Polish Biographical Dictionary), vol. XIV, Wrocław, Polish Academy of Sciences, 1969, p. 11.
  2. ^ Sharratt, Michael (1994). Galileo: Decisive Innovator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 17, 213. ISBN 0-521-56671-1. 
  3. ^ "Because he would not accept the Formula of Concord without some reservations, he was excommunicated from the Lutheran communion. Because he remained faithful to his Lutheranism throughout his life, he experienced constant suspicion from Catholics." John L. Treloar, "Biography of Kepler shows man of rare integrity. Astronomer saw science and spirituality as one." National Catholic Reporter, October 8, 2004, p. 2a. A review of James A. Connor Kepler's Witch: An Astronomer's Discovery of Cosmic Order amid Religious War, Political Intrigue and Heresy Trial of His Mother, Harper San Francisco.
  4. ^ Richard S. Westfall - Indiana University The Galileo Project. (Rice University). Retrieved 2008-07-05. 
  5. ^ "The Boyle Lecture". St. Marylebow Church. 
  6. ^ Grant, Edward (2007). A History of Natural Philosophy: From the Ancient World to the Nineteenth Century. Cambridge University Press. pp. 62–67. ISBN 978-0-521-68957-1. 
  7. ^ Hill, Donald. Islamic Science and Engineering. 1993. Edinburgh Univ. Press. ISBN 0-7486-0455-3, p.4
  8. ^ Rémi Brague, Assyrians contributions to the Islamic civilization
  9. ^ Britannica, Nestorian
  10. ^ Englebert, Omer (1994). The Lives of the Saints. New York: Barnes & Noble. p. 256. ISBN 1566195160. 
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  12. ^ Stanley Finger (2001). Origins of Neuroscience: A History of Explorations Into Brain Function. Oxford University Press. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-0-19-514694-3. 
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External links[edit]