Details of the April 5 meeting with Bill Phillips and Marlan Scully

We are happy to sponsor a one-night, unique event with two members of the National Academy of Sciences who are committed Christians.

Friday night, April 5, 2019

7:00 PM Dr. William D. Phillips

“Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science”

While popular culture often portrays the relationship between science and religion as one of conflict, many conventional scientists are also people with conventional religious faith. I, a physicist, am one example. This talk explores the relationship between my science and my faith. I compare religious and scientific knowledge: while, for me, science and religion differ in many respects, they also have common features. I discuss my belief in God as a cosmic creator who is in personal relationship with us all. I consider the doubts and questions that scientists, or any critical thinkers having religious faith, confront.

Bio: William D. Phillips received the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light,” along with Steven Chu of Stanford University and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. He received a B.S. in Physics from Juniata College (a small, church-related, liberal arts college in Huntingdon, PA) in 1970. He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1976. After a two-year postdoc he joined the National Institute of Standards and Technology (then the National Bureau of Standards) in 1978, where he is now the leader of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group. He is a Fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute, a cooperative research organization of NIST and the University of Maryland. Dr. Phillips is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He and his family are active members of Fairhaven United Methodist Church, where Bill has been a member of Fairhaven’s Gospel Choir since its inception in the early 1980s.

7:40 PM Dr. Marlan O. Scully

“From Quantum and Metaphysics to Philosophy and Theology”

Faraday and Maxwell were staunch Christians, while others like Einstein spoke often of “God” or “The Old One.” This deity was the force responsible for controlling the universe, a force that very few believe could operate so perfectly by chance. This talk focuses on the junction where the scientists’ search for the mechanical definition of life and nature meets the philosophers’ epistemological and theological studies.

Bio: Marlan O. Scully completed his Ph.D. under Willis Lamb at Yale where he continued as a faculty member for two years before moving to MIT. He then joined the faculty at the University of Arizona (with Lamb). He has also served on the faculty at other universities and laboratories such as the Max Planck Institut für Quantenoptik. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is best known for his work in theoretical quantum optics. He is a professor at Texas A&M University and Princeton University. He has authored and coauthored over 700 scientific articles, as well as the textbooks Laser Physics and Quantum Optics.

8:30 PM Open Q&A

No registration is required– the event is free and open to the public.

Place: the Twentieth Century Club, 4201 Bigelow Blvd, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (on the University of Pittsburgh campus).