Yale Astrophysicist Natarajan Next “Science for Seminaries” Lecturer at Columbia

Yale Astrophysicist Natarajan Next “Science for Seminaries” Lecturer at Columbia

March 21, 2017—Columbia Theological Seminary has invited Yale University theoretical astrophysicist Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan to be its next “Science for Seminaries” lecturer. The lectures are sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association of Theological Schools (ATS).

On April 19, 2017 at 11:00 am, Dr. Natarajan will present her talk “Mapping the Heavens.” This event is open to the public in the Ellis Room of the Richards Center on the Columbia Seminary campus located at 701 S. Columbia Drive, Decatur, GA near Atlanta.

About the Speaker:

Born and raised in India, Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan received undergraduate degrees in Physics and Mathematics at MIT. After graduate training in the History and Philosophy of Science at MIT’s Program in Science, Technology and Society, she obtained her PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Cambridge, where she was elected fellow of the Trinity College. Recipient of many awards and honors for her work including the Guggenheim and Radcliffe fellowships, Dr. Natarajan also holds the Sophie and Tycho Brahe Professorship at the Dark Cosmology Center at the University of Copenhagen, and an honorary professorship for life at the University of Delhi. A fellow of the American Physical Society, she is the incoming Chair of the Division of Astrophysics at the APS.

Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan is recognized for her seminal contributions to the study of dark matter and the formation and growth of black holes. She is a phenomenologist and uses gravitational lensing observations, the deflection of light rays by matter in the universe, to map the detailed distribution of dark matter. Dr. Natarajan works more generally on lensing tests of the theoretical predictions of the standard paradigm of structure formation. Another abiding interest has been the study of the growth history of black holes over cosmic time, in particular the formation of the first seed black holes. She has proposed and worked on models for the formation of massive black hole seeds, direct collapse black holes and their observational signatures.

Aside from research, Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan is also deeply invested in the public dissemination of science, especially in illuminating how the scientific process works via the history of ideas. She is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. Her work has been featured in numerous news outlets including the NPR, BBC, CNN, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, ScienceNews, Scientific American, New Scientist, NOVA, National Geographic, Discover, the Huffington Post and The New Yorker in addition to many websites devoted to science. Dr. Natarajan’s first book, Mapping the Heavens: Radical Scientific Ideas that Reveal the Cosmos was published in May 2016 by Yale Press and was recently selected as one of the top 10 Science Books of the year by Forbes Magazine.

About the Program Series:

Columbia Theological Seminary is one of ten Christian Seminaries part of a pilot program by AAAS for integrating science into core theological curricula. Grants totaling $1.5 million were awarded to the schools for integrating science into the curriculum for at least two core theological courses (such as those in systematic theology, biblical studies, church history, and pastoral theology) over the next two years. This integrated approach will bring science into the core of seminary theological education, impacting individual seminaries as well as the ministries in which graduates serve. This AAAS lecture is one of many science-focused, campus-wide activities to complement these courses. Resources from the project will be made available to interested seminaries as the project unfolds, some of which will be archived online at www.ScienceforSeminaries.org.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine (www.sciencetranslationalmedicine.org) and Science Signaling (www.sciencesignaling.org). AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The nonprofit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert!, www.eurekalert.org, the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS.

Columbia Theological Seminary is “Cultivating faithful leaders for God’s changing world.” As an educational institution of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Columbia Seminary is a community of theological inquiry and formation for ministry in the service of the Church of Jesus Christ. Columbia offers six graduate degree programs and dozens of courses and events as a resource for church professionals and lay people through The Center for Lifelong Learning. For more information, please visit www.CTSnet.edu.


AAAS Contacts:
Christine Scheller

Earl Lane

Columbia Contacts:
William Brown
William Marcellus McPheeters Professor of Old Testament

Michael Thompson
Director of Communications

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