Previous Guests


Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman

Rabbi Geoffrey A. Mitelman is the Founding Director of Sinai and Synapses, which bridges the scientific and religious worlds, and is being incubated at Clal – The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. His work has been supported by the John Templeton Foundation, and he has written about the intersection of religion and science for The Huffington Post, Nautilus, and others. Ordained by the Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion and the Academy for Jewish Religion, and an alumnus of Princeton University, he is an internationally sought-out teacher, presenter, and scholar-in-residence. Perhaps most importantly, he is the man responsible for bringing the podcast hosts together back in 2017.

You can hear him on Episode 11: Sinai and Synapses Special Jennifer Wiseman

Dr Jennifer Wiseman is the Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER). She is also an astrophysicist, studying the formation of stars and planetary systems using radio, optical, and infrared telescopes. She studied physics for her bachelor’s degree at MIT, discovering comet Wiseman-Skiff in 1987. After earning her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 1995, she continued her research as a Jansky Fellow at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and as a Hubble Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University. She also has an interest in national science policy and has served as an American Physical Society Congressional Science Fellow. She has worked with several major observatories and is currently a senior astrophysicist at the Goddard Space Flight Center.  She is also a public speaker and author, and enjoys giving talks on the inspiration of astronomy and scientific discovery to schools, youth and church groups, and civic organizations. She is a Fellow of the American Scientific Affiliation and a former Councilor of the American Astronomical Society.

You can hear her on Episode 96: Faith, Astronomy, and Space Telescopes




Dr Scott Sampson

Dr Scott Sampson is the Executive Director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences, where he leads the institution’s world-class museum as well as its programs of scientific research, sustainability, and education. To some, namely preschoolers and their parents, he may be best known as “Dr. Scott the Paleontologist,” the on-air host for the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS television series Dinosaur Train. Outside of this enthusiastic audience, however, he is better known for his many other contributions to scientific research and public engagement. Among his peers in the scientific community, he is highly regarded for his expertise on Late Cretaceous dinosaurs, from theropods in Madagascar to horned dinosaurs in North America. And in the museum community, he is celebrated as a skilled organizational leader, a passionate advocate for connecting people to nature, and a champion for the critical role that collections-based scientific institutions like the Academy play in global efforts to understand and sustain life on Earth.

You can hear him on Episode 42: Our Digital Presence Part 5 (Reenchanting the Natural World)






Dr. Peter Enns

Peter Enns (Ph.D. Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of Biblical Studies at Eastern University (St. Davids, PA). He has taught undergraduate, seminary, and doctoral courses at numerous other schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and Temple University. Enns speaks and writes regularly to diverse audiences about the intersection of the ancient setting of Bible and contemporary Christian faith. He is also the host of the popular podcast The Bible for Normal People, blogs at, and has written, edited, and contributed to over 20 books, including The Sin of Certainty, The Bible Tells Me So, and most recently How the Bible Actually Works.


You can hear him on Episode 23: Human Origins Part 4 (The Adam Bomb)




Rev. Dr. Vikki Gaskin-Butler

Dr. Vikki T. Gaskin-Butler is a licensed psychologist (clinical and health psychology). She draws on her knowledge of human potential from her experience as a psychologist and ordained clergy person to support the psychological, spiritual, and physical well-being of all people. Through her first-hand knowledge of life as a wife, mother, musician, author, professor, clinician, and minister, she has the insight to support the needs of health professionals, clergy, and performing artists.



You can hear her on Episode 97: Womanist Psychology of Religion




Dr. James Stump

Dr James Stump is the Vice President of Programs at BioLogos and hosts the podcast, The Language of God. He is a passionate speaker, author, and organizer in the field of science and religion. He has written multiple books on science and religion, and has the uncanny ability to bring disparate groups together for meaningful and respectful conversation.  We sat down for an hour to talk about the work that BioLogos does, what he's most excited about, and how to have productive conversations with people who disagree with each other. 


You can hear him on Episode 103: Talking BioLogos with Jim Stump




Dr. Tehia Starker Glass

Dr. Tehia Starker Glass is the Cato College of Education Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and an Associate Professor of Elementary Education and Educational Psychology in the Department of Reading and Elementary Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research and publications include preparing preservice and inservice teachers’ culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy, anti-racism curriculum development, culturally responsive classroom management, and exploring how caregivers and teachers discuss race with children. She has published in the Journal of Urban Education, Teachers College Record, and other high-tier journals. She is a former elementary school teacher who now works with teachers, schools, districts, and organizations around the country to revise their instruction and curriculum to be more anti-racism oriented. Currently, she is working on her academic book and a children’s book to assist caregivers and teachers to have conversations about race with children. Additionally, she is an Educational Advisor with Brownicity. She co-designed and is the Director of the four-course Anti-Racism in Urban Education Graduate Certificate Program. She lives in the Charlotte area with her husband and two young boys. 

You can hear her on Episode 51: Racism Part 4 (Anti-Racism in Education)




Rev. Dr. David Wilkinson

Dr Wilkinson is an ordained Methodist minister with PhDs in Systematic Theology and Theoretical Astrophysics. He is the Principle of St Johns College in Durham where he teaches theology and religion. In addition to his academic work, he is the project director of “Equipping Christian Leadership in an Age of Science” which seeks to do exactly what the name implies. He has written multiple books, and is a gifted communicator in the field of science and religion.




You can hear him on episode 104: Life the Universe and Everything




Dr. Briana Pobiner

Dr. Briana Pobiner is a paleoanthropologist whose research centers on the evolution of human diet (with a focus on meat-eating), but has included topics as diverse as human cannibalism and chimpanzee carnivory. She has done fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Indonesia and has been supported in her research by the Fulbright-Hays program, the Leakey Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation, Rutgers University, the Society for American Archaeology, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her favorite field moments include falling asleep in a tent in the Serengeti in Tanzania while listening to the distant whoops of hyenas, watching a pride of lions eat a zebra carcass on the Kenyan equator, and discovering fossil bones that were last touched, butchered and eaten by one of her 1.5-million-year-old ancestors. Since joining the Smithsonian in 2005 to help put together the Hall of Human Origins, in addition to continuing her active field, laboratory, and experimental research programs, she leads the Human Origins Program’s education and outreach efforts which includes managing the Human Origins Program's public programs, website content, social media, and exhibition volunteer training. Briana has also more recently developed a research program in evolution education and science communication.


You can hear her on Episode 20: Human Origins Part 1 (Big Questions and Little Bones)





Dr. Michael Zimmerman

Dr. Michael Zimmerman is an American biologist and former Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He previously served in a number of academic and administrative positions including Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Dean of the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh for 14 years. Before moving to Wisconsin, Zimmerman spent 12 years at Oberlin College as a professor of biology and associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Prior to that he worked at the College of William & Mary as well as Hampshire College.

Zimmerman is the founder and director of the Clergy Letter Project which is a project that maintains statements in support of the teaching of evolution and collects signatures in support of letters from American Christian, Jewish, Unitarian Universalist, and Buddhist clergy. To date, they have collected about 17,000 signatures.

You can hear him on Episode 18: Evolution Part 4 (We Don't Need No Education)






Rev Kenneth Makuakane

Rev Kenneth Makuakane is the senior pastor at the historic Kawaiahaʻo Church in Honolulu. He is a member of the United Church of Christ Science and Technology Network and serves in several capacities within the United Church of Christ. 

Kenneth Makuakane is the 2015 recipient of the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Kenneth is recognized as a successful innovator in producing and recording Hawaiian music. He has over one hundred albums to his producing credits, working with artists such as Na Leo, Hapa, Amy Hānaiali‘i Gilliom, Raiatea Helm, Obrian Eselu and Jeff Rasmussen.

His perspective is therefore colored by his love of God, nature, art, and justice. He brings this unique perspective to the discussion around the dark side of "scientific progress" and the clashing authority claims of native peoples and western scientists. 

You can hear him on Episode 13: Church and State Part 4 (The Decommissioned Sacred)




Dr Daniel Janies 

Dr Daniel Janies is an American scientist who has made significant contributions in the field of evolutionary biology and on the development of tools for the study of evolution and spread of pathogens. He is The Carol Grotnes Belk Distinguished Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is involved with research for the United States Department of Defense, and has advised multiple instances of the government on methods for disease surveillance.

You can hear him on episode 30: The Pandemic Podcast




Rev. Dr. Ruth Shaver

Rev. Dr. Ruth Shaver, is a 2017-2019 Fellow of Sinai and Synapses. Her interest in science is life-long, nurtured by grandfathers who shared their love of paleontology and zoology and by parents who encouraged the whole family to gather around the television for NOVA, Nature, and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Instead of science, her academic path led her to the interplay of religion and politics and to religion as a theme in literature, each of which prepared her to pursue a Masters of Divinity at Boston University School of Theology. Science came back into her academic life when, as a pastor, she realized that a generation of youth was growing up thinking that a life of faith is incompatible with scientific curiosity and exploration; this prompted her doctoral studies to focus on scientific exploration as a practice of Christian faith. Included in her dissertation from Lancaster Theological Seminary is a 5-session Vacation Bible School using hands-on science to teach wonder and curiosity about the world, with Proverbs 8:22-31 and Psalm 8 as the foundational Biblical pieces. She is currently finishing her time as Interim Pastor of First Church of Christ, Congregational, United Church of Christ in North Conway, New Hampshire, and looking forward to the next interim pastorate in a church yet-to-be-determined.

You can hear her on episode 40: Our Digital Presence Part 3 with Ruth Shaver (The Online-ification of Education)

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