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.
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
Rob Bell is the New York Times Bestselling author of fourteen books and plays which have been translated into 25 languages. His visual art can be seen on Instagram @realrobbell, his band is HUMANS ON THE FLOOR, and his podcast is called The RobCast. Rob lives with his family in Ojai, California where he leads two-day retreats for folks who are "stuck" and looking to get "unstuck". His latest book, "Where'd You Park Your Spaceship" is available at www.robbell.com along with audiobooks, virtual courses, and films.
Brian D. McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. A former college English teacher and pastor, he is a passionate advocate for “a new kind of Christianity” – just, generous, and working with people of all faiths for the common good. He is a core faculty member and Dean of Faculty for the Center for Action and Contemplation, and a podcaster with Learning How to See. He is also an Auburn Senior Fellow and is a co-host of Southern Lights. His newest books are Faith After Doubt (January 2021), and Do I Stay Christian? (May 2022).
You can hear him on Episode 106: Rewilding Christianity with Brian Mclaren
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. Mary Schweitzer is a professor in the department of biological sciences at North Carolina State University. She is also a research curator for paleontology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Her research interests include molecular paleontology, specifically the preservation and detection of original molecular fragments in well preserved fossil specimens. In 2005 she and her team shook the paleontology community when they reported finding soft tissue preserved in a 68-million-year-old T-Rex femur. Since that initial find, her team has unearthed mounting evidence that soft tissues, such as blood vessels, collagen and other proteins, can survive more than 66 million years of degradation.
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 peteenns.com, 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.
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. https://www.drvikki.org/
Dr. Andrew Newberg is a neuroscientist who studies the relationship between brain function and various mental states. He is a pioneer in the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences, a field known as “neurotheology.” His research includes taking brain scans of people in prayer, meditation, rituals, and trance states, in an attempt to better understand the nature of religious and spiritual practices and attitudes. He has published over 250 peer reviewed articles and chapters on brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences. He has published 14 books, which have been translated into 17 different languages. He was listed as one of the 30 Most Influential Neuroscientists Alive Today by the Online Psychology Degree Guide.
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.
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.
The Rev. Dr. Pamela Conrad is the rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Glen Burnie, Maryland. She’s also an astrobiologist and planetary scientist specializing in understanding how planets do or do not evolve into habitable environments, and she is presently involved in the exploration of Mars with the Perseverance Rover and its companion, the Ingenuity helicopter. She has explored extreme environments all over the Earth including in the high arctic, Antarctica, Death Valley, and the deep sea hydrothermal vents of the Pacific sea floor, to name a few.
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.
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.
Brother Guy Consolmagno is the Director of the Vatican Observatory. In 1978, he earned his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. He was a postdoctoral research fellow, served in the US Peace Corps (Kenya), and taught university physics before entering the Jesuits in 1989. At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, in 2015 Pope Francis appointed him director of the Vatican Observatory. His research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of a number of popular books including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis) and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (with Paul Mueller).
Dr. Chris Impey is a University Distinguished Professor of Astronomy at the University of Arizona. He has over 220 refereed publications on observational cosmology, galaxies, and quasars, and his research has been supported by $20 million in NASA and NSF grants. He has won eleven teaching awards and has taught two online classes with over 300,000 enrolled and 4 million minutes of video lectures watched. He is a past Vice President of the American Astronomical Society, won its Education Prize, has been an NSF Distinguished Teaching Scholar, Carnegie Council’s Arizona Professor of the Year, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. He has written 70 popular articles on cosmology, astrobiology and education, two textbooks, a novel called Shadow World, and eight popular science books: The Living Cosmos, How It Ends, Talking About Life, How It Began, Dreams of Other Worlds, Humble Before the Void, Beyond: The Future of Space Travel, and Einstein’s Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes.
Dr. Emily Smith is an assistant professor in the department of emergency medicine/surgery at Duke University and at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI). During the COVID-19 pandemic, she became known as the Friendly Neighbor Epidemiologist through her social media outlets which reached over 10 million people in 2020-2021. She continues posting on the social account and her Substack blog with a monthly reach of 2-4 million. Her work has been featured in TIME Magazine, NPR, the Washington Post, Christianity Today, and Baptist News Global. Her debut book, The Science of the Good Samaritan: Thinking Bigger About Loving Our Neighbors, released on Oct. 24, 2023 from Zondervan.
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 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 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, 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)