The 2024 list: Catholic Women Pioneering in Science
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
2w ago
I am preparing a talk for the 2024 Conference of the Society of Catholic Scientists, my contribution is titled: “With the Future in Mind: Catholic Women Pioneers in Science”. The women presented here come from a variety of scientific disciplines and lead lives as diverse as life itself can be, but they all had two characteristics in common: (1) they have had an impact on the science and/or scientific education at their time and (2) their lives were informed, transformed, and inspired by their Catholic faith. Twenty-four of these women were presented in the 2023 post, and 11 new short biograph ..read more
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Lise Meitner, Eva von Bahr, and Elisabeth Schiemann: the power of friendship
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
2w ago
Memorial for Lise Meitner, Humboldt Universität Berlin, created by Anna Franziska Schwarzbach These three female scientists were unique in their personalities and bound together in friendship. Did you know that Lise Meitner – who discovered the principle of nuclear fission – was supported by her previous colleague Eva von Bahr to build up a new life in Sweden when she needed to flee Germany in 1938? And that Elisabeth Schiemann was a leading botanist and an active member of the “Confessing Church”, active in the resistance to the Nazi regime? I explored this and more in my recent article “Thre ..read more
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Darwin and Mendel on Inherited Variability
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
3M ago
Darwin’s Origin of Species took many years of compilations and it was even accelerated by Alfred R. Wallace paper on the same subject in 1858. Origin of Species was really groundbreaking, because Darwin not only proposed common ancestry – that was in the air since Humboldt and Lamarck, and “Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation” -, but he proposed also a process for the underlying mechanism of the diversity of species. His theory of evolution had 2 principles: common ancestry and natural selection. Natural selection can be described with 5 words: Variation, Inheritance, Selection, Time ..read more
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Revisiting the Galileo Affair
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
5M ago
Recently, in a talk to a small group of Catholic women scientists, I suggested we need to see events in the 17th century from the perspective of 17th century history and scientific knowledge. Indeed, from today’s perspective, it may seem completely antiquated not to know that the Earth is orbiting the Sun, and not vice versa. In the early 17th century, though, there were (at least) 4 models of our planetary system: the Ptolemaic system (geocentric), the Copernican system (heliocentric), the Tychonic system (geo-heliocentric), and the Keplerian system (heliocentric, elliptic orbits) The Gali ..read more
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St. Giuseppe Moscati: Scientist, Physician, and Pioneer in biochemistry
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
7M ago
I learned from my colleague Sinto Varghese that Giuseppe Moscati was not only a physician and a saint, but also a scientist and researcher. Sinto Varghese writes on ‘Church and Science’: you find him on X, formally Twitter: @ChurchNScience, and on FB https://www.facebook.com/CatholicsandScience. I am using his entry with permission. Giuseppe Moscati (25 July 1880 – 12 April 1927) was an Italian physician who made pioneering contributions to medicine in his time. He seamlessly integrated traditional clinical diagnostic methods, primarily reliant on physical examination, with the insights of ph ..read more
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Laudate Deum – More than a Letter on Climate Change
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
7M ago
Pope Francis employs powerful words to articulate his concern regarding anthropogenic climate change. He calls for immediate action from those in positions of authority, within communities, nations, and the international community of states. Sharing these concerns, both as a Catholic and a scientist (albeit not a climate science expert), I am committed to more than worry and complaint. Consequently, I suggest approaching “Laudate Deum” (“Praise God”, LD) with the perspective of personal learning, to enhance our reverence for and care of Creation, and to take responsibility for our environment ..read more
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Christian Women Pioneering in Science
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
11M ago
We presented several women scientists in previous blog posts. This post will bring them all together. Following rules were applied: (1) they should have had an impact on science and/or science education at their time and (2) their lives were informed, transformed, and inspired by their Christian faith. I was looking for some kind of proof that their Christian faith – in whatever faith tradition, Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox  – was important to their personal life (being the daughter of a pastor or coming from a Catholic country just wasn’t enough to be presented here).  Hil ..read more
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Erich Wasmann, SJ: an Early Advocate for Theistic Evolution
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
1y ago
Erich Wasmann, SJ, was born in 1859, in Tyrol, Austria, the same year Charles Darwin published his seminal work, “On the Origin of Species.” Wasmann is renowned for his efforts to reconcile the Catholic faith with Darwin’s theory of evolution, advocating the idea that the two were compatible. In 1883, Wasmann was asked to contribute articles on eusocial insects to the Jesuit periodical “Stimmen aus Maria Laach,” later called “Stimmen der Zeit”. In 1884, he began studying ants, both in their natural habitat and by constructing artificial ant colonies. Over his lifetime (he died in 1931), Wasma ..read more
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St. George Mivart challenging Charles Darwin
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
1y ago
St. George Mivart (30 November 1827 – 1 April 1900) was a prominent zoologist and initially a strong proponent of Darwin’s theory of evolution. However, in 1871, he published “The Genesis of Species”, in which he acknowledged the reality of evolution as a historical fact but criticized natural selection as the sole mechanism driving evolutionary processes. Mivart argued that natural selection had limitations and that other biological factors must be considered in association with it. Charles Darwin found Mivart’s critique significant enough to respond to it in detail in the sixth edition of ..read more
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Justine Siegemund: a midwife with a scientific mind
Science meets Faith
by B M Moritz
1y ago
Today’s Doodle is dedicated to an amazing woman: Justine Siegemund (1636-1705), a midwife and author who had a truly scientific outlook and was a deeply pious Lutheran Christian. She is best known for her influential textbook on midwifery, “Die Kgl. Preußische und Churfürstl. Brandenburgische Hof-Wehe-Mutter” (The Royal Prussian and Electoral Brandenburg Court Midwife), which was first published in 1690 and went through many editions in the following centuries. Siegemund began practicing midwifery in the early 1660s and quickly gained a reputation as a skilled and compassionate practitioner. S ..read more
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