The new Society of Catholic Scientists held its inaugural conference last weekend in Chicago -- you can read all about it at the Forbes website here. I thought the conference was enormously fun. It's a sad fact that most of us in academic science end up funneled into narrower and narrower specializations, until we end up talking almost entirely to other people in our own field. In Chicago I got to meet a Penn paleontologist who digs up dinosaur fossils in Western China, an MIT linguist studying the birth of human speech (who also loves science fiction!), and a Harvard astrochemist examining the possibilities for life on other planets.
My own talk was on Georges Lemaitre, the Catholic priest who pulled together various observational and theoretical threads in the 1920s to develop the the Big Bang model. Modern cosmology had many fathers, but only one Father.