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Brigham Young University will continue to examine the mysteries of science, the power of faith and the connection between the two with the latest installment of the annual Summerhays Lecture series on October 9th.

This year’s event marks the lecture’s seventh year on BYU campus. With funding provided by local businessman Briant Summerhays (in honor of his father, Hyrum, who was an ardent promoter of harmony between science and scripture), the series aims to highlight areas of agreement between science and religion, and to give scholars of faith an opportunity to advance faith-promoting views. The Summerhays Lecture originated in 2003 and is sponsored by the BYU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

BYU professor of astronomy Victor Migenes will deliver the 2009 lecture. An internationally recognized expert in the field of astrophysical masers, Migenes’ presentation – entitled “Astrophysics and Apologetics: Understanding Astrophysical Questions” – will touch upon the rich history of the relationship between science and religion, and discuss the enduring questions presented by both.

Migenes says science and religion have not always been such a dichotomous pair, and that the great scientists did not see them as mutually exclusive. From his presentation’s abstract:

"Until the early 1900s, humanity remained generally ignorant of any cosmic origins. Those who didn’t take the account in Genesis literally had no reason to believe there had been a cosmic or “divine” plan. Some of the brightest minds we know in science have been “believers” of some sort; minds that had studied nature and felt, known or believed in some type of higher power – be it a cosmic consciousness, a deity, a spiritual being or God. Most importantly, they felt no contradiction existed between science and their beliefs. How and when did science and religion part ways? Why is it that scientific inquisition and faith seem to be on irreconcilable paths? Must it be one or the other?

I will present the “science vs. religion” question, as seen from an astronomical perspective, and discuss how scientists with Christian beliefs and strong faith deal with this apparent dichotomy in their personal and professional lives."

The 2009 Summerhays Lecture, presented by Professor Victor Migenes, will take place Friday, October 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium (located in room 1080).

For more information, contact: J. Ward Moody,, N484 ESC, BYU, Provo, UT 84601
Phone: 801-422-4347

--by Steve Pierce, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

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