Monday, September 30, 2013

More Christian Women in Science and Math

Alice C. Linsley

Christian women can gain encouragement from reading about the lives of other Christian women in the sciences, in math, and in technology. Here are three women whose lives of service have left a mark on the world.

Agnes Giberne (1845–1939)

Agnes Giberne was born in the state of Karnataka in India where her father, Major Charles Giberne, was in military service. She was a prolific British author who wrote fiction with religious themes for children and books on astronomy for young people. She was a devout Anglican and wrote for the Religious Tract Society. She was a founding member of the British Astronomical Association.

Her illustrated book Sun, Moon and Stars: Astronomy for Beginners (1879), with a foreword by Oxford Professor of Astronomy, Charles Pritchard, was printed in several editions on both sides of the Atlantic, and sold 24,000 copies in its first 20 years. Most of her writing was done before 1910.

In her book Through the Linn; or, Miss Temple's Wards (Google e-book) is found this prayer that was quoted in over 100 books of early 20th century:

Gracious Saviour, gentle Shepherd,

Children all are dear to Thee;

Gathered with Thine arms and carried

In Thy bosom may we be;

Sweetly, fondly, safely tended,

From all want and danger free.

Tender Shepherd, never leave us

From Thy fold to go astray;

By Thy look of love directed

May we walk the narrow way;

Thus direct us, and protect us,

Lest we fall an easy prey.‎

Sister Mary Celine Fasenmyer (1906 -1996)

Mary Celine Faenmyer was a mathematician, most noted for her work on hypergeometric functions and linear algebra.

Mary grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. For ten years after her graduation from high school she studied and taught at Mercyhurst College in Erie. It was there that she joined the Sisters of Mercy and dedicated her life to teaching and ministry.

She pursued her mathematical studies in Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan, obtaining her doctorate in 1946 under the direction of Earl Rainville with a dissertation entitled Some Generalized Hypergeometric Polynomials. The hypergeometric polynomials she studied are called Sister Celine's polynomials.

After getting her Ph.D., Sister Celine published two papers which expanded on her doctorate work. These papers would be further elaborated by Doron Zeilberger and Herbert Wilf into "WZ theory", which allowed computerized proof of many combinatorial identities.

Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and the wife of an evangelical pastor. She serves as an expert reviewer for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Katharine has a B.Sc. in physics and astronomy from the University of Toronto and an M.S. and Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois.

As an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, part of the Department of Interior's South-Central Climate Science Center, Katharine develops new ways to quantify the potential impacts of human activities at the regional scale. As founder and CEO of ATMOS Research, she also bridges the gap between scientists and stakeholders to provide relevant, state-of-the-art information on how climate change will affect our lives to a broad range of non-profit, industry and government clients.

Her climate research has been featured in the PBS documentary series, The Secret Life of Scientists, and in articles including True Believer that appeared in On Earth magazine in 2012, and Spreading the global warming gospel that appeared in the LA Times in 2011. With her husband, Andrew Farley, she coauthored A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions (FaithWords). Katharine was named in 2012 by Christianity Today as one of 50 Women to Watch.

Related reading: Christian Women in Science, Technology and Engineering

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Charter: Christian Women in Science

CWIS Charter
Revised August 12, 2013

Christian Women in Science is a fellowship of women in science and related disciplines who share a common fidelity to the Christian faith and a commitment to integrity in the practice of science. Christian Women in Science was founded in July, 2013.


The mission of Christian Women in Science[1] is two-fold:

· To encourage Christian women of all ages to pursue, sustain, and grow in a career in science, technology, engineering or math, and

· To encourage women in these endeavors to pursue, sustain, and grow in the Christian faith.


Stakeholder Communities

Our community of stakeholders includes:

· We strive to serve those women involved or interested in science[2] in high school or college or just starting their careers, those in the middle of their careers, and those who are established leaders in their careers.

· We strive to benefit and support the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA[3]), of which we are an affiliate.

· We strive to bring special benefits to women who formally join our fellowship.

· We strive to serve the public with information and insight.


We have many specific goals related to our mission. The highest priority goals at any point in time will depend on the individuals that are available to help pursue those goals.

· Encourage more Christian women to get into science and engineering

· Encourage more women in science to be bolder in sharing their faith or to seek Christ for the first time

· Encourage Christian women in science to remain active in their careers and in their faith

· Help more Christian women move into leadership or management positions in science and engineering

· Grow ASA membership by reaching out to Christian women in science

· Bring more gender diversity to ASA membership and leadership

· Provide connections, encouragement, information, and role models for pre-career and early-career women in science

· Support mid-career women with work/life problems related to being a Christian, a woman, and a scientist

· Provide opportunities for our established leaders to make a difference in the lives and careers of other Christian women in science, to share their wisdom and experience, and to be recognized for their service


As an affiliate of the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), we support the ASA’s statement of faith and policies: [4]

· We accept the divine inspiration, trustworthiness and authority of the Bible in matters of faith and conduct.

· We confess the Triune God affirmed in the Nicene and Apostles' creeds, which we accept as brief, faithful statements of Christian doctrine based upon Scripture.

· We believe that in creating and preserving the universe God has endowed it with contingent order and intelligibility, the basis of scientific investigation.

· We recognize our responsibility, as stewards of God's creation, to use science and technology for the good of humanity and the whole world.


The general public will benefit from the work of CWIS through information provided on its public website, and specific activities that the Board makes available to the general public.

· CWIS members will become members by first joining ASA and then joining the CWIS affiliate. The ASA has several categories of membership, including Regular, Associate, Student, Friend, and Fellow.[5] ASA/CWIS members in any of these categories (except Friend, by definition) will sign the ASA statement of faith as given above under “Beliefs.” ASA/CWIS members will receive special incentives, such as being able to access the CWIS affiliate membership directory, participating in special activities open only to CWIS members, or other member-only privileges.

· People interested in CWIS but not interested in ASA membership can become ASA/CWIS Followers. A follower will provide email and other information about himself/herself, and does not need to sign the statement of faith, but will not have access to the CWIS member directory or other member privileges.

Organization and Management

Christian Women in Science will operate under the rules and requirements for affiliates of the ASA listed in the ASA By-Laws.

The affairs of Christian Women in Science will be led and managed by the Board. The duties of the Board are to:

· Set policy and direction of Christian Women in Science.

· Determine the proposed activities for the next year that Christian Women in Science will initiate and sustain to achieve its mission and goals for its stakeholder communities.

· Recruit, select, train, motivate, and guide volunteers to implement these activities as needed.

· Respond to suggestions for new or additional activities as they are offered by the membership or others.

· As necessary, review official communications (blogs, newsletters, website material, etc) of Christian Women in Science before publication or dissemination.

· Report periodically on activities to the membership and to the ASA leadership.

The Board will consist of at least three and no more than ten CWIS members, who are also officially members of ASA. The perpetuation of the Board will be decided at a later date. Also, any other structure of the Board (such as President, Vice President, Secretary, etc) will be decided at a later date.

The Board will conduct its business through email, teleconferences, and other electronic means as needed, and will meet in person at the ASA national meeting each summer to the extent possible.

Directors receive no compensation for their services. Decisions about CWIS requiring dues of members, or some other type of financial transactions or funding, will be decided at a later date.

[2] References in this document to science, or to science and engineering, should be assumed to refer to all four areas of science, technology, engineering, and math.