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

No comments:

Post a Comment