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Teaching Science and Spirituality

Wednesday, June 13, 2018 -
3:00pm to 4:30pm
Convocation House, Bodleian Library

At many universities, conversations about spirituality are relegated to the personal realm. Yet, there is a deep need among some students to have conversations about spirituality in the environment where these students also learn disciplinary skills. This has led to the development of the undergraduate class "Science and Spirituality" at the Colorado School of Mines. This class is a mix of historical, scientific, and spiritual perspectives and includes experiential exercises. Instead of striking an intellectual or academic tone, the class is aimed at providing a rich personal experience. Students appreciate the opportunity to dive into the subject with fellow students. The topic has the potential to lead to controversial encounters, therefore setting the right tone--based on dialogue and respect--as well as building trust in the class, is an essential part of teaching this topic. In this seminar I will present the scope of the class, my experience of teaching this class, a set of best practices, and an example of class activities.


Roel Snieder holds the W.M. Keck Distinguished Chair of Professional Development Education at the Colorado School of Mines. He received in 1984 a Masters degree in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University, and in 1987 a Ph.D. in seismology from Utrecht University. In 1993 he was appointed as professor of seismology at Utrecht University, where from 1997-2000 he was appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Earth Sciences. Roel served on the editorial boards of Geophysical Journal International, Inverse Problems, Reviews of Geophysics, the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, and the European Journal of Physics. In 2000 he was elected as Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is author of the textbooks "A Guided Tour of Mathematical Methods for the Physical Sciences", "The Art of Being a Scientist", and "The Joy of Science" that are published by Cambridge University Press. Roel is a corresponding member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2011 he was elected as Honorary Member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and in 2014 he received a research award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2016 Roel received the Beno Gutenberg Medal from the European Geophysical Union and the Outstanding Educator Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. From 2000-2014 he was a firefighter in Genesee Fire Rescue where he served for two years as Fire Chief.

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The lecture is open to all, so please feel free to spread the word across all disciplines and via colleges.




Open to all