A A Email Print Share

Spring Break Away 2016 - Rome, Italy and Geneva, Switzerland

Course: PSYC 250 Science and Faith 

[satisfies Core Theme Area:  Faith and Reason]


Rome Art


This course will explore the relationship between science and faith, using the life stories and ideas of Giordano Bruno, Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaus Copernicus, and Johannes Kepler to explore the integration of religious faith and scientific discovery throughout history. Bruno was a Dominican friar and philosopher whose ideas concerning an infinite universe comprised of matter, as well as belief in commonalities across religions, led him to be deemed a heretic by both the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches and eventually burned for heresy. The relationships between Bruno's ideas and those of DaVinci, Copernicus, and Kepler provide opportunities to discuss different ways of integrating science and faith.

The course will include travel to Rome, Italy for 5 days and Geneva, Switzerland for 3 days. In Rome we will visit, among many of the traditional sites, (1) the location of Bruno's burning, (2) the Vatican, particularly excavations under St. Peter's Basilica that have employed scientific methods to support tenets concerning the founding of the church, and (3) the Basilica of San Clemente, which shows the layering of religious sites and practices over centuries. In Geneva students will visit (1) St. Peter's Cathedral, where Calvin's protestant reformation began and under which excavations show a layering of earlier religious sites and practices, as well as (2) CERN, where recent discovery of the so-called "God particle" resonates with Bruno's ideas from the 16th century, and provides further opportunity to discuss the integration of science and faith. The course will conclude by discussing the challenges of integrating science and faith with contemporary viewpoints on mind, matter, and the nature of human beings.

Professor: Dr. Russ Walsh 

Prerequisites: This course is open to all, no prerequistes

Max enrollment: 20 students

More information: See Dr. Walsh, 911 Rockwell Hall

Class Time: W 6-8:40 p.m.

Next Steps