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November 12, 2020

Elaine Howard Ecklund, Herbert S. Autrey Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, and director of the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University


Cambridge area professors are the majority of our guests at each Cambridge Faculty Roundtable, experiencing an exchange with the potential to bring added depth to their lives as scholars and as educators. Evenings are sponsored by chairpersons dedicated to fostering dialogue that explores the intersection of science, faith, and philosophy. Select community leaders are invited to ensure a diversity of points of view.

Our evenings are made possible thanks to funding from contributors to The Leadership Connection, generous local scholars, Cornerstone Commissioning, The John Templeton Foundation, and with thanks to Memorial Church of Harvard University.

The Roundtable is co-chaired by:

Anne E. C. McCants, a Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow and Professor of History at MIT, and J. Mark Ramseyer Mitsubishi Professor of Japanese Legal Studies at Harvard Law School, and David R. Thom, MIT Chaplain with The Leadership Connection. Founding Chairpersons include Owen Gingerich, Astronomy and History of Science at Harvard University, Emeritus; and Robert Randolph, Chaplain to the Institute, MIT, Retired. Normally meeting in-person at the Harvard Faculty Club, every Faculty Roundtable begins with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, assigning six guests to each table for brief remarks from presenters, followed by dinner and discussion. After a 2018 evening, Former Dean of Harvard College and Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science Harry Lewis commented, “It was the kind of night that should be the norm in academia — serious conversation among smart people about contested issues, with pretty much everyone who spoke and counter-spoke both witty and civil.”

For Roundtable questions or comments, please reach Coordinator Dave Thom and Administrator Christina English at roundtable@mit.edu. Though the Roundtable is by invitation only, we are more than glad to work with you to welcome colleagues.

Originating in Amherst MA amidst the Five Colleges, Faculty Roundtables have caught on at Harvard & MIT & BU, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Yale, seating thousands of faculty for in-person Roundtable conversations over the last 18 years. Faculty Roundtables are now open at Chicago and Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, Duke and Cornell, and the universities near-by to these several fine institutions.

The Roundtable Archives

April 16, 2019
Shafik Islam, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering & Professor of Water Diplomacy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University

The Roundtable Archives

October 29, 2018
Tyler VanderWeele, John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

The Roundtable Archives

July 30, 2018
Please be our guest Monday July 30, 5:45PM, for our first ever summer Roundtable on Science and Religion where we are bringing back Harvard Geneticist George Church. Together with American Scientific Affiliation Fellows* who have gathered for their annual meetings, we will enjoy the beautifulTupper Manor on the Atlantic Ocean at the Wylie Inn & Conference Center of Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. A reminder of whom we’re featuring, George Church: Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, George is a founding member of the Wyss Institute, and director of PersonalGenomes.org, the world’s only open-access information on human genomic, environmental, and trait data. Known for pioneering the fields of personal genomics and synthetic biology, George developed the first methods for the first genome sequence and dramatic cost reductions since then (down from $3 billion to $600), contributing to nearly all “next generation sequencing” methods and companies. His team invented CRISPR for human stem cell genome editing and other synthetic biology technologies and applications — including new ways to create organs for transplantation, gene therapies for aging reversal, and gene drives to eliminate Lyme disease and malaria. As director of IARPA & NIH BRAIN Projects and National Institutes of Health Center for Excellence in Genomic Science, George has coauthored 450 papers, 105 patents, and one book, Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves. His honors include Franklin Bower Laureate for Achievement in Science, the Time 100, and election to the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering.