| Center for the Study of Science and Religion (CSSR)
Frontiers of Science
I have been Professor of Biological Sciences
at Columbia since 1978 and Director of the Center for the Study of Science and
Religion since 1999. I am as well a Lecturer at the Center for Psychoanalytic
Training and Research (since 1998), an adjunct Professor for Science and
Religion at Columbia University (since 2002), and at New York Theological Seminary (since 2008), and an adjunct professor
of Religion (since 2002). I was Dean of Columbia College from 1982 to 1989. I
received the Alexander Hamilton Medal from Columbia University and the Gershom Mendel Seixas Award from the Columbia/Barnard Hillel, and have held a
In fall 2009 I became the director of the Biology Department's
Independent Research course, C3500. Since 2006 I have been a member of the
teaching faculty of the Columbia College Core course, Frontiers of Science. I teach
two sections of the Seminar in the fall semester, as well as presenting three
plenary lectures, on the emergence of information, life and consciousness. I
teach a 4-day intensive
course, "DNA, Evolution, and the Soul," at Union Theological
Seminary. Since 2009, I have been one of four faculty teaching the Core Course
I am the author of more than a hundred research
papers on the oncogenic phenotype of mammalian cells in culture. In
addition I have written many opinion pieces
and reviews on aspects of molecular biology, medical ethics and science
education, and have edited two books on these matters for Cold Spring Harbor
In 1994 I chose to cease my own basic research
in the laboratory, and to concentrate instead on questions that lie at the
junction of science and other intellectual and emotional domains, in particular
religion. This work led to the publication of three books to date, and to the establishment of the
Center for the Study of Science and Religion in 1999.
My 1994 book, Signs of Life: the Language and Meanings of DNA, received the
Lionel Trilling Award, and has been translated into six languages. For more
information, see Houghton Mifflin and Amazon.
My second book, The Missing Moment: How the Unconscious Shapes Modern Science, was
published by Houghton
Mifflin and translated into Japanese in 2001.
My 2000 book, The Faith of Biology and the Biology of Faith: Order, Meaning and Free Will
in Modern Science, was published as the inaugural volume of a Columbia
University Press series of books on Science and
I am currently working on a book on the
persistence of identity, and also, with my wife Amy, working on a children’s
book on Grandparents.
The CSSR has received
support from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research, Columbia University,
the John Templeton Foundation, the Cummings Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Metanexus, and the Fetzer Institute. Since 2002 the CSSR has been a center of the Earth Institute of Columbia University, which
also provides an operating grant.
CSSR Seminars and Symposia are open to the public, but
require an RSVP by email to CSSR@columbia.edu. The CSSR website features videos of all public events.
I serve on the Boards of the Columbia/Barnard Hillel and Congregation Ramath Orah. I am a Fellow of the AAAS. I have been a member of the Century Association since 1997.
My grandparents were immigrants to the United States from Eastern Europe. I grew up in Brooklyn, attended P.S. 188, Mark Twain Junior High School, Abraham Lincoln High School and Columbia College, graduating with a major in physics in 1961. I hold a Ph.D. in biology from Brandeis University. I have been a research scientist at the Weizmann Institute and at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, an assistant professor of Pathology at NYU Medical Center and an associate professor of Microbiology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
for the Study of Science and Religion
DNA, Evolution and the Soul