Renowned Harvard Professor Speaks on Faith, Reason and the Universe

A large crowd filled the Montrose School M&M Building to hear from LifeCompass Speaker Dr. Karin Öberg, including parents, alumnae, parents of alumnae, Board members and more than a third of our student body.
Harvard astrochemist, Dr. Öberg's cutting-edge research focuses on planet formation and the chemical compositions of nascent planets. Drawing on theology, philosophy, astronomy and chemistry, she discussed her findings around the intriguing topic of “Faith, Reason and the Universe: The Science and Theology of Extraterrestrial Life.”

Her visit has already inspired many thought-provoking discussions among students. Attendees described the talk as "outstanding" and "breathtaking." "I appreciated her joyful witness and positive outlook," said one attendee.

"At Montrose we often say that our world needs more young women of conviction and ingenuity; principled women who have practical wisdom and who commit themselves to noble and worthwhile pursuits," said Head of School Katie Elrod. "Dr. Öberg is an excellent example of such a woman: a renowned scientist who engages life’s biggest questions with faith and fearlessness. In her work, she brings together diverse groups in the areas of physics, astronomy, philosophy and theology, all while modeling curiosity, humility and fair-mindedness."

Dr. Karin Öberg is Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University. Her specialty is astrochemistry and her research aims to uncover how chemical processes affect the outcome of planet formation, especially the chemical habitability of nascent planets. Dr. Öberg obtained her B.Sc. in chemistry at Caltech in 2005, and her Ph.D. in astronomy, with a thesis focused on laboratory astrochemistry, from Leiden University in 2009. She did postdoctoral work at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as a NASA Hubble fellow, focusing on millimeter observations of planet-forming disks around young stars. In 2013 she joined the Harvard astronomy faculty as an assistant professor. She was promoted and named the Thomas D. Cabot Associate Professor in Astronomy in 2016, and promoted to full professor with tenure in 2017. Dr. Öberg’s research in astrochemistry has been recognized with a Sloan fellowship, a Packard fellowship, the Newton Lacy Pierce Award from the American Astronomical Society, and a Simons fellowship. 
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