A. Work History
C. Personal Background
Born in the rural town of Waipawa, located in sunny Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, I lived most of my early years in the adjacent town of Waipukurau. An early interest in science was kindled at home through a childhood filled with mechanical adventures including go-karting, motorbikes, and the infamous chemistry kit. At school this love of making things work translated into an interest in science which later coalesced into an intense interest in chemistry. I have a strong interest in helping others which focused my early interest in chemistry on the synthesis of medicines which I pursued at Massey University, located about 70 miles from Waipukurau.
In the early 80's the Chemistry Department at Massey University integrated chemistry within the university's historic focus on agricultural problems. Typical of this biologically oriented program were the projects offered for Honors students. I began a project whose aim was to design an affinity exchange resin capable of selectively extracting the anti-coagulant Heparin, from animal offal (leading to the infamous pigs liver extraction) commonly available in New Zealand! From this background I moved to the University of British Columbia for a Ph. D. with Professor Edward Piers, one of Canada's leading organic chemists and an outstanding teacher. After 4 ˝ delightful years of natural product synthesis, developing new nitrile chemistry, and sampling the beauty of Canada's wilderness areas, camping, canoeing, hiking, yachting, I moved to Corvallis, Oregon. My post-doctoral appointment with James White, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, at Oregon State University focused on indolizidine synthesis but also involved a joint radiolabeling project with veterinary scientists. Two years later, after numerous synthetic adventures, and a few outdoor adventures too, I moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and began an independent academic career at Duquesne University.
D. Science and Christianity
An early interest in science and a strong interest Christianity stimulated what has become a life-long quest to understand the relationship of science with Christianity. I am a member of the American Scientific Affiliation and I regularly review books in science and religion for the journal Perspectives on Science and Christianity. I have taught several classes in the area of science and religion both as university courses and as short courses for general church audiences.
I am a founding member of the "Christian Academic Fellowship" - CAFÉ - an independent university organization whose mission lies in ". . . integrating our spiritual beliefs and values into our various roles in the university community." As moderator for CAFÉ I was involved in several book studies (Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling by James Sire, and A Christian Critique of the University by Charles Malik), organizing yearly retreats, and organizing university presentations (Medicine and Compassion in Early Christianity by Dr. Gary Ferngren, 2000; A Role for the Catholic University in the 21st Century by Dr. Jim Sire, 2001; The Big Bang, Stephen Hawking and God by Dr. Fritz Schaefer, 2005; and Science vs. Belief? The Challenge of Naturalism by Terence Nichols). My interest in integrating Christianity into an academic vocation has led to occasional lectures on the topic at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and to academics in Germany and Poland during sabbatical visits.