2022 speaker bios

Martinez “Marty” Hewlett, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of Arizona, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology — Marty has taught at UNM-Taos since 2003. He currently serves as a Research Scholar at UNM-Taos and is an Adjunct faculty member in the Religious Studies Program at UNM. Dr. Hewlett earned his Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from USC in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Univ. of Arizona in 1973. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. David Baltimore at MIT, where he specialized in molecular virology.  Dr. Hewlett has received many awards and fellowships for his teaching and research, including the J.K. Russell Fellowship (2006) and the University of Arizona Faculty of Science Innovative Teaching Award two times (1986 and 2000).  He has been the Principal Investigator of numerous federal research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).  He is the recipient of an American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award (1982-87) and the Fogarty Senior International Fellowship (1986-87).  His research specialties include molecular virology as well as philosophy of science.  His textbook, Basic Virology, Fourth Edition, (M. Hewlett, D. Bloom, D, Camerini, Wiley-Blackwell Science) has just been published.  He is the co-author of Evolution:  From Creation to New Creation (Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett, Abingdon Press) and Theological and Scientific Commentary on Darwin’s Origin of Species (Ted Peters and Martinez Hewlett, Abingdon Press).  Dr. Hewlett is a lay member of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans).  

John Ambrosiano, PhD — John is a retired physicist who worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1997 until his retirement in 2019. In 2003, having become curious about Buddhism, he visited several centers in the Santa Fe area, including one in Los Alamos guided by Henry Finney, an artist and Zen teacher affiliated with the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos. In Santa Fe, he met Buddhist teacher and author Matthew Flickstein, and became his student in 2008. A few years later, he began training as a teacher himself, and has been teaching Buddhism and meditation at the Unitarian Church since that time. The group, called Los Alamos Dharma Friends, meets online and at UULA Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings.

Eric Ferm, PhD — Eric is an applied mathematician specializing in fluid mechanics and shock physics.  He earned his B.S. in Mathematics and Chemistry from Boise State University in 1976 and earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Washington State University in 1981.  For 31 years he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory on fluids problems and design and analysis of dynamic experiments.  He worked in many groups at the Lab involved in explosive applications, safety, and design, as well as working for several years in the Proton Radiography Program.   He retired in 2012.  Eric has used his free time since retirement for traveling around the world, barbershop and chorus singing, enjoying being a grandfather and other family gatherings. Eric was raised in the Episcopal church and was a member of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church (BELC) for the 35 years until he relocated to Fort Collins in 2016 where he is now attending Plymouth Congregational Church (UCC).  He was trained as a Stephen Minister and Stephen Leader at BELC and has worked over the last two years to help create a Stephen Ministry team at Plymouth. Eric was a founding member of the Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum until he resigned in 2016 having relocated to Fort Collins.  Covid protocol has allowed him to rejoin the Forum via zoom and he has been involved in the Forum for the last two years.   Eric has always enjoyed science and finds enjoyment in reading and studying topics on the history and philosophy of science and religion and the intersection between them. 

Victoria Erhart, PhD — Victoria completed her undergraduate studies at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM, the “great Books” school. She began graduate school in Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, before moving to Toronto to continue theological studies at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto. She completed theological studies with a concentration in Early Christian Studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Victoria Erhart has taught World Religions at a variety of colleges and universities. She currently teaches business technology courses at UNM-LA. Her research interests includes Syriac Christianity, pre-modern military history, sustainable and environmental issues and the intersection between science and religion.

Patrick Berg, MD, Maj, USAF, Critical Care Surgeon, 60th Medical Group, SGCS/SGCQ, Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Division of Acute Care Surgery, UC Davis Health — Patrick grew up as the son of an Air Force officer who was always on the move. For college, he attended Brigham Young University. He graduated with a degree in applied physics and also worked for a year and a half in the Willardson biochemistry lab. He went on to medical school at Texas Tech – El Paso, and graduated with a distinction in research. At the time, he published a number of articles on a post-surgical complication called dumping syndrome, which is about as unsophisticated as it sounds. He completed his general surgery residency at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and a fellowship in pediatric surgical critical care at the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He is a major in the Air Force, and clinical assistant professor at UC Davis in the division of trauma and acute care surgery. He married Lindsey Stephens in 2011 and is the father of 3 children. He is a devout Christian who believes that religion and science should be married.

Fr. Jesse Robinson, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Santa Fe, NM — Father Jesse Robinson was raised in Tempe, AZ where he joined the Orthodox Church with his family and a group of seekers in 1998. He is married to Chelsea, whom he met when he briefly owned an ice cream shop in Phoenix, AZ. He is an okay dad to 3 boys with a 4th baby on the way. He was ordained to the diaconate in November 2018, and to the priesthood in July of 2019. He received his Masters in Divinity from St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in May of 2020. He recently took over as head priest and pastor of Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Santa Fe, NM in June of 2021 after the retirement of the beloved founding pastor, Fr. John Bethancourt. Holy Trinity is a parish of the Antiochian Archdiocese of North America, which is part of the Patriarchate of Antioch, one of the original Christian churches mentioned in the Bible. 

Gary L. Stradling, PhD — Dr. Stradling has served the United States national security for 40 years, since June 1977, when he joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Laser Fusion Program. He completed five years of federal civil service in the R&D Directorate of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, in the Nuclear Technologies Department. He served as Chief of the Monitoring and Verification Technologies Office, where he led the advanced nuclear test monitoring technologies and Nuclear Arms Control Technologies (NACT) portfolios. Prior to joining DoD, Dr. Stradling served at Los Alamos National Laboratory since 1981. During his career at LANL, he served as a program manager of the AngelFire program providing tactical wide-area-surveillance intelligence technology for the DoD/USMC from 2004-2011. Prior to that he was a member of the Office of Military Applications under the LANL Associate Director for Weapons Engineering and Manufacturing where he led the nascent Reliable Replacement Warhead development program.  From 1994-2000, he was detailed to the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon.  From 1997 to 2000 he served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Missile Defense Policy, advising OSD on NNSA’s new Stockpile Stewardship Program, supporting the nuclear Tomahawk program, and addressing missile defense questions. In 1996 he was Science Advisor to the Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Chemical and Biological Programs in the Counterproliferation Office.  Prior to that, from 1994, he served three years as Science Advisor to the OSD Director-Arms Control, Implementation and Compliance office (ACI&C), partially concurrent with the Counterproliferation assignment.  During that assignment, he was Chairman of the 26-nation (NATO and Warsaw Pact) Open Skies Treaty implementation negotiation group In Vienna, AU, the International Working Group on Sensors. He brought that negotiation to a successful completion, eliminating one barrier to the Treaty entering into force. Dr. Stradling conducted experimental physics from 1981 to 1994 in the Physics Division of Los Alamos, serving the nuclear weapons testing program, the Strategic Defense Initiative (hypervelocity Impact), and the Laser Fusion Program. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Physics from Brigham Young University in 1976 and 1981 and M.S. and PhD degrees in Applied Science/Plasma Physics from the University of California/Davis in 1979 and 1982.  He is the recipient of: the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence, and the German Physical Society Hubert Schardin Gold Medal for leadership in the high-speed photonics community. He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having served the Church in many assignments, including as a two year full-time missionary in a Cantonese-speaking mission in Hong Kong, frequently as a youth and scouting leader, as a teacher, and as an administrator. He is a believer, having received many evidences of God’s existence, His active involvement with mankind, His will, guidance, and purposes. He is very familiar with the Bible and more so with the Book of Mormon, as well as other scripture. He is the husband of Rebecca, the enthusiastic father and grandfather of 9 children and 20 grandchildren. While ready to discuss the foundations of theology, he recognizes that all religion is built on essential truths, and seeks to understand those truths, distributed in different ways through mankind over their history

Glenn Magelssen, PhD — Glenn has a PhD in AstroGeophysics from the University of Colorado. His scientific research has included solar physics, laser and ion beam fusion, neural nets, code development and stockpile stewardship. His scientific work is well documented. He has studied theology most of his life and taken a four year course called EFM from the University of the South on Old and New Testament, Christian history and Christian Theology. He is a Stephan minister,  a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church and on The Self Help board. He has given Faith and Science talks on cosmology, genetics, evolution, near death experiences and the history of vaccines. He has been influenced by many authors including C. S. Lewis, Joseph Sitler, Walter Wangerin, Richard Feynman, John Steinbeck, Clarence Jordan and Paul Tournier

Chick Keller, PhD — Charles F. “Chick” Keller entered Catholic seminary after High School.   After four years of philosophy and theology he was worried that theologians didn’t know enough about what science had shown, that might require updating of traditional theology.  He studied Physics and Mathematics at Penn State and received a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Indiana University in 1969.  Chick joined Los Alamos National Laboratory where he worked in a variety of computer-based studies, including climate change.  He eventually became the highly respected director of the Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics at Los Alamos. Chick was one of the founders of PEEC, the Pajarito Environmental Education Center, locally known as the “Nature Center”. In 2017, Chick was named one of the “Living Treasures” of Los Alamos. Chick has read widely about aspects of science as it impacts theological concepts, and is a founding member of Los Alamos Faith and Science Forum, where, over the years, he has given a number of talks on issues where faith and science intersect. He is a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

Nels Hoffman, PhD — Nelson M. Hoffman is a physicist working at Los Alamos National Laboratory, in the Plasma Theory and Applications Group of the Computational Physics (XCP) Division. He earned a B.A. in Physics from Rice University in 1970, and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin in 1974. His research interests are mainly in the areas of laser-driven fusion and plasma physics, currently emphasizing ion-kinetic models for transport in laser-driven capsule implosions, gamma-ray diagnostics of such capsules, and statistical inference (“machine learning”) applied to data analysis. He has authored or co-authored more than 85 technical publications, which have garnered more than 2300 citations. Nels is a member of First United Methodist Church of Los Alamos, and is active in the Kairos Prison Ministry. He is a founding member and past president of the Los Alamos Faith & Science Forum (LAF&SF). Influenced by the writings on the history of science and culture by Toby Huff, Lawrence Principe, James Hannam, David Lindberg, Joseph Henrich, and many others, Nels believes it is highly likely that, without the crucial influence of Christianity in human cultural history, modern science would not even exist.