BIO: Walt Hearn [WARNING: long]

From: The Troll House (
Date: Fri Aug 09 2002 - 22:59:45 EDT

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    As a lurker on the ASA listserve, I've appreciated being able to read the
    biographical statements of participants, so here's mine, with thanks to
    Terry for asking.

    BIO: Walter R. Hearn

    AGE: 76

    Career #1 (1951-71) Academic biochemistry
    Career #2 (1972-93) Freelance editing
    Career #3 (19??-date) Writing

    USNR, enlisted aviation electronic technician (1944-46).
    B.A., chemistry, Rice U., Houston (1948).
    Ph.D., biochemistry, U. of Illinois, Urbana (1951).
      [Structure of antibiotic streptothricin, with H. E. Carter.]
    Instructor, biochem, Yale School of Med, New Haven (1951-52).
      [Enzymatic transpeptidation reactions, with J. S. Fruton.]
    Asst prof, biochem, Baylor College of Med, Houston (1952-55).
      [Purification of corticotropin releasing factor, with R. Guillemin;
    chemistry of oxalyl amino acids.]
    Assoc prof, biochem, Iowa State U., Ames (1955-71).
      [CRF activity of synthetic vasopressin; biosynthesis of prodigiosin in
    Serratia marcescens, with R. P. Williams; growth factors for Bacillus
    thuringensis; guanidation of amino acids, etc.]
    Editor, ASA Newsletter (1969-93).
    Partner with wife Virginia, "Editorial Excellence," (1972-date).
    Prof, Christianity & science, New College Berkeley (1978-date).

    Grew up in a Christian home, met Christ in our family's Southern Baptist
    church in Houston at about age 10. I have been several kinds of Baptist,
    including American Baptist during grad school. Not strongly oriented
    ecclesiastically. Have felt most at home in low-church settings, including
    the former Berkeley Housechurch, which began in our living room in 1975 and
    lasted for maybe a decade with several offshoots. Ginny and I dropped out of
    it after about five years (to return to our experiment in "Secular Christian
    Fellowship," a "no-church" setting) after Housechurch folks seemed intent on
    reinventing the established church, despite their roots in the Christian
    World Liberation Front, an indigenous ministry (1969-75) to Berkeley's
    countercultural youth. After years of appreciating the efforts of First
    Presbyterian Church of Berkeley to witness to the university community, we
    finally became members, though I regard myself as merely a
    pseudo-Presbyterian. I consider service to others as my principle form of
    worship, rather than seeing corporate worship as the principle "service" of
    Christians. Throughout my Christian life as well as my scientific career, I
    have been primarily an experimentalist rather than a theoretician.

    1) Those who have read my book Being a Christian in Science (IVP, 1997) know
    pretty much what I have to say. I am under the impression that all ASA
    members receive a free copy but I realize that not all contributors to this
    list are ASA members. Without "spamming" those who are not yet members, I do
    recommend the book (available from ASA or IVP), especially for young people
    just beginning or contemplating a career in scientific work.

    2) Having just returned from the ASA Annual Meeting at Pepperdine University
    in Malibu, CA, I also highly recommend membership in ASA and at least
    occasional attendance at Annual Meetings, especially when they are held in
    your part of the USA. The 2002 program, emphasizing "Christian Pioneers of
    Science," was rich both scientifically and spiritually. Five outstanding
    plenary speakers described their technical work in accessible language while
    speaking of their faith journeys. In a new program, students and post-docs
    giving papers or posters received free registration and housing, plus full
    participation in the meeting. Every young person I talked to found it

    3) I joined ASA as a grad student and was able to attend my first meeting as
    a post-doc, fifty years ago. That's a half-century of broadening my
    scientific understanding and deepening my faith in Jesus Christ. The
    "fellowship of kindred minds" has blessed me in many ways, including
    opportunities to contribute to the science/faith "literature" with many
    articles in the ASA journal and elsewhere, with half a dozen chapters in
    books by others, and as co-author of the booklet Teaching Science in a
    Climate of Controversy, still available from ASA and still useful for
    teachers caught in the crossfire. My book on Being a Christian in Science
    came not only from my own experience but also from writing the stories of
    hundreds of contemporary exemplars for the ASA Newsletter and for a series
    of "Search" inserts in the ASA journal. It was my chapter on "The Origin of
    Life" (with Richard Hendry, my first grad student) in Evolution and
    Christian Thought Today (ed. by Russ Mixter, Eerdmans, 1959) that got me
    invited to a 1960 science symposium at Wheaton College in Mixter's honor. A
    critical report of my part in that symposium in a publication called The
    Sword of the Lord was the basis of my appearance in the final segment of the
    2001 PBS series on Evolution, "What About God?" (though I did not play the
    title role).

    4) I apologize for the length of this post. The Hearns are relatively new to
    the Internet. Ginny loves it but Walt is not yet comfortable with it. As a
    sort of hybrid of two of his favorite forms of worship (conversation and
    correspondence), email sometimes seems to bring out the worst features of
    both rather than the best. So, consider this another experiment in learning
    to worship more effectively. Thank you for your patience.

    --Walt Hearn, the W in

    The Troll House

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