The Year of Faith

"Is the Universe Purposeful?"

November 1, 2012, Conaton Board Room, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Why are the physical parameters of the universe tuned so finely so as to allow life to not only arise but to flourish? Recent explorations into the nature of dark matter and dark energy offer insights into the nature of the universe and open up possibilities of the existence of multiple universes, often called the multiverse, which then allow us to better understand how this fine tuning might arise. Is this evidence of purposefulness? Science can have little to say on this question but our other intellectual disciplines can lead us in a rich discussion.


Dr. Steven HerbertDr. Steven Herbert
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs,
Dean of the Graduate School

Dr. Steven Herbert earned his bachelor's degree in Physics and Mathematics from Xavier University in 1984. Dr. Herbert received his 
Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1993 in experimental condensed matter physics. He then continued to be a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Cincinati. Dr. Herbert joined the physics faculty at Xavier in 1995, performing research in the electrical transport properties of materials with a specialization in conventional and high temperature super conductors. Dr. Herbert has also taught astronomy for nearly 15 years. He is also a member of the Midwest Manatee Research Project, an interdisciplinary group of Xavier faculty and students researching the vocalization patterns and behavior of the endangered Florida manatee.




Rev. Joseph Bracken, S.J.
Professor Emeritus, Theology

Rev. Joseph Bracken attained his Bachelor of Literature from Xavier University in 1953. Continuing through school he earned his M.A. in philosophy from Loyola University of Chicago in 1960, then his PhD. in philosophy from the University of Freiburg in West Germany in 1968. Rev. Bracken was teaching theology for nearly 15 years until he began his career at Xavier in 1982 to become chairperson of the department. Rev. Bracken has also written and published multiple books and articles in the fields of philosophy and theology.






Dr. Timothy Quinn
Professor, Philosophy

Dr. Timothy Quinn recieved his Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America in 1985. Dr. Quinn came to Xavier University in 1987, where he has taught courses concerning Kant, Aristotle, Aesthetics, Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology and Metaphysics. For six years Dr. Quinn directed the Honors Bachelor of Arts Program at Xavier University, and remains involved with the University Scholars honors program. Dr. Quinn also received the Teacher of the Year award in 1990.



Dr. Daniel Otero
Associate Professor, Mathematics

Daniel E. Otero received his Ph.D. at Pennsylvania State University in 1987 for work on number theoretic problems in linear algebra, spent two years in a postdoctoral position at Syracuse University, and has been teaching at Xavier University since 1989.  His scholarship centers on how the history of mathematics can inform and enrich the teaching of mathematics to students at all levels. Since 1998 he and Daniel J. Curtin (Northern Kentucky University) have run a seminar that meets twice a year in the Cincinnati area at which important texts in the history of mathematics are read and studied by the participants.