Magi Project Summer Seminar 2018

Creation Ex Nihilo?

Perspectives on the Origin of the Universe in Science, Theology and Philosophy

The theme of our 2018 Summer Seminar will be “Cosmic Origins”. 

What does it mean to speak about the origin of our Universe?  Why is there something rather than nothing?   Did time begin with the Big Bang?  What does it mean to speak of a Creator?  Why was Genesis 1 written? Is it still relevant today?  How do the Big Bang theory and Genesis fit together?  Can one believe in the modern physical mechanics of an inflationary Universe and also in God? 

The week-long Collegium Summer Seminar will be structured around the question of the beginning of the Universe and the Big Bang theory, with a special focus on the contribution of Georges Lemaître, as well as on planetary origins and the formation of our solar system. The Seminar will welcome a small cohort of graduate students to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for an intensive course led by eminent scholars across disciplines of physics, philosophy, and theology. 

Through a daily series of lectures, seminars, and small group discussions, students will examine both cutting edge research and foundational wisdom that enables them to evaluate descriptive models of the origins of the universe, the relationship of space and time, physics and metaphysics, nature and grace, the human and the divine in an exploration some of deepest questions about the origins of our Universe.  

Topics to be Covered Include

  • The philosophical understanding of “origin”
  • The science of Big Bang theory and the inflationary universe.
  • Origins of our solar system and other planetary systems.
  • The contribution and works of Georges Lemaître
  • Creation in Genesis 1
  • The theology of Creation
  • The relationships between physical, philosophical, and theological views concerning the origin of the Universe.


Dr. William Carroll: Oxford University

Prof. David Charbonneau: Harvard University

John William FarrellWriter and Media producer

Rev. Joseph LaracySeton Hall University

Prof. Don Lincoln: University of Notre Dame

Dr. Marisa March: University of Pennsylvania

Prof. James Peebles: Princeton University

Rev. James Platania: Seton Hall University

More informtion on our speakers can be found HERE

To Attend

A limited number of 25 funded places are available to suitably qualified graduate students.   The funding will cover course fees, course materials, accommodation and food.  Students will be responsible for their own travel expenses.  Students who are successful in the application process will pay a small contribution of $50 towards course costs. Preference will be given to graduate students in the sciences, philosophy and theology.  For more information please email

The deadline for consideration in the first selection round will be Monday, April 23rd.