The Festival of Science & Religion

The Mansion on O Street
2020 O Street NW
Washington, DC 20036

Date/time: June 15, 2018 (10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

A celebration of the ways that science and religion interact and harmonize to create more meaning, understanding, and purpose in our world.  This day-long festival offers guests the opportunity to explore compelling new stories and thought provoking ideas presented by writers, thinkers, skeptics, and believers from various disciplines and denominations in a series of events that will challenge and inspire. Come for an hour, come for the day.  The Festival–set in the magical Mansion on O St., near Dupont Circle—will present new ways to understand and appreciate our complicated world.


Sounds and The City

The din of city life can induce disquiet and even pain, while ancient music from different religious traditions has a demonstrably soothing effect on our brains and bodies.  Poet Catherine Fletcher will lead a brief “sonic city tour” followed by a demonstration and discussion of the therapeutic benefits of Gregorian chant by the Christopher Mueller Foundation for Polyphony & Chant. 10 a.m. & 1 p.m. | Note: Seating is limited for Sounds and The City | See registration desk at the entrance to reserve your space.

Yoga and Being

In a guided meditation, molecular biologist Prema Arasu takes participants on an internal evolutionary journey from pure primordial energy up through the chain of life, as they explore and reflect on their personal beliefs about science, religion and spirituality. 11 a.m. & 3 p.m. | Note: Seating is limited for Yoga and Being | See registration desk at the entrance to reserve your space.

Exile, Redemption, and the Refugee Experience

When people are forced from their homes and lands by weather, war, ethnic cleansing, or economic displacement, the costs to mind and spirit are great. Psychiatrist Ken Thompson will explore how the psychological and spiritual can work together to help transform the refugee experience into a hero’s journey toward healing and even redemption. 1 p.m.

An American Muslim Doctor’s Crisis in Faith with Medicine

Altaf Saadi was in medical school when her father—a PhD scientist himself—was diagnosed with liver cancer. Only a liver transplant could save his life, but they had to navigate past certain Islamic interpretations that viewed such a procedure as forbidden. Saadi weaves together a story of elite medical science, religious faith, ethnic identity, and familial love. 11 a.m.

The Poet, the Physicist, and the Fire

When poet Donna Coffey Little’s house burned down, the destruction provided a foundation for rebuilding her relationship with her father, a physicist and devout Catholic. 3 p.m.

Three Stories of Religion and Medicine

God and science, birth and death, humor and tragedy, sacred and profane, all come together in these personal tales from oncology nurse Sarah Christensen, obstetrician gynecologist Naina Khera-McRackan, and religion scholar Andrew Aghapour. 2 p.m.

The Natural History of My Religious Experience

Jonathan Mosedale, an Anglican minister and environmental scientist, has a rare genetic disease that has at times allowed him to attain a state of psychological transcendence that questions both scientific and religious commitments to healing. 10 a.m.

Divining the Truth through Science and Religion

From the Inquisition to the Salem Witchcraft Trials to novel uses of neurotechnology, legal scholar Jane Campbell Moriarty explores the paths of science and religion in their intertwined but distinct endeavor to separate truth from lies. 12 p.m.

Science/Religion, US/Mexico: No Boundaries

Writer and filmmaker Lisa Garibay presents a multimedia exhibit about a school on the U.S.-Mexico border where, for almost 100 years, girls from both countries have been taught by Roman Catholic nuns to excel in the sciences. 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Note: Interactive Exhibit

Death Cafes

Anglican priest and behavioral scientist Jonathan Jong leads small-group discussions (over tea and cake) that open up the question of our inevitable death to both religious and scientific perspectives. 12 p.m. & 2 p.m. | Note: Seating is limited for Death Cafes | See registration desk at the entrance to reserve your space.

Reflections on Science & Spirituality

An interactive experience on camera, informal science educator Jeannie Colton asks guests one thought provoking question about science and spirituality. In a post-event effort, Colton and her team create a video montage of participant’s responses to the one question Colton will ask guests throughout the day, offering us a glimpse into the myriad of ideas we have as a community. 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. | Note: Guests who wish to participate in Reflections on Science & Spirituality will be asked to sign a photo release form.

The Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program within the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Presents:

Rainbows: Perspectives from Science and Culture

The natural world can fill us with awe and wonder, and provide motivation to explore the science of how it works. Learn about the science of rainbows, as well as their role and significance for a range of cultures and faith traditions.10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Science: the Wide Angle Film Series

A series of short educational videos [for use in classrooms] exploring forefront science topics from a variety of perspectives. The videos feature commentary from scientists as well as historians, theologians and philosophers. 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Science Engagement with Faith Communities

The DoSER program builds on AAAS’s long-standing commitment to relate scientific knowledge and technological development to the purposes and concerns of society at large by facilitating engagement between scientific and religious communities. Join members of the DoSER team for some informal discussion and Q&A on program activities, experiences and personal perspectives on science-religion dialogue. 10:30 a.m. & 3:00 p.m


Johannes Kepler (an actor of course), and more!


The Mansion on O Street is a 30,000 sq. ft. mansion with more than 70 secret doors and passageways, an art collection that’s unrivaled, and amenities that will make your jaw drop. It is a destination for those in the know. You don’t want to miss it! This place will keep you thinking, creating, and wanting to explore.

In the words of The Mansion on O Street Founder, H.H. Leonards, the mansion is “…a haven for heads of state, foreign dignitaries, business leaders, writers, artists, musicians, scientists, and members of the entertainment industry, the mansion offers privacy, security, distinctive amenities and world-class cuisine, all in an environment that is nothing short of magical.

Since…doors opened on valentine’s day, February 14, 1980…novels, songs, paintings and even legislation have been created here. James Patterson devoted four pages to the mansion (a sensual scene in the log cabin) – and even gave our exact address – in his best-selling novel Four Blind Mice.”