Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D. Associate professor of sociology, Rice University

Elaine Howard Ecklund, Ph.D., is an associate professor of sociology at Rice University, where she is also a Rice scholar at the Baker Institute and director of the Program on Religion and Public Life at the Institute for Urban Research. Her work focuses on the ways science and religion intersect with other life spheres, such as public life, immigration and gender. Ecklund has received major grants from the National Science Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation and John Templeton Foundation. Her research articles have been covered in USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Nature, The Washington Times, Physics.org, Science and Theology News, Newsweek, The Washington Post, CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Chicago Public Radio, Houston Public Radio, Xinhua News, and other national and international news media outlets. With a core interest in translating academic research to a broader public, she has written blogs and essays for The Scientist, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Social Science Research Council and Science and Religion Today.

Ecklund is currently working on a study of influences on science careers (with Anne Lincoln of Southern Methodist University) and cross-national approaches to science ethics (with Baker Institute fellows Kirstin Matthews and Steven Lewis). She has recently completed a study of how scientists at top universities understand religion, spirituality and ethics. The resulting book, Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think (Oxford University Press, May 2010), on the religious and faith lives (or lack thereof) of university scientists, challenges misconceptions about the religion and science debates. Ecklund received her bachelor’s degree in human development, as well as her master’s and doctorate degrees in sociology, from Cornell University.