Scientific Christianity and the strength to go the distance

Last fall Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) hired its first black female professor in applied mathematics— ... Dr. Iris Mack. When you talk with her about this achievement, she says she owes a great deal to her parents' support—particularly to her mother's example of courage and commitment. At one point her mother had to raise ten children on her own. Dr. Mack also talks about God, about prayer, and about spiritual rebirth. For her these are not in conflict with her work in the sciences. They are absolutely essential because they give the spiritual strength to persevere and progress.

"One time when I was a sophomore in college in a physics course, the professor made a statement I didn't understand. When I questioned him, he said, 'You mean you don't understand that?' as if I were stupid. I just wanted to drop under the seat. He had always made me feel like I didn't belong there because I was a woman and a black and shouldn't study physics. I didn't like it—but I didn't stop. Over the years we grew to respect each other. There are a lot of times when you do feel justified in feeling sorry for yourself; you feel like the task is so insurmountable, but once you take the first step, take a bit at a time, and know that 'God is working in me'—things get done."

Second Thought
August 31, 1987

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