A Course in Butterflies

A Novel

A Course in Butterflies - A Novel by Christine Mary McGinley

““There is only one ultimate belief upon which we can base our interior life – the belief that there is an absolute direction of growth to which our duty and our happiness demand that we conform; and that life advances in that direction, taking the most direct road.”
Teilhard de Chardin

What do butterflies have to do with astrophysics? Was the God of Einstein really God? What is humanity’s role in the evolving universe? All of these questions and more converge during one important year in Katherine’s life.

Katherine Ayers is an astrophysicist at the University of Michigan. She confronts life’s most daunting questions ̶ about the origins of the universe, the fate of the globe we inhabit, the laws that govern both. Her “Course in Butterflies” is part of a progressive, interdisciplinary program designed to engage undergraduates in a meaningful exploration of the learning process itself.

Together with her students, during the academic year concurrent with the turn of the millennium, she confronts the even more daunting questions about life here on Earth.

Subjects:
Butterflies, Science & Religion, Environment, Complexity Theory, Education, Relationships,
The role of young people in the fate of our world.

Major Characters:
Katherine Ayers, U-M Professor of Physics
Mary Claire Henley, U-M Professor of English Literature
Charles Lewis, U-M Professor of Physics & Director of U-M Center for the Study of Complexity
Michael Cavanaugh, Stanford Physicist and Director of “The Center” in San Francisco
Jonathan Delcourt, U-M President
Albert Finn, Chairman, Herbert B. Finn Memorial Foundation
David Maize, U-M Professor of Art
Debra Lewis, U-M Professor of Psychology

Settings:
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Sundance Utah, San Francisco

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