Religion Among Academic Scientists (RAAS)

The "Religion Among Academic Scientists" study examines approaches to religion and spirituality among natural and social scientists at elite universities in the United States.

From 2005 to 2009, I interviewed 1,646 scientists at 21 research universities, and interviewed 275 of them in depth. Specifically, the study examined the narratives professional scientists use when two different institutional fields, the realm of science and the realm of religion, are placed beside one another. Some scientists see the two realms as completely distinct, while others seem them as overlapping, even if only within certain niches.

Different from the cold rationalists the public often imagines scientists to be, many scientists actively seek alternative sources of spirituality to further explore the purpose of their lives. Overall, the study demonstrates the surprising and varied religious beliefs of America's top scientists and the implications these have for public science.

Science Vs. Religion:
What Scientists Really Think.
New York: Oxford University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Kristen Schultz Lee, "Atheists and Agnostics Negotiate Religion and Family," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50(4): 728-743.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard, Jerry Z. Park, and Katherine L. Sorrell. "Scientists Negotiate Boundaries Between Religion and Science," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 50(3): 552-569.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Anne E. Lincoln, "Scientists Want More Children," PLoS ONE, 6(8): e22590.

Ecklund, Elaine Howard, and Elizabeth Long, "Scientists and Spirituality," Sociology of Religion, February 11, 2011 online edition (print forthcoming).


Ecklund, Elaine Howard, and Jerry Z. Park. "Predicting Conflict between Religion and Science among Academic Scientists," Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 48(2):276-292. (Executive brief)


Ecklund, Elaine Howard, Jerry Z. Park, and Phil Todd Veliz. "Secularization and Religious Change among Elite Scientists: A Cross-Cohort Comparison," Social Forces, 86(4): 1805-1840. (Executive brief)

Ecklund, Elaine Howard "Religion and Spirituality among Scientists" Contexts: Understanding People in their Social Worlds, 7(1):12-15.


Ecklund, Elaine Howard and Christopher Scheitle. "Religion among Academic Scientists: Distinctions, Disciplines, and Demographics," Social Problems, 54(2):289-307.