Wesley J. Wildman
Founding Director, Executive Director, Chair of the Board
Philosopher of Religion Wesley Wildman has worked on many aspects of science and religion. He is particularly interested in what light can be shed on religious behaviors, beliefs, and experiences from the biological and human sciences. Director of Boston University’s innovative humanities-science doctoral program in Religion and Science, he is deeply committed to multidisciplinary research and training.
Dr. Wildman guides numerous CMAC projects, notably Modeling Religion, Modeling Religion in Norway, Extremist Violence, Visualizing the Deep Past, Immigration, viaSTEM, Tools Against Child Trafficking, Sex Differences, Spectrums and Field Mapping.
More information about Wesley is available here.
President of the Board
Catherine Caldwell-Harris, Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University, has conducted research in several areas within the cognitive and behavioral sciences, including psycholinguistics, cross-cultural psychology, and individual differences. She notes that everyday observations, as well as research, suggest that causes of individual differences in religious belief are a complex outcome of genetic temperamental predispositions, family upbringing, societal values, and idiosyncratic life experiences. In one of Dr. Caldwell-Harris’ studies, atheists reported finding as much meaning in life as did religious persons, but they eschewed terms related to supernaturalism (like ‘spiritual’), and focused their moral concerns on the pragmatic here-and-now. Dr. Caldwell-Harris has also studied low religious belief in individuals with Asperger Syndrome. Dr. Caldwell-Harris is developing a new project to study religious doubt in Turkey, a country where she has long conducted research on topics including bilingualism and individualism-collectivism.
Dr. Caldwell-Harris was a Research Associate at CMAC for many years, working on the Unbelief Project, the Cognitive Styles and Religious Attitudes Project, the Spectrums Project, and most recently ASPECT Hub.
More information about Catherine is available here.
Dr. Diallo is a Research Assistant Professor at the Virginia Modeling Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) of the Old Dominion University. He received his M.S. in Modeling & Simulation (2006) and his Ph.D. in M&S (2010) from ODU. His research focuses on the theory of interoperability as it relates to Model-based Data Engineering and Web Services for M&S applications. Dr. Diallo has authored or co-authored over fifty publications including a number of awarded papers and articles in conferences, journals and book chapters. He participates in a number of Modeling and Simulation related organizations and conferences and is currently the co-chair of the Coalition Battle Management Language drafting group, an M&S IEEE standard development group.
Dr. Diallo was a Research Associate with CMAC for two years, lending his expertise to a number of projects, including Modeling Religion, Visualizing the Deep Past, Immigration, viaSTEM and ASPECT Hub.
More information about Saikou is available here.
Bernd Dürrwächter is principal at AnalyticDimensions.com, a consultancy for big data analytics & data science projects. He studied computer science at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences from 1988-1992. Bernd is a seasoned practitioner in software engineering, IT architectures, business intelligence & data analytics solutions. In that capacity, he has done project work in education research, supply chain management, healthcare, internet services, and media.
Bernd was a Research Associate for CMAC in 2017, contributing valuable insights to the Tools Against Child Trafficking Project.
More information about Bernd is available here.
Neha Gondal is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and a fellow at the Hariri Institute of Computing and Computation Science at Boston University. She studies culture and stratification through the lens of social networks. Particularly, she conceptualizes networks as composed of ’cultural heuristics’ – elements of culture such as cognition, identity, and habits, practices, and meanings that act as bases for tie-generation in a given relational context. These mechanisms for tie-creation often reflect or contribute to maintaining symbolic and material differences and inequalities. Accordingly, much of her work is concerned with investigating the heterogenous and often conflicting cultural and structural heuristics that come together to compose social networks. She regularly utilizes several variants of Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGM) – a cutting edge technique for the statistical modeling of networks that helps to identify the structures and mechanisms that concatenate to generate social networks. Her work has been published at various outlets including Social Networks, Social Forces, Poetics, and Sociological Forum.
Neha was a Senior Research Associate with CMAC from 2018-2021 and has been a part of several projects, including Modeling Equity and The Artificial University.
More information about Neha is available here.
Neuroscientist Patrick McNamara has worked for some years on Parkinson’s Disease and conducted research on sleep and dreams. He is involved in a number of research projects having to do with the scientific study of religion. His landmark three-volume collection of essays on the scientific study of religion is well known: Where God and Science Meet.
His projects with CMAC include VR for Nightmare Disorder, Religious Language, and Neuroscience and Religious Cognition in Parkinson’s Disease.
More information about Patrick is available here.