Paul Giesting, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Sciences

Paul Giesting grew up on a small farm in southeast Indiana, from a large German Catholic family on his father’s side. As a boy and a youth he loved mathematics, reading, chemistry, and particularly minerals. He read and reread books about great mathematicians and theorems of history, old chemistry books, and the Lord of the Rings, among many others. As a teenager he was profoundly moved by reading the Divine Comedy and writing a research paper on the Summa Theologiae for his rural public high school. As a graduate student he studied mineral physics and the crystal structures of uranium compounds. He has worked as an environmental regulator and consultant, done research on carbon sequestration and the geology of Mars, and has taught physical science, first year geology, mineralogy, petrology, planetary science, and ore deposit geology.

Dr. Giesting has, arguably, too many interests, including the geochemistry of metals and halogens, thermodynamics and heat flow in solids, the geological history of Hawai’i, nuclear power and nuclear waste disposal, metaphysics as it relates to the entities of chemistry and geology, writing fantasy and historical fiction, and exploring issues at the intersection of Catholic spirituality and psychology. He has published papers on the thermal conductivity of garnet minerals and their significance for heat flow within the transition zone of the Earth’s mantle, the topology of crystal structures of oxidized uranium complexes with organic ligands, the swelling behavior of clays immersed in high pressure carbon dioxide, and the chemical history of igneous intrusions on Mars based on the composition of minerals found in Martian meteorites. With his cohost William Schmitt, he runs the podcast That’s So Second Millennium, which discusses issues at the boundary between faith and the sciences.

Paul has a brother, Robert, who lives with his wife Ally and three children Georgia, Caroline, and Henry near Louisville, Kentucky; he spends as much time as he can with them as well as other family and friends spread across the United States from New York to Hawai’i.