It’s 1977. It is a warm summer evening in Muskoka, Ont., and four-year-old Katharine Hayhoe lies on a blanket under a star-studded sky next to her
dad Doug. He points out the Andromeda
galaxy as she looks through binoculars.
Hayhoe’s been scanning the sky ever
In one grainy early photo, she wears a
birthday hat and a mischievous grin – behind her a huge telescope on a tripod. As
an undergrad at the University of Toronto
studying physics and astronomy, Hayhoe
could usually be found in the observatory
on the top floor of the McLennan building.
Today at 41, the world-renowned
atmospheric scientist is still scanning the
sky – and the earth – to determine scientific bases for assessing climate change
impact on humans and the environment.
She has authored more than a hundred
papers on climate change, sits on boards
and government organizations too numerous to list, and last April was named to
Time magazine’s list of the hundred most
influential people in the world.
She is also an Evangelical – raised in an
evangelical family and married to a pastor
and professor. Hayhoe credits her science
educator father – first a teacher, then sci-
ence co-ordinator for the Toronto District
School Board, and now a professor at
Tyndale – for the fact she has never experi-
enced a conflict between faith and science.
“My father just loved to understand
things, whether it was a verse in the
Bible or a wildflower in the woods,”
Hayhoe recalls. “He regarded both as an
expression of God and taught us that we
can learn about God through the Bible,
and equally through nature and creation
and the world around us.”
Not surprisingly, Hayhoe’s career path
has been overwhelmingly academic. After
undergrad, she completed a master’s –
and later her PhD – in atmospheric sci-
ence at the University of Illinois Urbana-
Champaign. That’s also where she met her
husband Andrew Farley, who was doing
his PhD in applied linguistics.
The couple now lives in Lubbock,
Texas, and teaches at Texas Tech University. Arriving there was a story in itself.
While Farley was on sabbatical from his
teaching position at the University of
Notre Dame in Chicago, and writing a
textbook, a friend from Lubbock called to
see if he could fill in as pastor for a local
church searching for a full-time minister.
The temporary move turned into a perma-
nent job. “He wasn’t even a candidate,”
Hayhoe says. “But they’d fallen in love
with him, and he with them.”
She, however, wasn’t so keen on the move
until Farley suggested they only consider it
if both could secure positions at Texas Tech.
“That was a pretty big fleece to lay out,”
Hayhoe says, laughing. “It’s very rare for
academic couples to find work together.”
But the job offers did come – research
professor position for her in the Geosciences department and professor in
linguistics for him – so they moved south.
Within a few months of arriving, Hay-
One of the most prominent experts on climate change
in North America is Canadian – and an Evangelical