Dr. Michelle Francl

Dr. Michelle Francl

Adjunct Scholar

Vatican Observatory

Professor of Chemistry

Bryn Mawr College

Area of Research

Philosophy, Chemistry, Theology


Michelle M. Francl, Ph.D. is a Professor of Chemistry at Bryn Mawr College, where she has been on the faculty since 1986, and an Adjunct Scholar of the Vatican Observatory. She is a quantum chemist who has developed theoretical methods for computational chemistry and who is interested in the structures of molecules that behave in ways that chemists might not predict they do. She is interested in the philosophy and history of chemistry, and her essays on science, culture and policy appear regularly in Nature Chemistry. She was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society in 2009.

Michelle is also a theologian whose reflections on trying to live a contemplative life in the midst of the everyday chaos that comes with being a teacher, wife and mother can be found in a number of print and online venues. Her most recent book, a Lenten devotional, is Not By Bread Alone, and in a new audioseries “Seeking the Face of God: The Lives and Discoveries of Catholic Scientists”, she and Br. Guy Consolmagno, SJ muse on the intersection between Catholic faith and the practice of science. She gives the occasional retreat, and blogs on life, laundry, prayer and God at Quantum Theology.