War and religion have often been intertwined throughout history. The Crusades, among other wars, were engaged over the very topic of differences in faith. So one may ask if religious fervor could be responsible for one day bringing about nuclear war.

Such questions will be answered at “Nukes & Faith: Discussing Religion’s Role in Nuclear Society and Energy” on Monday, Oct. 24. “Nukes & Faith,” an opinionated discussion between panelists, will take place at the Toyota Auditorium at the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy.

“Nukes & Faith” is the brainchild of Mark Walker, senior in nuclear engineering. Walker will be moderating the discussion.

“I really wanted to lead a seminar on something big,” Walker said. “I became the president of a student chapter of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, and we were brainstorming ideas for programming and it just seemed interesting, so we went for that.”

The panelists for the discussion are Dr. Howard Hall, UT Governor’s Chair professor of nuclear engineering; Dr. Brandon Prins, a UT associate professor of political science; Sherrell Greene, an independent nuclear engineering consultant; and Dr. Jeffrey Kovac, a UT professor of chemistry.

For the format of the discussion, the panelists will first be given a few tailored and prepared questions to get their various opinions. Afterward, Walker and co-moderator David Burman, senior in religious studies, will pose questions to different members of the panel and search for substantive material. Afterward, students can get involved.

“Probably about half of the time will be spent allowing students to ask questions and the columnists to comment on them,” Walker said.

“I’m really looking forward to see what kind of wacky questions people will have,” Burman said. “I was interested in the discussion because religion can have a lot to say about nuclear proliferation and the use or non-use of nuclear weapons. I’m looking forward to hearing about the variety of perspectives that the four panelists will have, whether they think that to what degree that they are personally motivated by their religious traditions or lack thereof, and to see how religion is meshed within the politics of nuclear disarmament or nuclear proliferation.”

Both nuclear politics and religion can be controversial topics, and a title such as “Nukes & Faith” is bound to draw plenty of viewers.

“Students can expect really different perspectives from scientific and faith-based viewpoints,” Walker said. “But also a lot of people have very different attitudes on how they apply their faith to matters such as this, so there will be a lot of divergent viewpoints even within religious discourse and of course in discourse between religions and science.”

“Come for a provocative and unique discussion offering views on nuclear weapons and energy through technical, political, Evangelical Christian, and Unitarian Universalist perspectives,” according to the event’s page on the UT website.

The sponsors of the free event are the Tyson House Episcopal & Lutheran Campus Ministry, the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, the UT Religious Studies Association and the Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy.