Chet Raymo: The Path

by Nynke Passi


Chet Raymo (born September 17, 1936 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) is a noted writer, educator and naturalist. He is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Stonehill College, in Easton, Massachusetts. His weekly newspaper column Science Musings appeared in the Boston Globe for twenty years. This is now a daily blog by him. Raymo espouses his Religious Naturalism in When God is Gone Everything is Holy – The Making of a Religious Naturalist and frequently in his blog. As Raymo says – I attend to this infinitely mysterious world with reverence, awe, thanksgiving, praise. All religious qualities. [1] Raymo has been a contributor to The Notre Dame Magazine [2] and Scientific American.[3]

His most famous book was the novel entitled The Dork of Cork, and was made into the feature length film Frankie Starlight. Raymo is also the author of Walking Zero, a scientific and historical account of his wanderings along the Prime Meridian in Great Britain. Raymo was the recipient of the 1998 Lannan Literary Award for his Nonfiction work.

Raymo espouses a scientific skepticium for his beliefs:

“For the Religious Naturalist, darkness and silence are not the paradox, they are the resolution. The apophatic tradition ends in effective negation (God is not this, God is not that, God is not). Not only do we fall silent in the face of the Word, the Word itself dissolves into silence. We too walk a fine line; not between skepticism and faith, but between skepticism and cynicism. We try to stay firmly on the side of skepticism, open to whatever winds of wisdom blow our way, and as for knowledge of the world, we cherish the scientific way of knowing -– tentative, partial, evolving”. [4]


  1. ^ “Stonehill College”. Retrieved 3/21/2011.
  2. ^ “to The Notre Dame Magazine”. Retrieved 3/18/2011.
  3. ^ “Scientific American”. Retrieved 3/2/2010.
  4. ^ Chet Raymo’s blog 1/22/2013]

Major Works:

External Links:

From Wikipedia:



Research and the Memoir by Fenton Johnson, remarks delivered at the Associated Writing Programs 2012 Conference, Chicago, Illinois, March 3d: Fenton Johnson, Research and Memoir

From that talk:

“[I require that students’ first project be primarily or significantly research-based.] I feel it of utmost importance to give [my students] the tools to look outward – to situate themselves on a continuum of human history, in which it’s possible to balance respect for tradition with the need for growth and change.  I know that the inquiring mind looking outward will or ought to be drawn inward, only now with the perspective and the tools with which to undertake that more dangerous interior journey.”

“Memory, Fact, Imagination, Research: Memoir’s Hybrid Personality” from Solstice Magazine: Memoir’s Hybrid Personality, Solstice Mag.

The best that a would-be nonfiction writer can do is to use imperfect language to invoke imperfectly remembered events based on imperfect perceptions. –David James Duncan

{A} memoir is not about what happened, but why you remembered it the way you did. That’s where the story is. That’s what we talk about. –Kim Barnes

And more on Research and Memoir, Write Your Memoir in Six Months, about how research can also get in your way: Research and Memoir