Born on 14 June 1851 in New Lexington, Ohio, John Augustine Zahm attended at times public, private, and parochial schools in his native state and in Indiana when his family moved westward. Entering the University of Notre Dame at the age of seventeen, he earned a BA in 1871 and became a novice in the Congregation of the Holy Cross that same year. For the next several years he taught science courses to undergraduates while studying at Notre Dame Seminary, receiving ordination in 1875. He was professor of chemistry and physics at Notre Dame from 1875 to 1892. For five years thereafter he lectured to large audiences in New York, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Belgium, and Switzerland. Solid grounding in such basics as sound transmission, optics, and electromagnetism lay underneath and, for many validated his more controversial ideas about science and religion.
From The Dictionary of Modern American Philosophers in Oxford Reference.