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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 94 - November 2013


1 Faraday Annual Reception Monday 4th November
2 European Workshop
3 Faraday Public Lecture
4 Bob White to speak at conference
5 Faraday day course in Southampton
6 Faraday Seminars
7 Festival of Ideas report
8 Staff speaking engagements
9 Staff speaking engagements
10 Staff speaking engagements
11 New book by Rodney Holder
12 LASAR News
13 New Faraday staff member
14 Sir John Houghton news
15 Smartphone app
16 UAB essay competititon

1. The Faraday Institute will hold its second annual reception for scientists in the Cambridge area who self-identify as Christians, on Monday 4th November at 6pm in The Cambridge Guildhall (see Following on from the success of the inaugural event last year, we hope to attract even more Christians in the local scientific community to this ideal opportunity to meet others and to discuss relevant issues. This year’s speaker will be Professor Andrew Wyllie FRS, previously Head of the Department of Pathology at Cambridge. For more information contact the Faraday Administrator at The reason that this particular reception is only for Christians is simply that we could not cope with the numbers if we opened the reception to those of all faiths. Please note that all our other events are open to those of any faith or none. This is the only Faraday event that is restricted to those of one particular faith.

2. On November 5th, Prof John Wood and Dr Diana Beech will be hosting a one-day workshop entitled ‘The Values of Science: Towards a new Charter for European Research’, which will be generously hosted by the Norwegian Mission to the EU in Brussels. The workshop is part of a wider Faraday research project exploring the role of spiritual values in EU science policy and will bring together a select group of leaders in the European research and innovation community, including Anne Glover, Chief Scientific Advisor to President Barroso, industry leaders, heads of universities, and members of the European Parliament.
3. On November 21st at 5.30pm Prof. Stephen Freeland (University of Maryland) will be giving the termly Faraday – Christians in Science Lecture at Emmanuel College on ‘Will Life on Other Planets Share Our Genetic Code?’. Entry free, with a reception afterwards.

4. Faraday Director Prof Bob White will be speaking at the Baptist Missionary Society Conference ‘Catalyst Alive’ in Reading on 28th November: tickets are close to selling out, so book soon if you want to go.

5. A one-day course entitled ‘Science and Faith: An introduction” will take place Saturday 30th November in Southampton. This is being jointly organised with the local Central South Christians in Science group. Further details of the course can be found at Please note that the closing date for applications is 13th November.

6. The Faraday seminar series recommenced on 15th October with a very well attended talk entitled 'New approaches to the origin of life – scientific and theological' by Dr Christopher Southgate of Exeter University. This was followed on the 29th by Dr Daniel Weiss of Cambridge University speaking on 'The concept of the person in Judaism.' Both talks were followed by lively question and answer discussions. The next seminar will be on November 12th entitled 'Flesh made data: the post-human project in the light of the incarnation' by Prof Brent Waters, the Jerre and Mary Joy Professor of Christian Social Ethics, and Director of the Jerre L. and Mary Joy Stead Center for Ethics and Values at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Illinois. It will start at 1p.m. and take place in the Garden Seminar Room at St. Edmund’s College []. As usual, the seminar will be preceded by a free buffet lunch from 12.30 p.m.

7. As part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas the Faraday Institute organised a panel discussion on Friday 25th October on the topic “Boosting the brain: how far would you go.” The panel members were Prof. Barbara Sahakian, Prof. Raymond Tallis, Dr. Alasdair Coles, and Dr. Pete Moore, and the panel was chaired by the Emeritus Director, Dr Denis Alexander. More than 160 people packed into the venue at Emmanuel College and a lively and engaging discussion followed, mostly stimulated by questions from the floor. The event was videoed and will be posted at shortly.

8. This past month Denis Alexander spoke to the Christians in Science Group in Leeds, gave the E.T.S. Walton Lectures on ‘Genes, Determinism and God’ at Trinity College Dublin, and in Belfast, preached at Ballyclare Presbyterian Church, Antrim.

9. On October 26th Drs Denis Alexander and Rodney Holder spoke at the Faith & Thought symposium ‘The accidental universe? No source? No guide? No goal?” at Bloomsbury Baptist Church. Dr Holder spoke on ‘Can a Multiverse provide the Ultimate Explanation?’ and Dr Alexander spoke on ‘Order and Emergence in Biological Evolution’.

10. In October Dr Rodney Holder taught a week’s course on science and religion to Master’s degree students at the South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies, Bangalore, India. He was interviewed on Radio Norfolk prior to giving a talk entitled ‘God, the Multiverse, and Everything: Does Recent Cosmology Help or Hinder Christian Belief’ at Norwich Cathedral. He spoke at Ely Cathedral on ‘Cosmology, Fine-Tuning and God’.  He also spoke on ‘Where was God in the Big Bang?’ at St Paul’s Church, Cheam.

11. Dr Rodney Holder’s new book Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life? has been published by Lion Hudson. Copies are available from the Faraday Institute on-line shop: at £6 (RRP is £8.99).

12. The Principal Investigator of LASAR, Dr Berry Billingsley will be presenting a seminar on their recent research for the 'Uses and Abuses of Biology' programme - looking at teenagers' perceptions of what it means to be human in the light of their understandings of biology, biomedicine and humanoid robotics. This is a public seminar which will be held in the  Faculty of Education of the University of Cambridge on Monday 11th November 2013, refreshments 4pm. More details at <>.

13. We welcome Lizzie Coyle to the Faraday Institute as an intern for one year. She will be helping out with various projects, including looking after the Faraday newsfeed (until a replacement External Communications Officer is recruited).

14. Nobel prize winning climate scientist and former Faraday Advisory Board member Sir John Houghton FRS has been immortalised in a new art project installation at Rhyl, North Wales. Sir John was chosen to feature in sculpture form as a ‘hero of Rhyl’ because of his major contributions in bringing the importance of human-induced global climate change to public and political consciousness (see Worthy of note too is Sir John’s autobiography “In the eye of the storm” which has recently been published by Lion Hudson.

15. The Faraday Institute’s smartphone app for the Android platform app can be found in the Google Play store at:
The iPhone version of the app can be found in iTunes online at:

16. Finally, the Uses and Abuses of Biology programme 2013 essay competition was launched last month. The competition is for anyone aged 30 or younger, and encourages participants to engage with the use and abuse of biological thought in non-biological fields including philosophy, politics, media, sociology and theology. The title of this year's essay is 'How is contemporary biology used for ideological purposes?' More details of the competition can be found at and the competition closes on 30th November 2013.

Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]