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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 97 - February 2014


1. Faraday course in January
2. Faraday public lecture
3. Faraday seminars
4. Cambridge Science Festival Event (1)
5. Cambridge Science Festival Event (2)
6. ‘Greening the Gods’ Conference
7. Faraday course in April
8. Faraday staff activities – Bob White
9. Faraday staff activities – Denis Alexander
10. Faraday staff activities – Diana Beech
11. On-line access to Faraday talks
12. Faraday publications
13. Smartphone app

1. The New Year began with a Faraday course aimed at those studying for, or engaged in, Christian ministry. On 13th-15th January 2014 we ran an introductory course on science and religion for students training for ordination in the Cambridge Theological Federation. This was one of a series of ‘intensives’ offered to all CTF students, and 25 of them took the opportunity to hear from leading speakers on a range of topics. They were joined by 7 other delegates, including individuals from Germany, India, South Africa and the USA. A number of the speakers are also ordained priests and were able to relate the issues covered to parish life, which was much appreciated by those training for ministry.

2. The termly Faraday Public Lecture entitled ‘Does the Universe Need God?’ was given by Hans Halvorson, Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University, on Wednesday 29th January in the Queen's Lecture Theatre, Emmanuel College to an attentive audience of around 140 people. The lecture stimulated a lively question and answer session.

3. Faraday seminars recommenced on Tuesday 21st January when the speaker was Prof. Susan Kimber of the University of Manchester, who spoke on the topic ‘Stem cells and healing: reflection on the ethics of using human embryonic stem cells.’ This was followed by a lively discussion. The next Faraday seminar will be on Tuesday 4th February when the Revd Dr Joanna Collicutt will speak on ‘"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine": humour, religion and wellbeing.’ As usual the seminar will be held in the Garden Room at St Edmund’s College at 1p.m., preceded by a by a free buffet lunch from 12.30 p.m. This will be followed on Tuesday 18th February by Dr Richard Hain’s seminar, ‘Infanticide on demand: why should the baby live? Medical ethics for children’. Dr Hain is a consultant and lead clinician in paediatric palliative medicine.

4. In similar vein, the Cambridge Science Festival includes a talk by Prof. John Wyatt entitled ‘Matters of Life and Death’. This will take place from 2.30pm to 4pm in the Queen’s Lecture theatre at Emmanuel College on Saturday 15th March. Prof. Wyatt is Professor Emeritus of Ethics and Perinatology at UCL. See: (

5. At the end of the Festival, on Sunday 23rd March, Ruth Bancewicz will give the sermon at the Festival Choral Evensong which will be held from 6.30pm – 7.30pm at Great St Mary's, the University Church.

6. Bookings are now open for a non-residential academic conference entitled ‘Greening the Gods: Ecology and Theology in the Ancient World’. This is a collaboration between The Faraday Institute and the Faculty of Classics and will take place at St Edmund’s College on 18th-19th March 2014. This interdisciplinary conference will explore pagan, Jewish and Christian ideas about the intersection of theology and ecology. How did these ancient thinkers understand their natural environment to stand in relation to the divine? And how did this understanding condition human interaction with the natural world? At the same time, the conference will consider what impact, if any, ancient thinking about the environment should have on our own ecological thinking. As such this conference aims, in a mutually reinforcing process, to shape both our knowledge of the ancient world and the work of those who are writing the theology, philosophy and ethics of the twenty-first century. For further details and booking form see

7. From 4th-6th April The Faraday Institute will be holding a short course, ‘Philosophy, science and faith’, at Christ’s College, Cambridge. This course will explore some of the perplexing philosophical questions that are raised by contemporary science and its relation to faith. Can there be such a thing as 'objective' science and is it morally neutral? Is suffering compatible with a moral deity? Are human beings free agents? What part does faith play in the scientific enterprise? Lectures will be delivered by world-renowned speakers including Prof. Keith Ward, Prof. Roger Trigg, Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker, Dr Lydia Jaeger, Prof. Tim O’Connor, Prof. Jeremy Butterfield.and there will be plenty of opportunity for discussion. For more details and to apply see

8. Prof. Bob White spoke at a discussion meeting in Bristol on ‘Fall, Theodicy and Evolution’, and to academics from St Ebbe’s church, Oxford.

9. Denis Alexander spoke on human evolution at a Catholic Workshop in London, and on the same topic to the nearly 700 delegates who attended the annual ‘Mere Anglicanism’ Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

10. From 25th-28th January, Dr Diana Beech attended the second Liberal Arts International Conference 2014, hosted by the Texas A&M University in Doha, Qatar, where she presented a paper on 'Globalisation and the values of European Science: A new ethical charter for European research'.

11. Note that videos of Faraday courses, lectures and seminars are available from and on iTunes U, as well as on the Faraday web site

12. The latest Faraday publications Living Lightly, Living Faithfully and Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life? are available from the Faraday on-line shop ( The former for £7 (hardcopy) or for free in an electronic version; the latter for £6 (RRP is £8.99). ‘Test of FAITH: Science and Religion Meet’, the secondary school teacher’s book and DVD, are still on sale for £7 at

13. 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:

Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]