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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 99 - April 2014

1. Faraday Seminars
2. Cambridge Science Festival event
3. Greening the Gods conference
4. Faraday April course
5. Edinburgh Day course
6. Faraday Summer course
7. Overseas courses
8. Edinburgh Science Festival event
9. Christian Resources Exhibition
10. Recent Faraday media output
11. to 15. Staff activities
16. Uses and Abuses of Biology
17. Faraday publications
18. Smartphone app

1. The final seminar of the term took place on Tuesday 4th March, when Prof Simon Dein, of University College London, spoke on ‘Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health: Current Controversies and Future Directions.’ In this well attended seminar Prof. Dein argued that it was quite appropriate for the religious beliefs of psychiatric patients to play an important role in their treatment regimes, given that such beliefs are central to their daily concerns and world-view.  The first seminar after Easter, on Tuesday 29th April, will be by Dr Ard Louis of Oxford University on ‘Contingency, Convergence and Hyper-astronomical Numbers in Biological Evolution.’

2. Prof. John Wyatt gave a well attended and well received lecture entitled ‘Matters of Life and Death’ at this year’s Cambridge Science Festival on Saturday 15th March. The diverse audience enjoyed interacting with Prof. Wyatt on a wide range of issues, though it was noticeable that end-of-life issues seemed to be of greater interest and concern to this audience than beginning-of-life issues. This was not at all due to the age profile of the audience, which was well-spread in that respect, but perhaps was triggered more by the continuing public concern and discussion on the question of euthanasia.

3. What happens when you bring together classicists, biblical scholars, theologians plus one or two ecologists for two days of presentations and discussion? This was what happened at the academic conference ‘Greening the Gods: Ecology and Theology in the Ancient World’, held in mid-March in conjunction with the Faculty of Classics. The answer is a lively and stimulating cross-discipline event that looked at ancient texts (both biblical and classical) and contemporary interpretations, including the all-important question of human responses to environmental issues. We are grateful to the Classics Faculty for helping to sponsor the conference and to Dr Ailsa Hunt (Isaac Newton Research Fellow in Classics at Fitzwilliam College) for getting this off the ground.

4. By the time this newsletter goes out, bookings will have closed for our weekend course ‘Philosophy, Science and Faith’ which takes place at Christ’s College Cambridge on 4th-6th April 2014. You can read more about this in the next newsletter and in due course listen to the lectures once they are uploaded to the website.

5. If you live in the North of England or Scotland, why not book in for our Edinburgh day course – Saturday 7th June at Central Hall Edinburgh, a partnership between Faraday and Christians in Science. In just one day we will cover a wide range of topics including Genesis and modern science, genetics and Christianity, the environment and issues in bioethics and technology. There will be opportunity to hear from scientists working in the lab about how their faith impacts their science and vice versa. Full details are on our website here

6. This year our annual Summer Course will once again take place on July 6th – 11th in the beautiful surroundings of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. The theme this year is ‘Science and Religion: Engaging in Constructive Dialogue’ and we have an exciting programme in which a wide variety of questions in science and religion will be tackled by world-renowned speakers – cosmologists, geneticists, philosophers, anthropologists, ethicists, to name just a few. This course is the high spot of our year and is widely appreciated by those who come on it. If you have been thinking about registering and never got around to it, now is your chance. See

7. Once again this year Faraday will be taking its programme of courses overseas and working with local partners to deliver events in Europe and Latin America. On May 9th-11th we will be working with the Newman Institute in Uppsala, Sweden to put on a course that is part of their academic programme on science and religion. As well as lectures and panel discussions open to the public we will be conducting in-depth seminars for their students. For more details see

8. Following its success at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, the panel discussion ‘Boosting the Brain: How far should we go?’ will be taken to The Edinburgh International Science Festival. Prof. Barbara Sahakian, Prof. Raymond Tallis, Dr. Alasdair Coles, and Dr. Pete Moore will meet again at Summer Hall, Edinburgh on 13th April. Tickets can be purchased at

9. The 30th Anniversary CRE (Christian Resources Exhibition) International at Sandown Park, from the 13th -16th May, will see The Faraday Institute hosting both a stand and also two seminar presentations; John Bryant: 'Issues at the Start of Life - How do we decide? and Colin Bell: Creation Care / Christian Ecology: economics and consumerism. Further details can be found at

10. Note that videos of Faraday courses, lectures and seminars are available from and on iTunes U, as well as on the Faraday web site The latest videos that have been posted are:
• Religion, Spirituality and Mental Health by Prof. Simon Dein
• Mind, Brain and the Search for God by Alasdair Coles

11. Prof Bob White ran a week-long course jointly with Prof John Bryant at Lee Abbey, with seminars and workshops on ‘Science meets Faith R10; and they get along just fine’. It was well attended by a lively and engaged group of 40 people. The next similar course will probably take place in September 2015.

12. Dr Rodney Holder spoke to an audience of more than 175 at a meeting organized by Christians in Science, Sheffield, on 'Big Bang, Big God: A Universe Designed for Life?' He also preached to a packed congregation in St Salvator's Chapel, University of St Andrews, on 'Science and Faith: Friends or Foes?'

13. Dr Denis Alexander spoke to the North London CiS group at Harrow on ‘Theological Challenges of Human Evolution’.

14. Dr Ruth Bancewicz gave a sermon on Beauty at the Great St Mary’s Festival Choral Evensong, part of the University of Cambridge Science Festival.

15. On 15th March Dr Diana Beech hosted a panel at the 21st International Conference of Europeanists in Washington DC. The panel was entitled “The European Research Area (ERA): Recurrence, Renaissance and Resurrection” and, as well as chairing the session, Dr Beech also presented a paper on “A Soul for European Science: How the ERA could benefit from the thinking of Jacques Delors”, which explored the possibility of belatedly implementing Delors’ ‘Soul for Europe’ initiative from 1994 into decision-making processes in the ERA today to reassert a focus back on the values that should be driving Europe’s scientific enterprise forwards for the future.

16. Uses and Abuses of Biology Programme: Our latest student competition is now live! We are pleased to offer up to ten bursaries for PhD students to attend the 2014 Uses and Abuses of Biology Workshop. The aim of the workshop is to share the key and exciting results from the UAB research programme, with a mix of original research presentations and high-profile external speakers. Application is by email - go to for more information, and to download the Workshop schedule, or email Nell Whiteway on

17. 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

18. 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]