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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 107 - December 2014

The seminar on Tuesday 11th November was given by Dr Andrew Davison, Starbridge Lecturer in Theology and Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, on “Recalling Causes: Formal and material causation in science and theology”. The final seminar of the term on 25th November was given by Prof Doug Lauffenburger, Ford Professor of Bioengineering and Head of the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on “Cancer and cures, medicine and miracles.” Seminars will restart in the New Year on 20th January, when Dr Mark Harris of Edinburgh University will speak on “‘The trees of the field shall clap their hands’ (Isaiah 55:12): What does it mean to say that creation praises the Creator?” As usual this will take place in the Garden Room, St Edmund’s College, 13.00-14.00, preceded by a free buffet lunch from 12.30.

The annual Faraday reception for scientists who self-identify as Christians took place at the Guildhall on Monday 10th November. The speaker was Dr Harvey McMahon FRS from the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology, who spoke on “Integrating the purpose of science with the nature of faith.” The reception was attended by around 120 scientists. Harvey’s talk provoked lively discussion in the smaller discipline-based groups that took place afterwards. Jon Tuckwell also spoke briefly about the on-going Parks at One series of talks ( and the Addenbrookes at One new series of talks that will start in the New Year.

In November, Dr Rodney Holder, Dr Ernest Lucas and Dr Hilary Marlow travelled to Madrid to take part in a course organised by the Centro de Ciencia y Fe in partnership with The Faraday Institute. Entitled Teología y Ciencia de la Creación (Creation theology and science) the course attracted  over 50 delegates and was the largest gathering of its kind on this subject that the organisers could remember. A range of lectures on the themes of cosmology, creation in the Bible and care for creation provided a stimulating basis for questions and discussion.

Future events: It is not too late to book for the next Faraday Course ‘Science and Religion in the Local Church’, which will take place 7th-9th January 2015 at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge. This course is aimed at those in any form of church leadership (lay or ordained) as well as theological students. Closing date for applications 7th Dec 2015. For more details see: 

On our website you will also find details and booking information for the following courses in 2015:
‘Exploring Science and Religion’ - a one-day course in Hereford on 28th February 2015.
‘Science and Religion: The Big Questions’ – a weekend course in Cambridge on 20th-22nd March 2015
and our annual Summer Course, ‘Science or Religion: Do We Have to Choose?’
Other courses will be added to the website as details become available – so do visit it regularly.

The Faraday Institute is co-sponsoring a conference in Australia on “Rediscovering the spiritual in God’s creation.” This will take place 10-13 March 2015 and the director Bob White will be one of the key speakers. For more details see:

On 11th and 13th November, Dr Diana Beech joined the European Commission’s ‘Euraxess’ delegation to ASEAN, to speak at twin conferences in Singapore and Bangkok about harnessing the common ground and shared values and interests that are important for research collaborations to work between the two regions.

In November Dr Rodney Holder led a workshop on ‘Science and faith communication: reading and reviewing’ at the Christians in Science Day Conference in Oxford. He was interviewed by Premier Christian Radio on widespread belief in aliens and ghosts ( - run through to 45 minutes for Rodney Holder response) and, in Madrid by Protestante Digital, the on-line magazine of the Spanish Evangelical Alliance, with a wide readership in Latin America as well as Spain (see

He also contributed a guest blog ‘Two ways to Truth’ to ‘Science and Belief’ ( ).

This past month Emeritus Director Denis Alexander gave the annual Robert Herrmann Lectures at Gordon College (near Boston, USA under the overall title 'Is Life Going Anywhere? Creation-Biology, Randomness and Purpose'. A total of 633 people attended the three lectures, with many discussions held with the 53 students and faculty who attended the formal dinners, plus many others in more informal contexts. Each evening a different respondent addressed the contents of the lecture before an extended time for Q&A. Dr Alexander also spoke on creation and biology to around 600 students at the weekly Gordon College Convocation [see].

LASAR: On 12th November, over 300 ten-year old children and teachers from 11 schools came to the University of Reading for a jam-packed day of activities, experiments and talks exploring the big questions that bridge science and religion. Children participated in creative workshops, interactive performances, philosophical discussions and laboratory experiments with the help of leading scholars from biology, geology, theology, philosophy and more. Evolution was a particular focus as it has recently been added to the primary curriculum and will be statutory for schools next year. For more information and to arrange to attend one of our events please contact 

Upcoming LASAR events:
Primary: 11th March 2015
Secondary: 24th June 2015
Teacher CPD: ongoing (please enquire)

As we develop our different media of outreach the new “Faraday Institute Book Club” began in November offering reflections from the authors as well as further discussions with readers." Rodney Holder was interviewed about his advent book" Longing, Waiting, Believing: reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. " To listen to the interview go to John Polkinghorne will also reflect on various books as the series progresses.

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 most recently available are:
Are people born to believe? by Justin Barrett: 
Are we (just) animals? by Raymond Tallis: 
Cancer and cures, medicine and miracles by Douglas Lauffenburger:

Planning for ‘Talks at One is still ongoing for a New Year start at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital / Cambridge Biomedical Campus. A six week series of lunchtime talks on various topics on faith and science.

With Advent upon us this would be a good time to get hold of Rodney Holder’s latest book Longing, Waiting, Believing: Reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (BRF) which is available from the Faraday on-line shop, as is the second revised and expanded edition of Denis Alexander’s best-selling book Creation or Evolution – Do We Have to Choose? [Oxford: Monarch]. The Faraday on-line shop is selling theses at the discounted prices of £6.50 (RRP £7.99) and £9 (RRP £12.99) (go to the on-line bookshop at

On 14th November 2014, The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion had the privilege to participate in St.Benedict’s Catholic school “Religion is Everywhere” week providing talks on science, religion ethics and sustainability. Year 11-13 students heard and interacted with talks ranging from the interaction of science and religion, sustainability and creation care, economics and the environment and the ethics of stem-cell research.  The outreach team consisted of Eleanor Puttock, Colin Bell and Lizzie Coyle.

The final, but most important item, of news is that Polly Stanton the Faraday administrator has decided to retire at the end of 2014. She has been with the Faraday since it began in 2006 and will be greatly missed. Polly has been critical to the success of the Faraday and will be difficult to replace. We are in the process of appointing a successor to Polly, and hope to announce who that will be in the next newsletter. Therefore, we would like take this opportunity to express our thanks to Polly for all her hard work and commitment to The Faraday Institute since it began, and to wish her a long and happy retirement. We are sure that many reading this newsletter who will have had contact with Polly over the years will join us expressing these thanks and best wishes.

Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]