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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 109 - February 2015

Between 7th and 20th January we experienced some problems with the online course booking system on our website. IF YOU APPLIED FOR A FARADAY COURSE DURING THIS PERIOD, please contact Rachel Simonson at, so we can make sure we have your details.

Over 30 people took part in the first short course of the year, over half of whom were ministerial students from the Cambridge Theological Federation. The course was entitled ‘Science and Religion in the Local Church’ and tackled some key issues on science and faith within the context of church congregations. Positive comments form delegates include:  ‘I’ve come away with a positive sense of how possible and really good it is to be a scientist and a Christian’ and ‘I’ve gained confidence in how to bring science and faith into ministry’.

The first event of the new term was a free public lecture by Prof Glynn Harrison of Bristol University, entitled “Identity, self esteem and the Image of God.” This took place in the Queen’s Lecture Theatre, Emmanuel College on 13th January. In a new venture for Faraday this was preceded by a school’s lecture in the same venue by Prof Harrison entitled “The selfie: how self esteem ideology took over our world.” Students from a number of schools attended, filling the lecture theatre, and leading to a very lively interactive session. The lecture is available to view at

The first seminar of the new term took place on 20th January, when Dr Mark Harris of Edinburgh University spoke on “‘The trees of the field shall clap their hands’ (Isaiah 55:12): What does it mean to say that creation praises the Creator?” The seminar was well attended and followed by the usual question and answer session. The next seminar will be on 3rd February, when Prof Andrew Steane of Oxford University will speak on “Faithful to science: the role of science in religion.” 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.

Schools Work
This month has seen the official launch of our new schools outreach program with the first of our lectures, visits, collaborations and other exciting projects. Lizzie Coyle has been into several schools (all ages and sectors) with talks including “Fossils and Faith”, “Big Bang, Big God”. Amongst other things, in Cambridge and beyond, she has contributed to a project organized by LASAR (Learning About Science and Religion), a CPD workshop for primary teachers on the topic of evolution, and workshops at a Year 11 Reflection Day on science and religion. For more information please contact:

Coming up in 2015:
On 19th February 2015 Faraday visiting scholar, Dr Rana Dajani from Hashemite University, Jordan will give a special lecture entitled ‘Islam and Evolution: Is there a Controversy’. 5pm in the Garden Room, St Edmund’s College, Cambridge.
‘God in the Lab’, the first of three book launch events for Dr Bancewicz’s new book, will be held at 7-9pm on Sat 21st February in City Church, Cambridge, off Newmarket Road. The speakers are Ruth Bancewicz and Dr Harvey McMahon of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, and the Faraday Advisory Board. Free entry, science demonstrations and refreshments provided. Future dates: Friday 17th April, St Andrew’s Church, Oxford, and Wednesday 22nd April, Sheffield. Further details and other events on

 ‘Exploring Science and Religion’ - a one-day course in Hereford on 28th February 2015.  Is the universe designed? Did our genes make us do it?  When does life begin? Can we reconcile the Bible with science? This one-day course will explore a number of key questions in the dialogue between science, religion and ethics. For more details contact the local organizer, Don Langford

‘God in the Lab’ – a series of 7 evening classes at the London School of Theology on the theme of how science can enhance faith. Tuesday evenings from 3rd March onwards. Speakers include Dr Steve Motyer, Dr Ruth Bancewicz, Dr Harvey McMahon, Dr Jennifer Siggers and Dr Robert Sluka. Details from

‘Science and Religion: The Big Questions’ is a weekend course in Cambridge on 20th-22nd March 2015 for busy people who want an introduction to the big questions in science and religion from top speakers. Philosophers, scientists, historians and theologians will tackle a wide range of topics such as the conflict myth, rationality and knowledge, the nature of matter, God’s action in the world, genetics and determinism, ethical challenges in science.  There will be plenty of opportunity for group discussion and informal conversation with the speakers over the course of the weekend.

Finally don’t forget our annual Summer Course, ‘Science or Religion: Do We Have to Choose?’ The following key topics will be covered in the course:  historical and philosophical perspectives on science and religion; the relationship between religious belief and different scientific disciplines, including physics, evolutionary biology and neuroscience; and some of the ethical issues raised by science.  Lectures will be delivered by a team of international speakers including Prof Alister McGrath, Prof Simon Conway Morris, Dr Barbara Drossel, Dr Erin Joakim, Prof Peter Clarke, Revd Dr Ernest Lucas, Dr Jamie Aten, and Dr Michael Burdett. In addition there will be plenty of opportunity for questions and group discussion as well as informal interaction with speakers. Delegates will also have the opportunity to visit some sites associated with Cambridge’s scientific heritage.
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:

In January the Revd Dr Rodney Holder gave a keynote address on ‘Cosmology, Fine-Tuning and God’ at the conference ‘Explaining and Explaining Away in Science and Religion’ held in Belfast under the auspices of Ulster University. He preached in the school chapel on ‘Science and Religion – Friends or Foes?’ and lectured on ‘God, the Multiverse, and Everything’ at Christ’s Hospital; and he spoke on ‘Big Bang, Big God’ at a ‘God and the Big Bang’ event at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s School in Southwark.

On 13th January Dr Diana Beech was invited to Brussels participate as an Expert to a European Commission working group exploring the values of openness and transparency in the research career. In a similar vein, Dr Beech also published a commentary piece this month in the University World News on the importance of values to the successful functioning of universities. The article is available here:

On 14th January Hilary Marlow spoke on ‘What has religion to do with the environment’ at Parks at One, a group of people working on the Cambridge Science Park who meet monthly to discuss issues of faith and life. On 15th January Hilary Marlow gave the plenary lecture on ‘Should we be worried about Climate Change’ at a God and the Big Bang event at St Bede’s School, Redhill.

On 21st January Ruth Bancewicz and Colin Bell spoke to a group of students from Bethel University who visited the Faraday Institute for a morning of lectures as part of their scientific tour of Europe.

On 28th January Meric Srokosz spoke at Bournemouth University Chaplaincy on “Oceans, Climate Change and Christianity: God’s story and the Earth’s story.”

Dr Ruth Bancewicz’s new book God in the Lab: How science enhances faith was published in December by Monarch is available from for £6 (RRP £8.99).

Note that videos of Faraday courses, lectures and seminars are available from and on iTunes U, as well as on the Faraday web site In addition, listen to Faraday interviews with John Polkinghorne and others on Sound Cloud (

Faraday staff news:
The current Templeton World Charity Foundation grant held by Faraday came to an end on 31st January 2015, and the new one “The science of human flourishing” will follow on. As a result a number of research staff are leaving the Faraday: research associates Diana Beech, Clare Redfern, and Nell Whiteway. We are grateful for all their work and contributions during their time at the Faraday and.wish them well for the future. Also leaving us at the end of January is the Associate Director Meric Srokosz, who has been with us since 2012. Meric has been responsible for overseeing all the staff and activities of the Institute and will be much missed. He goes with our good wishes and gratitude for his hard work and commitment. We have started to appoint research associates to work on the new grant and will be seeking to appoint a new Associate Director in due course.