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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 146 - May 2018



May 2018 Newsletter No. 146


It has been a great start to the summer months with a fantastic dual delivery seminar by our own Dr Hilary Marlow and Dr Caroline Tee on "Science and Miracles: Perspectives from Christianity and Islam" and a well attended termly lecture by Prof. Sir Colin Humphreys on "Science and the Reliability of the Bible". Recordings are in the process of editing but will be available soon on our website. Looking forward there is a still time left to apply for our Summer Course, catch our final seminar of the term or see our School Outreach Team out on the road. 


Summer Course: Science, Faith and Human Flourishing
1-6 July 2018
Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge

This year's summer course
"Science, Faith and Human Flourishing" addresses a number of big questions that have enormous impact on how we understand the world around us and how we learn to flourish in a changing environment. What is the nature of the physical universe? How do human beings grow spiritually and morally, even in extreme circumstances? What is the nature of religious experience? How does the impact of robotics and AI technologies affect our understanding of what it means to be human? How do religious scientists relate their scientific understanding to their scriptures and traditions? What does it mean to talk of purpose in biology and how is this relevant to ordinary believers? In this five-day course, we will explore the relationship between science and religion from a variety of perspectives – scientific, historical, theological and philosophical. A team of world-renowned speakers from a range of disciplines will contribute to the dialogue from their own experience and expertise in the keynote lectures. Additional workshops on a range of topics will enable us to explore specific scientific topics in more depth. There will be the opportunity to explore Cambridge's scientific heritage through a number of guided tours.

book before 31 May. 



Hong Kong and Singapore Faraday events

The past month saw two Faraday events take place in South East Asia:
The first was a collaboration between The Faraday Institute and the Faith and Science Collaborative Research Forum based at Hong Kong University. Three Cambridge speakers visited Hong Kong for this occasion: Prof. Russell Cowburn FRS, Professor of Nanotechnology; Prof. Simon Conway Morris FRS, Professor of Palaeobiology; and Dr Denis Alexander, Emeritus Director of The Faraday Institute. Profs. Cowburn and Conway Morris gave two well-attended public lectures at Hong Kong University, and this was followed by a residential Course in a suburb of Hong Kong attended by 30+ delegates where there was a mix of local speakers and the Cambridge visitors.
The second event on the day after the Hong Kong Course finished was a Workshop in Singapore, attended by around 60 delegates, entitled ‘A Critical Assessment of Determinism in Physics and Biology’ jointly organised by the University Scholars Programme and the Dept. of Physiology of the Yong Loo Lin Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. All three Cambridge speakers gave lectures at the 6-hour Workshop, which included a panel discussion to which three NUS philosophers also contributed. 
There were good discussions and a warm response at both events and plans are already being mooted for further such events in both cities


Research Seminar Series 

After two great seminars already this term's series we have one more to come.

29 May
Faith and Neuroscience: Friend or Foe?
Revd Prof. Alasdair Coles
(University of Cambridge)

Our seminars are held at 13:00 on alternate Tuesdays during full term in 
St Edmund’s College. A free sandwich lunch and drinks are served from 12:30 onwards. All are welcome.



30 May 2018

Interactive Activities for all the family
Childrens’ Science Lecture

We are delighted that our  School Outreach Team will be at the Pop-Up Science Festival  at Ely Cathedral  


Faraday Bursaries

Wish to attend a Faraday course but need some assistance? Click here to see if you qualify for a bursary. 


Can't make our events in person, don't worry, all of our seminars, talks, lectures and public festivals are available on the Multimedia part of our website. We have over 600 talks for you to watch or listen to at your convenience. 









Remembering Professor R.J. (Sam) Berry


Friends of Faraday will be sorry to hear that Professor R.J. (Sam) Berry died on 29th March. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Caroline and their family at this sad time.

Sam had a long association with The Faraday Institute from our beginnings in 2006 and he was a keen supporter of our activities. He was a speaker on our first Summer Course in 2006 and was a member of our Advisory Board.

Sam was born in 1934 and was educated at Shrewsbury School and Caius College, Cambridge. He gained his PhD from University College London in 1976, and from 1978 until his retirement in 2000, served as Lecturer, Reader and Professor in Genetics at UCL. 

Sam was an eminent population geneticist, often studying island populations of mice. He had been President of the Linnaean Society, editing its journal for many years, the British Ecological Society, the European Ecological Federation and the Mammal Society. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.Alongside his scientific career he was a strong advocate for the role of the Christian faith in science and was a prolific writer on science and faith, from the perspective of a practising biologist, authoring or editing books that include Adam and the Ape: A Christian Approach to the Theory of Evolution (1975) Real Science, Real Faith (Editor, 1991) God and the Biologist;(Ed, 1996); God's Book of Works; The Nature and Theology of Nature (2003). He gave the 1997-1998 Glasgow Gifford lectures on Gods, Genes, Greens and Everything. He was also Chairman of Christians in Science (1967-1988) and was its President (1993-1995).His contributions to science and faith were recognised in the1996 Templeton UK Award for his “sustained advocacy of the Christian faith in the world of science”.

Since his 'retirement' in 2000 Sam devoted a lot of his time and energy to the Christian environmental movement in the UK.  He wrote or edited many books on Christianity and the environment including his “The Care of Creation” and his last work  “Environmental Attitudes through Time” was published at the end of April 2018.

Alongside his busy scientific and writing activities Sam will be missed as a friend and wise supporter. In many ways, Sam was a larger than life, with his smile and generous advice. He will be greatly missed, though we know that he has 'gone to a better place'

Reflection by Prof.Keith Fox 

A selection of other reflections may be found below: 


The Times (family) obituary may be found at:


Dr Ruth Bancewiscz “ “The Myth of the Holy Hierarchy” published in Christianity Today


Sam Berry was the second editor of the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (1978-1990). As a tribute, they have produced a virtual issue of his contributions to the Journal:


A Rocha obituary:


Church of England Newspaper obituary (behind a paywall):


The Church Times obituary:



Faraday "Out & About" - What have we been up to? 


The Faraday Institute/CiS Termly public lecture took place on Wednesday 16 May at the McCrum Lecture theatre just after a fire incident on King's Parade. Undeterred, a really good-sized and very mixed audience listened to Prof. Sir Colin Humphreys FRS, distinguished and long-standing friend and supporter of the Institute, speak on "Science and the Reliability of the Bible". Prof. Humphreys analysed three Scriptural passages often considered unhistorical by scholars, namely those dealing with Joseph and the seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, Joshua’s ‘long day’, and the star of Bethlehem. In each case he carefully demonstrated how such events could have arisen scientifically and the Bible be taken as historically reliable after all, pointing out that the character of a miracle was often seen in the timing rather than in any breach of natural law.

Ruth Bancewicz
25 April spoke at the APCM for
The Benefice of Orwell 
9 May spoke at the Inverness Science Festival, hosted by the University of Highlands and Islands and one of their partner colleges, the Highland Theological College. 




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