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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 13 - January 2007


The first Faraday Research Seminar of the new term was given by Dr Simon Mitton, a Fellow of St. Edmund’s College, who gave a masterful overview of the history of cosmology from the Greeks to the present day, highlighting the theological motivations and interests of the various astronomers surveyed. With more than 60 in attendance, we were greatly relieved to be in the College’s elegant new Garden Seminar Room, since our original venue would have been quite inadequate. Click on Seminars.php to access an audio MP3 version of Dr Mitton’s talk.

On 13th Feb, Wilson Poon, Professor of Condensed Matter Physics at the University of Edinburgh, will be giving our next Research Seminar under the title ‘Science and the Hiddenness of God’. Following that, the other Research Seminar this month will be given on 27th Feb by Barbara Drossel, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany, on the subject ‘Complexity, Emergence, and God’.

By common assent, Faraday Short Course No 4, ‘Introduction to Science and Religion’, held over the first week-end of January, was one of our best Courses yet, with a capacity group of delegates to listen to a fine line-up of speakers. Speakers included Prof. John Hedley Brooke, Prof. Alister McGrath, Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS and Prof. Colin Humphreys. We were pleased to welcome, as usual, a wide range of delegates from different countries, in particular a group of delegates from the Romanian Orthodox Church. Our Courses are open to those of any faith or none, and it was encouraging, as always, to provide a platform for agnostics, atheists and those from different faith traditions, to interact in friendly open discussion on a wide range of issues relating to science and religion.

No sooner is one Course finished than our thoughts turn to the next one. This time it is entitled ‘Science and Religion in Schools’ and will be held March 30 – April 1, with speakers including Vinoth Ramachandra (Sri Lanka), John Bryant (UK), John Pilbrow (Australia), Pete Moore (UK) and John Taylor (UK). This short weekend course is for busy teachers, whether in the sciences, philosophy or RE. It will give informed input by highly qualified experts on some of the latest thinking in the science-religion area, give information about resources available to teachers, as well as tackle some of the thorny issues arising in the classroom. There are a few places left – please apply now if you are interested in coming and let your teaching friends know of this wonderful opportunity. Full details can be seen by clicking on:


As mentioned in our last Newsletter, the next CiS-Faraday termly public lecture will be held on 6th March at 5.30 p.m. in the Howard Building, Downing College. This time the event will take the form of a debate between Sir Brian Heap FRS (Cambridge, formerly Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society) and Dr William Hurlbut (Stanford, advisor on bioethics to the US President). This promises to be a lively and informative debate. Not to be missed if you live anywhere near Cambridge.

Best wishes

Denis Alexander                                                        Bob White

            [Director, Faraday Institute]                         [Associate Director]