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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 18 - June 2007


Prof. Eric Priest FRS finished off this past term’s Faraday Research Seminar series for us with a wonderful flourish. One of the world’s experts on the properties of the sun, Prof. Priest illustrated his talk entitled ‘Science, Religion and Creativity: a Personal View’ with startling pictures of the sun’s surface in greater detail than ever seen before. You can find his talk on-line at by looking either in the Seminar or Multimedia folders – the videostream will follow in due course.

At last count we had 164 items in the Multimedia folder – lectures, seminars and discussions that can be listened to or watched on-line. Several have asked where the Bishop Tom Wright lecture is to be found – the lecture that was mentioned in our last newsletter. To find it go to the Multimedia Folder and you’ll find it as the last in the list in the ‘Science and the Bible’ section. It will soon appear in the Lecture folder as well, together with the lecture in HTML format.

By the end of this year we plan on increasing the lecture number in the Multimedia Folder to above 200, making it one of the main international resources for open-access to on-line lectures and seminars on science and religion. To increase exposure to these materials we are developing a Faraday site on YouTube with the help of a delegate who has now come on two of our Courses, and a series of 5 minute clips from various lectures will soon be posted there, hopefully whetting the appetite to watch the full lecture. 

The Faraday Papers are now being widely used and more are in preparation. The Papers are now available from the on-line Shop and can be bought cheaply in quantities of ten or more. The pricing is arranged so that for most people it will be cheaper to buy the bulk quantities than to print or photocopy. Please note that the original version of Faraday Paper No 4 by John Polkinghorne contained a number of errors in the subscripts and superscripts. The corrected version is now on-line and has been reprinted in hard copy, so please get rid of any ‘mutant copies’ that you might have.

The month of July sees our ‘big event’ of the Summer starting, which is the Faraday Summer Course. With 27 speakers coming from 5 countries, this once again promises to be an intense and stimulating two weeks. Some delegates are coming for a 1-week Unit whereas the majority are coming for the full two weeks. If you want to make a application we might still be able to squeeze you in, but you will need to act fast! All registration is done on-line. The same applies to the ‘God and Biology Course’ in September which is nearly full – we usually try and cap the delegate number at 30 to encourage optimal interaction between delegates and speakers, but are capping the September Course at 50 due to heavy demand.

This past month saw the Associate Director speaking to 280 delegates at the Newman Conference in Hatfield, this year focusing on environmental themes. The Director gave the opening seminar to the Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship Programme – those interested in the list of the high-profile Fellows chosen for this Summer’s Programme (still in progress) can view their details at: The Director also spoke at a 6th form conference held at the 800 year-old Wells Cathedral for 250 6th formers on ’Science, Faith and Ethical Challenges’. The talk and discussion groups that followed triggered a long list of stimulating questions taken in a 1-hour session with the Bishop of Bath and Wells (“I think this tricky theological question is one for you Bishop….”). Meanwhile the Course Director was also working on the public understanding of science and religion, giving two talks on science and the Bible, and an assembly for primary school children on the same theme, at a Bible Society event in Manchester entitled ‘Answering the Riddle of Life’.

Best wishes

Denis Alexander                                                           Bob White

            [Director, Faraday Institute]                              [Associate Director]