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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 24 - January 2008

This newsletter comes with our warmest greetings for the New Year. We in the Faraday Institute can look back with thanksgiving over a very successful series of events during 2007, and look forward to many exciting events during 2008. Our annual Advisory Board Meeting held last month provided a good opportunity to assess what has been happening during the past year. Taking the Faraday Courses as an exemplar, we are pleased to note that these were attended by 231 delegates during 2007 with 85 from overseas (coming from 31 different countries: UK, Romania, Ireland, Swaziland, Germany, Belgium, Ghana, France, Pakistan, India, Nigeria, New Zealand, Sweden, South Africa, Netherlands, Poland, Malta, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, USA, Australia, Serbia, Brazil, Mexico, China, Moldova, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria), and 47 speakers lectured in the courses, of whom 16 were from overseas. A total of 11 bursaries were awarded to enable delegates from low-income countries to attend Courses, as well as 5 bursaries for students from St. Edmund’s College.

For those in the Cambridge area there are several dates you might like to note in your new 2008 diaries: on Tuesday 22nd January at 1.00 p.m. in the Garden Room of St. Edmund’s College (preceded by the usual free buffet lunch at 12.30 p.m.), Prof. John Hedley Brooke [Professor Emeritus of Science & Religion, Oxford University] will be giving the first of our Faraday Research Seminars of the new term entitled ‘Should the Word ‘Nature’ be Eliminated? A Historical Survey’.

On Thursday 7th Feb we will be hosting a preview of the ‘US tour version’ of ‘Re:Design’, a dramatisation by Craig Baxter of the correspondence between Charles Darwin and Asa Gray to be performed by the Menagerie Theatre Company. The show will be performed in the Garden Room, St. Edmund’s College, at 7.30 p.m. Those living in the Cambridge area, or who attended the Lancaster Conference on Science and Religion last summer, may already have had the opportunity to see this excellent dramatisation, but many have not yet seen it, so if you would like to reserve tickets for the occasion (for £2, payable at the door, includes a glass of wine) please e-mail Polly Stanton at The show will provide an opportunity for the company to perform a full dress rehearsal before going on tour to the USA a few days later.

Then on Thursday 21st February 2008 at 5.30 pm, Prof. John Wyatt of University College Hospital, London, will be giving our termly public lecture on the topic ‘What is a Person? Matters of Life and Death’ at 5.30 p.m. in the Howard Lecture Theatre, Downing College, Cambridge. It will be followed by free refreshments and a bookstall, with an opportunity to talk informally with Prof Wyatt and others.

Looking further ahead, on Saturday March 1st we are co-sponsoring with the Veritas Forum a lecture by the Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS in Cambridge on the topic ‘Science in the Public Square’. Then on April 11-13 we will be holding our Faraday Short Course No. 10: ‘Ethics on the Frontiers of Science: Religion – Help or Hindrance?’ at which speakers will include Prof. Gareth Jones (on human embryology), Prof. John Bryant (on genetic engineering and stem cells), Philippa Taylor (on bionic persons), Prof. Tim Maughan (on euthanasia), Prof. Neil Messer (on moral reasoning), Prof. Michael Reiss (on ‘handling ethical issues in the public domain’), Prof. Joe Perry (on GM crops), and Revd Dr Rodney Holder (on ethical issues raised by the applications of science in war). This promises to be a very popular Course so early booking is encouraged to avoid disappointment. The Course taking place this month is now fully booked.

We look forward to welcoming many more visitors and delegates to our Courses and events during 2008. As usual details of all our Courses and events may be found at as they become available.

Denis Alexander      Bob White
 [Director, Faraday Institute]    [Associate Director]