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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 52 - May 2010

We have just had an excellent lecture from Prof. Bill Newsome, Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, on ‘God, Brain and Mind’.  This was followed by a vigorous discussion for twenty invited guests over dinner, many of them from the Cambridge neuroscience community. As usual the discussion will be transcribed and eventually posted on the Faraday web-site, which will take some time. However, the video and audio versions of the lecture are already on line (go to the Multimedia Folder at; search for ‘Newsome’ using the name search option, and pick the last talk in the list).

Once again we are participating in the London Pentecost Festival events this month. The Festival is an ecumenical effort organised by hundreds of different churches across London to put on a wide range of cultural, musical, theatrical and other events. The theme this year is on ‘Justice’. The participation of the Faraday Institute ensures a strong input of science and religion as part of the overall repertoire. We have three events this year, all at 7.30 p.m., to be held at the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity during the period May 18-20. On May 18th Prof. John Wyatt [Professor of Ethics and Perinatology at University College London] will be giving the first of two London Faraday Lectures on the topic ‘Justice at the Beginning and End of Life’. On May 19th Dr Ard Louis [Reader in Physics, Oxford University] will be speaking at a presentation of the Test of Faith film and other materials hosted by the Test of Faith Project Leader, Dr. Ruth Bancewicz. On May 20th Dr. Elaine Storkey  [President of Tearfund] will give the second of the London Faraday Lectures on the topic ‘Science, Technology and International Justice’. Places are limited at these ticketed events and places may be secured by purchase of a £5 ticket from the Faraday web-site. Tickets will be available at the door, but due to fire regulations we will be unable to sell further tickets if the venue is full (last year unfortunately we had to turn some people away).

We look forward to an interesting new Faraday Research Seminar series this term. The first in the series will be given by Prof. Gareth Jones, Professor of Anatomy and Structural Biology from Otago University, New Zealand, who will be speaking at 1.00 p.m. in the Garden Room, St Edmund’s College on Tuesday 4th May on the topic ‘Human Enhancement – Threat or Promise?’ At the same time and place on 18th May Michael Murray (from Franklin and Marshall College, USA) will speak on ‘Animal Suffering – Theological and Philosophical Perspectives’. Both seminars will be preceded as usual by a free buffet lunch at 12.30 p.m.

Our first Faraday Course in Ireland, to be held in Dublin from June 25-27, is filling up fast and those wishing to attend should register on-line at the Faraday web-site as soon as possible.  Speakers include Dr Denis Alexander, Revd Dr Rodney Holder, Prof. David Livingstone, Prof. Ernan McMullin, Dr Donal O’Mathuna, Prof. Bob White and Prof. Stephen Williams.

Phase One of The Test of Faith tour has come to an end. The Director spoke at Cliff College near Sheffield and the Revd Dominic Smart spoke at the Glasgow event with 320 people coming to these two events. Since the tour was not able to cover the whole country, other invitations have come in for a Phase Two part of the tour that will take place later this year. If you wish the tour to come to your area, please contact Dr. Ruth Bancewicz at

Those receiving this newsletter who speak Russian may be interested to know that six of our Faraday Papers in Russian have just been posted on our web-site for free down-load, together with a further Paper in French.
Faraday Staff have been involved in various media events the past month. The Associate Director was on Songs of Praise on Sunday 2nd May, marking the fact that this year is the 350th anniversary of the founding of The Royal Society. The Director was in conversation with the philosopher Dr Stephen Law on the topic of the limits of science on the programme ‘Unbelievable’ (Premier Christian Radio, 1st May, available as a podcast


Denis Alexander Bob White

[Director]            [Associate Director]