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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 74 - March 2012


Paragraph 1-3  Faraday Lecture and Seminar News
Paragraph 4     Science Week panel discussion
Paragraph 5    Job vacancy – Research Associate
Paragraph 6    Test of FAITH news
Paragraph 7    Faraday Courses
Paragraph 8-9 LASAR news
Paragraph 10  New Edinburgh MSc course
Paragraph 11  Faraday staff activities

1. There are not many times when you can hear a pin-drop during a Cambridge lecture, but such was the case when Prof. Jürgen Moltmann gave the Faraday Public Lecture this past month on the topic ‘From Physics to Theology – a Personal Story’ to a packed lecture theatre in Emmanuel College. The talk is posted in the Multimedia section of the Faraday web-site ( and you may need to turn the volume right up to hear properly. The two excellent Faraday Research Seminars from this past month are also posted there - Dr. William Carroll on ‘Creation and Contemporary Science: The Legacy of Thomas Aquinas’ and Dr Paul Fairchild on ‘Pluripotent Stem Cells: Medical Dream or Ethical Nightmare’.

2. Our lectures and seminars continue to be posted not only on the Faraday web-site but also on the Cambridge University web-site at: Our lunch-time Seminars normally draw around 60-100 people. It is therefore interesting to note that since Prof. Peter Clarke gave his seminar ‘Brain Determinism and Freewill’ almost exactly a year ago, it has been viewed on that site alone more than 10,000 times, and our resources there overall were viewed 38,669 times during the past month.

3. The last Research Seminar for this term will be given by Prof. Elaine Ecklund from Rice University, USA, on Tuesday, 6th March at 1.00 p.m. in the Garden Seminar Room of St. Edmund’s College on the topic ‘The Religious Beliefs of Scientists – a Sociological Analysis’. Prof. Ecklund will be reporting on her very extensive survey of the religious beliefs of scientists in the elite top 21 US universities, as well as presenting some preliminary data on her findings from the UK scientific community.

4. A significant special event this month is the panel discussion on the topic ‘Brain, Mind, Neurons and Free-Will'. The event will be held in the Queen’s Lecture Theatre, Emmanuel College (N.B. NOT the McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College, as stated in last month’s newsletter) at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday 17th March. The distinguished panel will comprise Prof. Raymond Tallis (well-known author and polymath, originally at the University of Manchester), Prof. Barry Smith (acting Director of the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London), Dr Alasdair Coles (neuroscientist, Dept of Medicine, University of Cambridge) and Prof. Peter Clarke (neuroscientist, University of Lausanne).

5. We are advertising for a Research Associate position which runs until January 2015 to study Natural Disasters with Prof Bob White. See the advert on the Faraday web site and write to Administrator, Mrs Polly Stanton, for further details [].

6. The Test of Faith project is now on twitter. Follow @thetestoffaith for regular tweets on science and faith, and Test of Faith news. There is also a new series of video clips from the Revd Dr John Polkinghorne on YouTube, at

7. There are still a few places left on the next Faraday Course entitled ‘Science, Religion and Atheism’ (30 March – 1 April) which has been filling up fast over the past month. Likewise the Faraday Summer Course ‘Science and Religion – the View Both Ways’ (July 8-14) is rapidly filling up. Early registration is recommended to avoid disappointment. More details on both courses plus on-line registration can be found at

8. The Learning About Science and Religion (LASAR) team have produced a set of three posters to promote the FaradaySchools website. One is straightforward and two present puzzles with the answers on the website – see If you would like copies of the A2 posters, please email LASAR’s principal investigator, Berry Billingsley on There are 20 sets available for free on a first come basis.

9. The LASAR conference promises to be an exciting event. The keynote address will be presented by Professor John Brooke who will be talking about Newton – a great way to highlight the links between school education, science and religion. Please visit the Faraday Institute conference page ( to book your place: Creativity, Creation and the Big Bang: Science and Religion in the School Curriculum, May 19, 2012.
10. It is good to see a new MSc Course on science and religion being established at Edinburgh University under the Revd Dr Mark Harris, the recently appointed lecturer there in Science and Religion. “This cross-disciplinary degree programme commences in 2012/13, funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, and includes historical, methodological, philosophical and theological dimensions of the interface between science and religious faith. The degree offers modules in science studies, philosophy, theology, ethics, the social sciences, the natural sciences and medicine. Whereas recent debates have understandably been largely confined to the Judeo-Christian tradition, this programme develops a stronger multi-faith perspective on the relationship between science and religion”. More details may be found at:

11. Various Faraday staff members have been busy this past month giving talks and lectures. Dr Ruth Bancewicz spoke at the Christians in Science student conference, gave a series of talks at The Bluecoat School in Oldham, led a seminar at the Student Christian Movement annual conference in York, and spoke at two ‘Onelife’ young leaders' conferences at St Andrews Church Chorleywood. The Director gave lectures at Warwick University, Durham University, at Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, and took part in a workshop on ‘theistic evolution’ held in Jacksonville, Florida. Prof Bob White talked on Natural Disasters to a full house in Bristol, organized by the local branch of Christians in Science.  

Denis Alexander  Bob White
[Director]  [Associate Director]