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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 78 - July 2012

1 Appointment of new Director and Associate Director
2 Associate Director's biography
3 Appointment of new Research Associate
4 Uses and Abuses of Biology news
5 LASAR news
6 CiS Conference and public lecture by Prof Alister McGrath
7 Donations to The Faraday Institute
8 Friends of The Faraday Institute
9 Michaelmas Term Faraday lecture
10 First Michaelmas Term seminar
11 God and Genetics Course September 2012
12 Reception for Cambridge Scientists, November 2012
13 Faraday staff activities

1. We are pleased to announce the appointment of Prof. Bob White FRS as the new Director of The Faraday Institute and Prof. Meric Srokosz as the new Associate Director, appointments to take effect as from 1st October 2012. The appointments arise from the retirement of Dr Denis Alexander as Director, linked to the compulsory retirement age of fellows at St. Edmund’s College. Dr Alexander has been elected Emeritus Fellow of the College and will continue working with The Faraday Institute in a half-time capacity as Principal Investigator of the Uses and Abuses Biology Grants Programme and in a research project entitled ‘Genes, Determinism and God’, the theme of his forthcoming Gifford Lectures to take place at St. Andrew’s University on 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th December 2012.

2. Meric Srokosz is Professor of Physical Oceanography at the National Oceanography Centre and Science Co-ordinator of the NERC Rapid Climate Change (RAPID) programme ( and follow-on RAPID-WATCH programme. RAPID is looking at “fast” (decadal timescale) climate changes with a focus on the role of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Prof. Srokosz had overall responsibility for 36 initial projects (£20M in RAPID 2001-8) and now for 7 follow-on projects (£16M in RAPID-WATCH 2008-14), which include collaboration with US, German, Norwegian, Dutch and Canadian scientists. His role in RAPID involves interactions with government and policy makers, nationally and internationally. In addition to a B.Sc. and a Ph.D. in mathematics, Prof. Srokosz also has a BA in Theology and has been a Faraday Associate since 2008.

3. This month we are also pleased to welcome Dr Roger Abbott who has started with the Faraday Institute as a Research Associate working with Prof Bob White on researching the effect of religious belief on responses to natural disasters.

4. The Uses and Abuses of Biology Grants Programme took an important step forward on 11th June with the meeting in Cambridge of the International Grants Committee, leading to the award of 16 research grants. These all focus on the many and varied ways in which biological ideas are being used and abused for purposes beyond science in contemporary discourse. A full list of grants awarded will be posted shortly at the UAB web-site: A UAB Prize Essay Competition is currently underway (dead-line for essay submissions 30th September) for those aged 30 or younger with three prizes for first, second and third place, worth £1000, £500, and £250 respectively – so not to be missed! Further details may be found at the UAB web-site.

5. The LASAR Project team (Learning about Science and Religion) have posted more than 50 sets of free posters to secondary schools. If you would like free posters for your institution or school, please visit the website to place your request. Each set consists of three posters designed to stimulate conversation about the relationships between science and religion.

6. July is a busy month in Cambridge for science and religion activities. Registration for the Faraday Summer Course is now closed and the numbers attending are in fact higher than ever before. Immediately after the Faraday Course comes the Christians in Science residential conference at Queens’ College, Cambridge, from 13th-16th July. There is still time to register for this conference, entitled ‘Science and Christian Faith in 2012 – an Enduring Partnership’, at  where further details can be found. Those in Cambridge area may be interested to know that one of our Faraday Advisory Board members, Prof. Alister McGrath, will be giving a lecture open to the public entitled ‘Science and the Christian Faith: Seeing the Big Picture’ on Friday 13th July at 6.45 p.m. in the Fitzpatrick Hall at Queens’ College. Tickets are £5 and may be reserved by e-mailing or will be available on the door (if space allows).

7. We are grateful to all those who have given on-line donations or become Friends of the Faraday Institute [FOFI] since we first launched our new on-line donation pages a month ago. For those who have not yet taken a look at these pages, the pull-down menu at is now available for this purpose. The Donation pages list the various ways in which giving can be carried out, including on-line giving. In addition we have recently produced an attractive brochure describing the financial needs of the Institute and if you would like one of these, or indeed would like copies for distribution to others, then please do let us know.

8. Becoming a FOFI enables our many supporters to translate their interest into practical action and engagement. There are various levels of membership to cater for all levels of interest and involvement. Please do take a look at the further information provided on this web-page and give the possibility of becoming a FOFI serious consideration.

9. Those in the Cambridge area who like to book their diaries well in advance may wish to make a note of our Faraday Public Lecture for next term which is to be given by Prof. Ian Hutchinson, Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on the topic ‘Scientism: How Much Faith Should We Put in Science?’ on Monday 15th October at 5.30 p.m. in the McCrum Theatre at Corpus Christi College.
10. The first Faraday Research Seminar next term will be given by Dr Elizabeth Boyle, Fellow of St Edmund’s College, on Tuesday 9th October in the Garden Seminar Room of St. Edmund’s College at 1.00 p.m. with the title ‘Intersections between religion and science in early medieval Ireland’.

11. The God and Genetics Course due to take place at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, 14-16 September, remains open for registration at There is a fine range of speakers on this fascinating topic, including Dr. Robert Asher, Prof. John Bryant, Dr. Helen Firth, Prof. Frances Flinter, Prof. Keith Fox, Dr. Stephen Freeland, Prof. Sir Brian Heap FRS and Dr. David Lahti. An opportunity not to be missed!

12. If you are in the Cambridge area within the scientific community, we would like to mention again an advance date for your diary: Monday, 19th November at 6.00 p.m. in the Guild Hall, Cambridge, for all those who self-identify as Christians within the Cambridge scientific community, be they in university departments, research institutes or in local companies. Further details and advance registration are at:

13. The past month has again been a busy period for Faraday activities as we finish off this Cambridge academic year. Dr Diana Beech, Research Associate on the project ‘Restoring Spiritual Values to European Science’, attended a workshop in Oslo to discuss the establishment of a collaborative research network committed to the theme of innovating governance in the European Research Area. Dr Beech has since become a member of the executive coordination team. The Director spoke to 300 clergy from the Diocese of Guildford at their triennial conference held at Swanwick. The Associate Director gave a talk in Tunbridge Wells on Christian responses to climate change. Dr Rodney Holder spoke on ‘A Christian Perspective on Modern Cosmology’ at a conference sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation entitled ‘Conciliating Revelation and Science in the Abrahamic Traditions’ at Heythrop College in London, and also spoke on ‘Science and Religion – Friends or Foes?’ to a visiting group of students from Washington College. Dr Holder was also interviewed on science and religion for German Radio. Dr Bancewicz took part in a Religious Education day at Comberton Village College, Cambridge, and spoke at the first two events of the Test of Faith: Live! youth tour.

Denis Alexander Bob White
[Director] [Associate Director]