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St. Edmunds College Faraday Bursaries

November 27, 2012

The Faraday Institute exists to promote research and understanding in the area of science and religion. It is now offering

The Faraday Institute exists to promote research and understanding in the area of science and religion. It is now offering bursaries to St. Edmund College students to fund areas of their interests and research which may fall within the domain of science and religion, interpreted broadly.

This may involve financial support for attendance at conferences or courses; funding aspects of research which touch on the science-religion field; or helping those who wish to publish in this field.

Applications consisting of a c/v together with a letter explaining why the financial support is needed, together with a summary budget, should be sent to Mrs Polly Stanton at The Faraday Institute Administrator, Mrs Polly Stanton, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, CB3 0BN, UK [ps400@cam.ac.uk].

There are no dead-lines for applications and bursaries will be awarded on a rolling basis for as long as funds last.

Inaugural Faraday Institute reception held in Cambridge

November 22, 2012

Around 150 scientists from a Christian background in the Cambridge area attended the inaugural Faraday Institute annual reception at The

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Around 150 scientists from a Christian background in the Cambridge area attended the inaugural Faraday Institute annual reception at The Guildhall on Monday.

The central Cambridge venue provided the perfect setting for mingling over a buffet, as academics, researchers, and professionals met, chatted, and networked.
 
Refreshments were followed by a short address from the Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS on “being a Christian in science”, before attendees broke down into disciplinary area small groups to facilitate further discussion and sharing.
 
More information about the reception can be found here, including details on how to register for information about the 2013 event.

Forthcoming publication "The Isaac Newton Guide Book"

November 13, 2012

We are delighted to announce that The Faraday Institute will shortly be publishing The Isaac Newton Guide Book, which will

We are delighted to announce that The Faraday Institute will shortly be publishing The Isaac Newton Guide Book, which will contain the text of the Faraday-sponsored play ‘Let Newton Be!’ together with eight specially commissioned essays about Newton by experts in the field, all lavishly illustrated in colour with 86 photos.

The Isaac Newton Guide Book features a preface by Stephen Hawking and is endorsed by, among others, Lord Martin Rees FRS, until recently Master of Trinity College at Cambridge, who comments:
 
"Trinity College was pleased to host the opening performances of Let Newton Be! as part of the 800th anniversary celebrations of the University of Cambridge. It is good to now see the text of the play made available to a wider audience, together with newly commissioned essays that shed new light on this complex and brilliant figure from the history of science".
 
The book also comes with an introduction by playwright Craig Baxter, and a DVD of the Menagerie Theatre Company production.
 
Details on how to purchase the book will appear in due course on the Faraday website. It will be on sale via the Faraday online Shop for the discounted price of £15.00 which includes the DVD film of the play.

JOB VACANCY - POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE (THE SEA IN SCRIPTURE)

October 12, 2012

A position is open for a Research Associate to carry out a project sponsored by the Faraday Institute for Science

Download further information (PDF)

Download further information (PDF)

A position is open for a Research Associate to carry out a project sponsored by the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge [www.faraday-institute.org]. The post is available immediately and will continue until the end of January 2015. The research associate will conduct a study of the biblical material on the oceans and seas, following the trajectory through scripture from Genesis to Revelation. The aim will be to develop a biblical theology of the sea and seek to apply this to how we should treat the ocean, which covers 70% of the Earth, the creatures living in it and the resources it contains. The post will be under the supervision of Prof Meric Srokosz, associate director of the Faraday Institute (who is also an oceanographer working at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton).

The successful candidate will have, or will soon complete, a Ph.D. in biblical studies and must be comfortable handling both New and Old Testament material. The applicant must be in agreement with the ethos and aims of The Faraday Institute. The salary will be up to £29,741 per annum, depending on qualifications and experience, plus benefits.

Applications quoting Position FP2/10 should include a c/v, naming three referees, together with a covering letter summarising the relevance of the applicant’s background and experience for this position. For further details about the project please contact Mrs Polly Stanton [ps400@cam.ac.uk]. Applications (preferably by e-mail) should be sent to: The Faraday Institute Administrator, Mrs Polly Stanton, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, CB3 0BN, UK [ps400@cam.ac.uk] by Friday 23rd November 2012. Interviews will be held in early to mid-December. 

New appointments

October 1, 2012

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Bob White FRS as its

The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion is delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Bob White FRS as its new Director and Professor Meric Srokosz as the new Associate Director.

These appointments take place as Dr Denis Alexander retires as Director, after nearly seven years in his role as the head of the Institute. Dr Alexander will continue to work with The Faraday Institute as Principal Investigator of the Uses and Abuses Biology Grants Programme, as well as 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 3-7 December 2012. Dr Alexander was appointed a fellow of the College in 1997 and has now become an Emeritus Fellow.
 
Bob White has been Professor of Geophysics in the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge since 1989, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1994. Prof. White is also a Fellow of St Edmund's College and was a founding Director of the Faraday Institute with Denis Alexander. He leads a research group investigating the Earth’s dynamic crust, and his scientific work is published in over 300 papers and articles.
 
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’s 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.

FARADAY COURSE DIRECTOR JOB VACANCY

August 10, 2012

The position of Course Director at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, has become vacant

Download further information (PDF)

Download further information (PDF)

The position of Course Director at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, has become vacant due to the retirement of the present post-holder in January 2013.

The post, two years in the first instance, involves a 50% time commitment to the coordination and organisation of Faraday Courses and 50% to a research topic of the applicant’s choosing in the field of science and religion.  The extent and nature of Faraday Courses, some of which are held overseas, may be viewed at www.faraday-institute.org. The successful candidate will have a strong academic record, good knowledge of the science and religion field, organisational and personal skills, and will be in agreement with the Christian ethos of The Faraday Institute.

The salary will be up to £41,150 per annum, depending on qualifications and experience, plus benefits. Applications quoting Position FP2/9 should include a c/v, naming three referees, together with a covering letter summarising the relevance of the applicant’s background and experience for this position. Applications (preferably by e-mail) should be sent to: The Faraday Institute Administrator, Mrs Polly Stanton, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, CB3 0BN, UK [ps400@cam.ac.uk] by 30th September 2012. Interviews will be held from 1st October, 2012, onwards. A Job Description may also be requested from Mrs Stanton.

 

 

Two lectures on evolution

June 19, 2012

In late May, The Faraday Institute hosted a pair of lectures on evolution by experts in their fields. On 24

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In late May, The Faraday Institute hosted a pair of lectures on evolution by experts in their fields. On 24 May, Prof. Elliott Sober (University of Wisconsin-Madison), one of the leading philosophers of biology in the world today, spoke on ‘Naturalism and Evolutionary Theory’.

According to current evolutionary theory, much of the variety we see in nature – including the things that make you and me unique – is generated by random, unguided changes in DNA, or "mutations". This description may not sit comfortably with a theistic believer who understands God to be intimately and actively involved with His creation. However, Sober argued that evolutionary theory does not necessarily rule out the idea that God could guide mutations.
 
Sober pointed out that when biologists refer to mutations as ‘unguided’, they do not mean that mutations have no cause. And whilst we know of some physical processes that cause mutations, we certainly don't have any assurance that we know all of them. Sober likened this to tossing a coin: we know the probability of getting heads or tails but when the coin lands on heads, we don't know all the causes of this event - our explanation is causally incomplete.
 
He said that if you are an evidentialist - someone who thinks that you can only believe what we have evidence for - then you should be agnostic about whether God guides mutation. If you reject evidentialism, then you are of course free to believe that God guides mutations, or, conversely, that mutations are definitely not guided by a God. Evolutionary theory cannot tell you whether to be an evidentialist or not. So, if you adopt a non-agnostic position, it is important to realise that you are doing this on the basis of a philosophy, not on the basis of evolutionary theory itself. 
 
A few days later, on 28 May, a lecture on ‘The Evolution of Cooperation’ was given by Martin Nowak, Professor of Biology and Mathematics at Harvard University. Beginning with an analysis of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, a classic topic in game theory, he went on to show how the interplay of strategies of cooperation and defection works out in more realistic situations. Hence he was able to show how behaviours such as forgiveness and direct and indirect reciprocity would give a pay off.
 
Direct reciprocity is of the ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours variety’, whereas indirect reciprocity is the receipt of a benefit from an individual other than the one the recipient has helped. The latter is based on reputation and it is what has made us human, because it requires language. Nowak quoted David Haig’s pithy way of putting it: ‘For direct reciprocity you need a face. For indirect reciprocity you need a name.’ Nowak said that no non-human animals have the ability of naming. Nowak claims that the old idea of kin selection (behaviour which helps relatives) is flawed and that standard natural selection is a superior approach for interpreting empirical observations.
 
Those who wish to read more about Martin Nowak’s viewpoint may find a popular version in an article by him in the current edition of Scientific American.

[Photo: Faraday Director Dr Denis Alexander (left) with Prof. Elliott Sober (right)]

INVITATION TO BRITISH ACADEMY FOR GIFFORD LECTURES EVENT

May 23, 2012

Event:   “Reflections of Templeton Laureates, Gifford Lecturers”   Date:      Friday 1 June 2012, 2:00 to 6:00 PM   Venue:   British Academy, 10-11 Carleton House Terrace   Seven past Templeton

Event:   “Reflections of Templeton Laureates, Gifford Lecturers”
 
Date:      Friday 1 June 2012, 2:00 to 6:00 PM
 
Venue:   British Academy, 10-11 Carleton House Terrace
 
Seven past Templeton Prize winners – theologians, scientists, and philosophers including Martin Rees and Freeman Dyson -- will examine how their ideas in previous Gifford lectures have changed and what may be in store for the future.  Two panels of Laureates will convene on Friday 1 June from 2 PM to 6 PM, at the British Academy.
 
Among the questions the Prize winners will tackle are:
•                  What has happened in the intervening years that you expected? Or was unexpected?
•                  What would you like to know now (if you had a crystal ball) for your theoretical Gifford Lecture 20 years from now?
 
This event is free to the public, but due to limited seating please RSVP: http://events.templeton.org/reflections/  
 
For more information, speak to:
 
Don Lehr:  +1 917 304 4058 or +44 (0)7866 634 556 / dblehr@cs.com
Andy Bloxham:  +44 (0)20 7861 2507 /  +44 (0) 7500 954 088 abloxham@bell-pottinger.co.uk

Course bursaries available for RE teachers and trainee teachers

April 10, 2012

The Faraday Institute is delighted to announce the award of a most generous grant of £21,563 from the St Gabriel’s

The Faraday Institute is delighted to announce the award of a most generous grant of £21,563 from the St Gabriel’s Trust to fund bursaries to teachers and trainee teachers of Religious Education to attend Faraday courses. This significant grant will fund 12 places on courses per year for the next three years. The impact of this grant on the study of the science-religion relationship in schools will be substantially enhanced by the dissemination of information and materials by the grant recipients.

For more information contact the Faraday Institute adminstrator, Mrs Polly Stanton at ps400@cam.ac.uk

 

Lectures on sustainable development in Kuala Lumpur

March 19, 2012

The Director recently participated in a new collaborative initiative between the University of Cambridge and The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in

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The Director recently participated in a new collaborative initiative between the University of Cambridge and The Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. 

A series of lectures on sustainable development was sponsored by the Cambridge Malaysian Education and Development Trust in association with the Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre directed by Dr Anil Seal, Fellow of Trinity College, who played an important role in initiating the event.

The lectures were hosted by the Pro-Chancellor of UKM, Tun. Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid, and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tan Sri Dato’ Wira Dr. Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin.

The lectures took place over the period 8-10 March in Kuala Lumpur and were attended by a wide range of academics from local universities, including UKM, as well as representatives from local government ministries.

The lecturers were Prof. Christopher Rapley, Professor of Climate Change at University College London, Fellow of St. Edmund’s College, and previously Director of the Science Museum, London, and Director of the British Antarctic Survey; Prof. Michael Norton from the Innovation Management Institute at Shinshu University, Japan; Prof. Sir Brian Heap FRS, formerly Master of St. Edmund’s College, Foreign Secretary of The Royal Society and founding Chair of the Faraday Institute Advisory Board; as well as the Director of The Faraday Institute.

Lecture topics ranged broadly across the field of sustainable development with a focus on the ethical challenges raised by contemporary science. Topics included climate science; sustainable consumption and production; stem cells and synthetic biology; and the role of genetically modified crops in helping to feed the world. The Institute Director’s lectures addressed the question of evolution and creationism, as well as the particular topic of human evolution and the challenges that it presents concerning questions of human value and identity.

The final morning of the conference saw an extended round-table discussion chaired by the Vice-Chancellor in which there was a broad-ranging discussion of the various topics raised in the lectures.

It is expected that the conference will be the start of a series of collaborative events between Cambridge University and the Malaysian academic community.

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE IN NATURAL DISASTERS

February 27, 2012

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE IN NATURAL DISASTERS A position has become available for a Research Associate to carry out a project sponsored

POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
IN NATURAL DISASTERS

A position has become available for a Research Associate to carry out a project sponsored by the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge [www.faraday-institute.org]. It is available immediately, and will continue until the end of January 2015. The research associate will conduct a study into the way in which cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, behaviours and practices of people cause them to respond differently to natural disasters, and ways in which this understanding might be used to mitigate or adapt to future possible disasters. It will be under the supervision of Prof Robert White, FRS (University of Cambridge, www.esc.cam.ac.uk).

The successful candidate could come from one of a range of disciplines, including biblical studies, sociology, geography and earth sciences. They will have a university degree in a relevant subject. It is likely that the successful candidate will also have a higher degree such as a MSc or PhD. There will be opportunities for field work abroad, possibly in collaboration with an aid agency. The applicant must be in agreement with the ethos and aims of The Faraday Institute. The salary will be up to £27,478 per annum, depending on qualifications and experience, plus benefits.

Applications quoting Position FP2/8 should include a c/v, naming three referees, together with a covering letter summarising the relevance of the applicant’s background and experience for this position. Applications (preferably by e-mail) should be sent to: The Faraday Institute Administrator, Mrs Polly Stanton, St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, CB3 0BN, UK [ps400@cam.ac.uk] by Tuesday 1st May 2012. Interviews will be held in early May. For further details about the project please contact Mrs Polly Stanton.

A pdf containing this information is available here

Jurgen Moltmann - "From Physics To Theology: A Personal Story"

February 20, 2012

On Feb 14th Prof. Jürgen Moltmann, one of the most influential European theologians over the past half a century, addressed

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On Feb 14th Prof. Jürgen Moltmann, one of the most influential European theologians over the past half a century, addressed a packed Cambridge lecture theatre, at the termly Faraday public lecture entitled ‘From Physics to Theology – a Personal Story’. An audience of over 200 in Emmanuel College took advantage of a unique opportunity to hear Prof. Moltmann share insights from his own extraordinary life story, as well as to ask their own questions.

Growing up in a secular home, Moltmann had been keen to study science and mathematics, an education interrupted by the Second World War. The formative experience of his life came when he was taken prisoner, and spent time as a German POW in Belgium, Scotland, and northern England. It was during this period that Prof. Moltmann began to reflect on the Christian message for the first time, reflection born out of his own profound experience of death and suffering, and after the end of the war he switched to a career in theology.
 
The other major theme of the lecture was the relationships between science, beauty, truth, and wisdom. Moltmann discussed how science and religion belong together as twin means of searching what holds nature together in its innermost being.
 
Moltmann spoke of how science ought to seek beauty, on the basis that beauty is a sign of truth and simplicity, and science is a truth-seeking exercise. Beauty, simplicity and unity are signs that what we are seeing is from the creator, well illustrated by some of the greatest discoveries in the history of science. Moltmann also argued that science should be pursued for its own sake and not primarily for its utilitarian value.
 
Moltmann concluded with a warning that the ethical power of humanity is still underdeveloped, compared to the increase in scientific and technological power. “Truth is what we seek in both science and spirituality, and the beauty of both may sometimes redeem the world.”

Full audio and video of the lecture is available here.