Skip navigation to content

Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 93 - October 2013

Contents

1 Michaelmas term seminar series begins
2 Speaking  engagement for Denis Alexander and Rodney Holder
3 Southampton one day course
4 Faraday Annual Reception
5 Test of Faith in Brazil
6 Communicating science and religion workshop report
7 Staff activities – Diana Beech
8 LASAR News
9 Faraday External Communications Officer vacancy
10 Smartphone App
11 UAB Essay Competition


1. In October the Faraday seminar series recommences on Tuesday 15th October with a talk entitled “New approaches to the origin of life – scientific and theological” by Dr Christopher Southgate of Exeter University. It will start at 1p.m. and take place in the Garden Seminar Room at St. Edmund’s College [www.faraday-institute.org]. As usual, the seminar will be preceded by a free buffet lunch from 12.30 p.m.

2. On October 26th Drs Denis Alexander and Rodney Holder will be speaking at the Faith & Thought symposium ‘The accidental universe?” at Bloomsbury Baptist Church (see http://www.faithandthought.org.uk/ftact.htm).

3. A one-day course entitled ‘Science and Faith: An introduction” will take place Saturday 30th November in Southampton. This is being jointly organised with the local Central South Christians in Science group. Further details of the course can be found at http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Short_course.php?CourseID=58. Please note that the closing date for applications is 13th November.

4. The Faraday Institute will hold its second annual reception for scientists in the Cambridge area who self-identify as Christians, on Monday 4th November at 6pm in The Cambridge Guildhall (see http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/reception/). Following on from the success of the inaugural event last year, we hope to attract even more Christians in the local scientific community to this ideal opportunity to meet others and to discuss relevant issues. This year’s speaker will be Professor Andrew Wyllie FRS, previously Head of the Department of Pathology at Cambridge. For more information contact the Faraday Administrator at faraday.administrator@st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk. The reason that this particular reception is only for Christians is simply that we could not cope with the numbers if we opened the reception to those of all faiths. Please note that all our other events are open to those of any faith or none. This is the only Faraday event that is restricted to those of one particular faith.

5. In September Dr Ruth Bancewicz travelled to Brazil to promote the recently published Brazilian Portuguese translations of the Test of Faith DVD and book. In just over two weeks, she and Guilherme de Carvahlo, the translator of the book and Director of L’Abri Brazil, travelled to 8 cities around Brazil, speaking at 17 events in bookshops, churches, universities, theological colleges, seminaries and student ministries. For details of the DVD and book and how to purchase them see http://ultimato.com.br/sites/o-teste-da-fe/. For details of further activities in Brazil go to http://ultimato.com.br/sites/testedafebrasil/.

6. A communicating science and religion workshop was held over the weekend of 27th – 29th September at the Møller Centre in Cambridge. The aim of this workshop was to help Christian scientists at an early stage of their career, and who already show interest in the science and religion debate, to become more effective communicators on this issue. The weekend was by invitation only and twelve participants selected by members of the Faraday Institute took part in this intensive and demanding event. The weekend included talks from experienced communicators, with the opportunity for each participant to present a short talk, be part of a panel discussion and to undergo a mock radio interview conducted by Justin Brierley of Premier Radio. Small feedback groups ensured that each participant received detailed comments on their performance from their peers as well as from those with more experience. The weekend—the first of its kind held by The Faraday Institute—was a resounding success and we shall be looking to build on this in the future.

7. Dr Diana Beech presented a paper at the UACES 43rd Annual Conference in Leeds (2-4 September) entitled 'Values: A Legitimate Driver of ERA Policy?' Dr Beech also hosted a panel on 'Constructing the European Research Area in Times of Crisis' at the ECPR General Conference 2013 (4-7 September) in Bordeaux, which addressed the theme of shifting policy discources between FP7 and Horizon 2020.

8. LASAR news – On 25th September, 800 teenagers and teachers from schools across England came together for an event in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford with speakers from nine universities. It was called Robots, God and Free Will – scholars included, Prof Keith Ward and Prof Neil Messer, theologians, Prof Mark Pagel  and Prof John Bryant, biologists and Prof Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, neuroscientist. Students cheered, clapped, asked questions and voted with red and green cards. On the Sunday before the event, LASAR's Berry Billingsley, was a guest on BBC 1's 'Sunday Morning Live' for a 15 minute item leading up to the day.

9. At the end of September we said goodbye to our External Communications Officer, Ben White, who is moving on to a new job. We are seeking to recruit a new person to join the Faraday in this role (for the job advertisement see http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/News.php?Mode=Single&ID=175). There may be a brief hiatus is the Faraday Newsfeed until this post is filled.

10. The Faraday Institute’s smartphone app for the Android platform app can be found in the Google Play store at:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.faradayinstitute
The iPhone version of the app can be found in iTunes online at:
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/the-faraday-institute/id592719171?mt=8

11. Finally, the Uses and Abuses of Biology programme 2013 essay competition was launched last month. The competition is for anyone aged 30 or younger, and encourages participants to engage with the use and abuse of biological thought in non-biological fields including philosophy, politics, media, sociology and theology. The title of this year's essay is 'How is contemporary biology used for ideological purposes?' More details of the competition can be found at www.uabgrants.org and the competition closes on 30th November 2013.

Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]