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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 100 - May 2014

Welcome to the 100th edition of The Faraday Institute Newsletter. To celebrate we are changing to a new format, as you can see. Hopefully this will make the newsletter more accessible and engaging.  (This on-line version is in the old format.) It is good to look back to the first newsletter in January 2006 and to see how the Institute has grown and developed over the last eight years. At that time there was one research associate and now there are eight, together with an intern. Some aspects of the Institute’s work have continued since its inception; such as the seminar series and the short and long courses, which continue to attract good numbers of people both from the UK and abroad. Now the Institute has expanded its range of courses and is involved in facilitating courses overseas as well. Other features of the Institute’s work that have grown are its publications and the multimedia available over the web. Many of these aspects of growth are evident in the news that follows.

The first seminar of the new term was given by Dr Ard Louis of Oxford University on ‘Contingency, Convergence and Hyper-astronomical Numbers in Biological Evolution.’ The next seminar will be on Tuesday 13th May, on the topic of ‘Faith and Wisdom in Science’ and the speaker will be Prof Tom McLeish FRS, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, Durham University. As usual the seminar will be held in the Garden Room at St Edmund’s College at 1.00p.m., preceded by a by a free buffet lunch from 12.30 p.m.

The 30th Anniversary Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) International at Sandown Park, from 13th – 16th May, will see The Faraday Institute hosting both a stand and also two seminar presentations; John Bryant:  'Issues at the Start of Life - How do we decide?’ and Colin Bell: Creation Care / Christian Ecology: economics and consumerism. Further details can be found at http://bit.ly/1lxRGUI

If you live in the North of England or Scotland, why not book in for our Edinburgh day course – Saturday 7th June at Central Hall Edinburgh, a partnership between The Faraday Institute and Christians in Science. In just one day we will cover a wide range of topics including Genesis and modern science, genetics and Christianity, the environment and issues in bioethics and technology. There will be opportunity to hear from scientists working in the lab about how their faith impacts their science and vice versa. Full details are on our website here http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Short_course.php?Type=New&CourseID=62.

This year our annual Summer Course will take place on July 6th – 11th in the beautiful surroundings of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. The theme this year is ‘Science and Religion: Engaging in Constructive Dialogue’ and we have an exciting programme in which a wide variety of questions in science and religion will be tackled by world-renowned speakers – cosmologists, geneticists, philosophers, anthropologists, ethicists, to name just a few. This course is the high spot of our year and is widely appreciated by those who attend. If you have been thinking about registering and never got around to it, now is your chance as the Course is filling up rapidly. See:
www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Short_course.php?Type=New&CourseID=56.

Again this year the Institute will be taking its programme of courses overseas and working with local partners to deliver events in Europe and Latin America. On May 9th – 11th we will be working with the Newman Institute in Uppsala, Sweden to put on a course that is part of their academic programme on science and religion. As well as lectures and panel discussions open to the public we will be conducting in-depth seminars for their students.  For more details see http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Whats_on_info.php?Mode=Courses&ID=35

In April our 27th Faraday Short Course at Christ’s College Cambridge attracted a wide range of delegates willing to learn about philosophy, science and faith. It was a stimulating weekend, which ended with a series of subject-specific discussion groups where we tackled some thorny issues. The largest group by far comprised physicists – physics and philosophy obviously make a good match!

On 13th April at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, The Faraday Institute organized a panel discussion ‘Boosting the Brain: How far should we go?’  The panel comprised Prof. Barbara Sahakian, Prof. Raymond Tallis, Dr. Alasdair Coles, and Dr. Pete Moore and was chaired by the Associate Director. The Summerhall Lecture Theatre was packed with an all-age audience and a lively discussion took place. Many of the audience lingered to talk to panel members individually after the formal end to proceedings.

On 10-11th April 2014 Dr Diana Beech co-hosted a 2-day workshop on ‘The Governance of the Europe of Knowledge’ at Robinson College, Cambridge. The workshop brought together scholars from all over the world to discuss the construction and implementation of European science policy. Dr Beech also co-chaired one of the workshop panels, which examined the values behind policy decisions in European science today.

Note that videos of Faraday courses, lectures and seminars are available from http://upload.sms.cam.ac.uk/institution/FARADAY and on iTunes U, as well as on the Faraday web site http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Multimedia.php. The latest videos of Prof Roger Trigg (Rationality in Science and Faith) and Prof Keith Ward (Morality and the Philosophy of Science) are posted there.

The Uses and Abuses of Biology Programme: our latest student competition is now live! We are pleased to offer up to ten bursaries for PhD students to attend the 2014 Uses and Abuses of Biology Workshop. The aim of the workshop is to share the key and exciting results from the UAB research programme, with a mix of original research presentations and high-profile external speakers. The bulk of the delegates will be a cohort of high-profile international print and radio journalists. Application is by email - go to www.uabgrants.org for more information, and to download the Workshop schedule, or email Nell Whiteway on faraday.grants@st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk.

As usual the Faraday Staff have been out and about giving lectures and talks on science and religion in a wide range of venues. On April 10th Denis Alexander gave the Elving Anderson Lecture at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. The well-attended lecture marked the launch of a new annual lecture series held in honour of Prof. Anderson who was for many years Professor of Genetics at the University. Sadly Prof Anderson, by now in his 90s, died just a month before the inaugural lecture, but a number of his family members were able to be present, and there was a good time of questions and discussion on the topic ‘Genes, Determinism and God’.

Hilary Marlow gave a talk entitled “Disconnection: Land, Community, Economics” at the annual Land, Sustainability and Faith conference, organized by the Goring family in conjunction with A Rocha UK. This gathering of Christian land-owners, estate managers and farmers was a unique opportunity to discuss some of the theological and ethical issues arising from owning and sustainably managing agricultural land in the UK. On 2nd April Dr Ruth Bancewicz spoke on the topic of ‘Celebrating Science and Faith” at the Norwich Diocese Annual Headteachers’ Conference.

Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]