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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 4 - April 2006

The past month has seen the launch of our first Faraday Short Course entitled 'Introduction to Science and Religion' which was held at Westminster College. We are trying to keep the numbers of delegates at each Course at around 30 to facilitate optimal interactions between delegates and lecturers, but in this case allowed the numbers to creep up to 36 to cater for the large number who applied. The Course attracted a very diverse group of international delegates. With plenty of time for questions and discussion, a friendly interactive atmosphere, and an excellent group of lecturers, the Course went very well as reflected in the positive feed-back given by the delegates' questionnaires. One delegate remarked that it was "A thoroughly enjoyable and extremely insightful weekend" whereas another wrote that "To have speakers of this standard was exhilarating." We also received very valuable suggestions from delegates about possible topics for future Courses, as well as ideas about how Courses might be further improved, and all of these suggestions will be given careful consideration.

We are now busy preparing for the Summer Course, this time to be held at St. Edmund's College, which is being organised as two separate one-week Units (16-22 July and 23-29 July). Both Units have a very high profile list of international speakers including, amongst many others, Prof. George Ellis, Prof. Simon Conway Morris  FRS, Prof. John Bryant, Revd Dr John Polkinghorne KBE FRS,  Prof. Gareth Jones, Prof. Colin Humphreys, Prof. Roger Trigg, Prof Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, Prof Ernan McMullin and Prof. Mikael Stenmark.   The full details and application forms can, as usual, be found at www.faraday-institute.org. The Course is filling up fast and early application is recommended. A limited number of generous bursaries is also available for those from low-income countries wishing to attend. 

With the start of the new Cambridge term a full schedule of seminars is about to start, with Dr Michael Northcott from Edinburgh University launching the new Series on 2nd May on the topic: 'A Moral Climate? Theological Perspectives on Anthropogenic Climate Change'. On 11th May the main termly public lecture is to be given at Downing College by Prof. Ronald Numbers on the subject "Myths and Truth in Science and Religion: A historical perspective". For the great majority of those receiving this newsletter who are unable to attend these lectures in person, it is worth emphasizing that all lectures are made available after the event in audio and text formats at www.faraday-institute.org and soon lectures and seminars will become available as videostreams as well. DVDs or CDs of all lectures and seminars can already be purchased very cheaply by e-mailing Bekki Pearce at: rjp70@cam.ac.uk.

Meanwhile the Faraday Research Staff continues to expand and we have been pleased to welcome this past month Hilary Marlow and Jonathan Moo as part-time staff members. Both are completing their doctoral studies in the Divinity Faculty of Cambridge University and their Faraday research projects will concern the relationship between theology and the environment. The list of Faraday Associates has also been expanding and we would like to congratulate one of our new Associates, Simon Kolstoe from Southampton University, for not only co-authoring a major article that appeared in Nature last week, but also having his own data featured on the front cover of the same 27 April Issue.

Other Faraday Staff keep busy with lecturing on science and religion in various countries and contexts. For example, the Course Director, Rodney Holder, recently gave a lecture entitled 'The Fine-Tuning of the Universe: Some Issues in Probability Theory' at the Open University.

Best wishes,

Denis Alexander

[Director, Faraday Institute]