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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 17 - May 2007

There have been two highlights from the past month of Faraday Institute activities. The first was the excellent termly public lecture given by Bishop Tom Wright entitled ‘Can a Scientist Believe the Resurrection?’ which saw a packed Babbage Lecture Theatre with both aisles crowded with people sitting on the stairs – about 530 there in all. There was a good time of questions after the lecture and many stayed to browse the bookstall afterwards. The lecture is already on-line and can be listened to or watched as a videostream by clicking on Multimedia.php, then scrolling down to the ‘Science and the Bible’ section and you will find it at the bottom of the list for that section.

The second highlight for this month was the ‘God and Physics’ Course when Prof. Chris Isham, Prof. Andrew Briggs, Prof. Gerhard Nienhuis, Dr Peter Bussey, the Revd Dr John Polkinghorne, Prof. Don Page and Prof. Bob White FRS, were the speakers at a Course that attracted mainly delegates with a strong background in physics. This marks the planned development of the Faraday Short Course Programme into holding occasional Courses that are more specialised in nature, although we will still be holding the popular introductory Courses as well. The next more specialised Short Course will be the ‘God and Biology’ Course to be held September 14-16, 2007. This Course is filling up fast so if you are interested in coming do make sure to apply as soon as possible. The Course is designed for those with a strong background in the biological sciences.

We do still have some spaces left on the Summer Course, in particular for Unit 1 entitled ‘Science, Humanity and Religion’ to be held July 20-26 at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge. We have a really top line-up of speakers for this Course, and as usual on-line applications can be made by going to the Courses Folder at www.faraday-institute.org. 

The past month has seen continued excellent attendance at the fortnightly Faraday Research Seminar Series. During the month Michael Hoskin, Emeritus Fellow of St. Edmund’s College, gave a grand overview on the topic ‘God and Newton’, helpfully filling out the relevant historical ideas and background to Newton’s discoveries. Fraser Watts from the Faculty of Divinity in Cambridge also spoke on ‘Relating Theology and Psychology: Distinctive Features and Methodological Principles’ (listen to either Seminar at: Seminars.php). The last Seminar in this term’s series will be given in the Garden Seminar Room of St. Edmund’s College on Tuesday, 5th June, at 1.00 p.m. by Prof. Eric Priest FRS from St. Andrew’s University, Scotland, on ‘Science, Religion and Creativity: a Personal View’. As usual a complimentary buffet lunch will be served from 12.30 p.m. for those able to attend in person.

The month has seen several Faraday Staff members out and about giving lectures in various contexts. The Director spoke at the Ian Ramsay Centre at Oriel College, Oxford, on the topic ‘Evolution, Providence and Theodicy – a Biologist’s Perspective’ and in Harrow at the lecture that launched the new North London ‘Christians in Science’ group on the topic ‘Beyond Belief? - Science and Faith in the 21st Century’. The Course Director spoke on ‘The Universe: Accident or Design?’ at St Paul’s School, London. 

The month of June sees the Director once again giving the opening lecture at the Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Fellowship Programme – those interested in the list of the high-profile Fellows chosen for this summer’s Programme can view their details at: http://www.templeton-cambridge.org/fellows/2007.

Best wishes

Denis Alexander                                                           Bob White

            [Director, Faraday Institute]                              [Associate Director]