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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 68 - September 2011

Paragraph Contents
1.  Uses and Abuses of Biology grant programme
2.  Test of Faith news
3.  Australian Conference News
4.  LASAR (Learning About Science and Religion)
5.  Sustainability in Crisis Conference
6.  Michaelmas Term Faraday Lecture

1. This month sees the launch of a grants programme organized by the Faraday Institute entitled The Uses and Abuses of Biology. Full details can be found at www.uabgrants.org. The aim of the interdisciplinary Programme is to investigate contemporary non-scientific uses and abuses of biological thought (beneficial, benign or negative) in the domains of philosophy, the social sciences, the media, religion and politics. The dead-line for preliminary applications is 31st October. The programme also includes an essay competition on the same theme with annual 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes worth £1000, £500 and £250, respectively. Further details on the essay competition can be found at the same web-site. We are also pleased to announce the appointment of Nell Whiteway as the Grants Coordinator for this new UAB Programme.

2. The past month has been a busy time for Faraday Staff speaking in different countries. Ruth Bancewicz has given several talks at the Soul Survivor and Greenbelt festivals in the UK, and has spoken at the annual conference of the American Scientific Affiliation in the USA. The Test of Faith US tour will start at the end of September, beginning in Boston and making its way across the country for 4 weeks. A schedule and fliers to email to friends and colleagues can be found at: http://www.testoffaith.com/events/us-tour.aspx.

3. Meanwhile Bob White has spoken at Emmanuel College, University of Queensland at Brisbane and then, together with Denis Alexander, at a lively conference organized by the new Graeme Clark Institute in Adelaide, an event carried out in collaboration with The Faraday Institute. It was a special privilege to have Prof. Clark, after whom the new Institute is named, speaking at the conference. Prof. Clark, inventor of the cochlear implant, and recent recipient of the Lister Medal, is one of Australia’s best-known scientists [see: http://ict4lifesciences.org.au/top-award-for-graeme-clark.html]. Denis Alexander also spoke in Tasmania at an ISCAST Conference [The Institute for the Study of Christianity in an Age of Science and Technology] before going over to Adelaide.

4. The LASAR project [Learning About Science and Religion] has recently launched its new web-site to help pupils engage with the big questions raised in the science-religion arena. This can be found at www.faradayschools.com and is definitely worth a visit even if you don't happen to be a teenager. It's a great example of how to teach important aspects of this discussion and also have a lot of fun at the same time! More content will be added during the coming year, including quizzes and interactive games.

5. A big Faraday event coming up this month is our Sustainability in Crisis conference (www.sustainability-in-crisis.org) which remains open for a few more late registrants – but if you want to come you need to move fast! The conference will consider the problems of the interlocking crises in climate change, environmental issues and resource shortages, and in particular the role of faiths in promoting action. Prominent speakers from across various disciplines and religions include Bill McKibben of 350.org, leading Islamic environmentalist Fazlun Khalid, professor of energy policy Paul Ekins, economist Ann Pettifor who spearheaded the Jubilee 2000 campaign and Tearfund’s Elaine Storkey.

6. At 5.30pm on Wednesday September 28, Bill McKibben will give a public lecture on ‘Faith in a Sustainable Future’ at the Kaetsu Centre, Murray Edwards College. All are welcome to the lecture, whether or not they have been at the conference preceding it. Come early for a good seat!

Denis Alexander Bob White
[Director]  [Associate Director]