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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 77 - June 2012

Contents

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Supporting the Faraday Institute

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Friends of the Faraday Institute

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God and Genetics course September 2012

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November reception

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Recent Faraday talks

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Seminar 12th June

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LASAR events

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LASAR events

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LASAR events

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New Faraday Institute research project

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Faraday staff activities

 

  1. Those who visit our web-site regularly at www.faraday-institute.org may have noticed that we now have pull-down menus in order to incorporate a number of new web-pages. In particular, we would like to draw your attention to the new Donation web-pages. Our request for donations follows a review of the options available to us to secure the funds that are needed if we are to continue with our many activities. The Donation page lists the various ways in which giving can be carried out, including on-line giving. In addition we have recently produced an attractive brochure describing the financial needs of the Institute and if you would like one of these, or indeed would like copies for distribution to others, then please do let us know.
  2. We hope you will also notice the new Friends of the Faraday Institute [FOFI] page at www.st-edmunds.cam.ac.ukFriend.phpBecoming a FOFI enables our many supporters to translate their interest into practical action and engagement. There are various levels of membership to cater for all levels of interest and involvement. Please do take a look at the further information provided on this web-page and give the possibility of becoming a FOFI serious consideration.
  3. If you are planning on coming on the Faraday Course entitled God and Genetics due to take place at St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge, 14-16 September, then now is the time to register on-line at www.faraday-institute.org. There is a fine range of speakers on this fascinating topic, including Dr. Robert Asher, Prof. John Bryant, Dr. Helen Firth, Prof. Frances Flinter, Prof. Keith Fox, Dr. Stephen Freeland, Prof. Sir Brian Heap FRS and Dr. David Lahti. An opportunity not to be missed!
  4. If you are in the Cambridge area within the scientific community, we would like to mention again an advance date for your diary: Monday, 19th November at 6.00 p.m. in the Guild Hall, Cambridge, for all those who self-identify as Christians within the Cambridge scientific community, be they in university departments, research institutes or in local companies. Further details and advance registration is at: reception/.
  5. This past month there has been a whole range of high-profile Faraday activities both in Cambridge and elsewhere. The Faraday Lecture on the topic of the brain and free-will by Prof. Bill Newsome at Kings College London, given as part of London’s Pentecost Festival, attracted a good crowd of 150 and led to an excellent time of Q&A. Prof. Elliott Sober and Prof. Martin Nowak both gave major public lectures in Cambridge, and the Faraday research Seminars by Prof. Bill Newsome and Dr Michael Ward both attracted big lunch-time crowds to St. Edmund’s College. As usual it is possible to listen to all these talks on-line, although some technical difficulties with our camera means that not all talks could be filmed, though all were recorded for on-line listening.
  6. The final Faraday Research Seminar of this term entitled ‘Natural History: from Aristotle to Linnaeus - Influences on the Early Modern Relation between the Bible and Science’ will be given by Dr. Per Landgren from Oxford University on Tuesday 12th June at 1.00 p.m. in the Garden Seminar Room of St. Edmund’s College. In addition to being a historian, Dr Landgren also served as an MP in the Swedish Parliament during the period 1998-2006 where he was also Deputy Secretary of State at the Prime Minister’s Office.
  7. The LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion) team conducted two workshops this month. One was with St Edward's School in Windsor. Pupils discussed a range of topics and then wrote letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury asking him to explain how he sees the relationships between science and religion. The video that was recorded during the session will be put alongside a video of Dr Rowan Williams providing his answers. A second workshop, held at the Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge, saw Professor Bob White in conversation with pupils from St Bede's School talking about Natural Disasters.
  8. "Robots, God, Free Will and a Big Bang" is the title for a day-long event for secondary school pupils to be held at Reading University on 25th September 2012. It will be an opportunity, organised by the LASAR team, for secondary school pupils and teachers to engage with activities and questions that bridge science and religion. Those questions include, "Can a robot have a mind?" and "Do humans really have free will?" The event is free and details can be found on the FaradaySchools website at www.faradayschools.com
  9. The LASAR conference on 19th May was a chance to get to grips with why it is important to teach about the relationships between science and religion in school education - and also how in practice to teach the concepts and skills that can help pupils progress in their thinking. The first session by Prof. John Brooke about Newton was repeatedly said in feedback on the day to have been 'inspiring' and the conference as a whole 'outstanding'. The LASAR team plan to capture the essence of the day in a book designed for science and Religious Studies teachers.
  10. Several new Faraday research projects began at the beginning of this academic year and are summarized in the research section of the Faraday web-site. One of the projects entitled ‘Restoring Spiritual Values to European Science’ has Prof. John Wood as PI with Dr Diana Beech working as the post doc on the project. Dr Beech has instigated the project by means of several initial trips to Brussels, where the project has been met with great enthusiasm by both policymakers and advisors in the area of research and innovation. Dr Beech is currently in the midst of preparing a survey which will be sent out to over 100 stakeholders across the entire European R&D spectrum – from academia to industry – and across all 27 member states.
  11. As usual the past month has seen Faraday speakers out and about giving lectures, with the Director speaking at the Surrey local group of Christians in Science. Bob White gave talks to capacity audiences of men’s groups in Kings Langley, St Andrew the Great church in Cambridge, and Tunbridge Wells, all accompanied by excellent food (it is well known that the route to men’s brains is via their stomachs). The Revd Dr Rodney Holder led a day conference on ‘Is the Universe Designed?’ for clergy in the Diocese of Hereford as part of the Diocese’s Continuing Ministerial Education programme. He also preached on science and faith at Choral Evensong in Selwyn College Chapel, Cambridge.

 

Denis Alexander       Bob White

[Director]                    [Associate Director]