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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 85 - February 2013

Paragraph Contents
1.  Lent Term seminars
2.  Faraday public lecture
3.  January course review
4.  March short course
5.  Summer course
6.  UAB essay competition prize winners
7.  Denis Alexander Gifford Lectures
8.  Staff activities
9.  Rodney Holder new publications
10.  LASAR news
11.  New Faraday paper
12.  The Isaac Newton Guide Book
13.  Faraday smartphone app

1. For the first seminar of the new term Prof. Antony Hewish FRS (Nobel Laureate in radio astronomy) spoke to an audience of 75 on ‘My life in science and religion – a personal story.’ The next seminar on ‘Science and the Investigation of New Testament Documents’ will be given by Dr. Dirk Jongkind, fellow of St. Edmund’s College, at 13.00 on Tuesday 5th February in the Garden Room at St. Edmund’s College. Then on February 19th Prof. Niels Gregersen from the University of Copenhagen will be speaking on ‘The Role of Thought Experiments in Science and Theology’ [].

2. This term’s Faraday lecture will take place at 5.30p.m. on Thursday 7th March. Entitled “Machines in the Image of God?” it will be given by Prof. Peter Robinson from the Computer Laboratory, the University of Cambridge. The venue will be the Queen’s Lecture Theatre at Emanuel College. For more details see Lectures.php3. The January Faraday ‘intensive’ course for ordinands of the Cambridge Federation was a great success. Topics covered included the big bang, evolution, environmental concern, and the Test of Faith course. Delegates spent a particularly rewarding day with Dr Alasdair Coles who talked on topics very relevant to parish ministry, including the religious experience of sufferers from brain disease.

4. The next Faraday course ‘An Introduction to Science and Religion’, aimed primarily at scientists, is taking place 22-24 March 2013, and details may be found on The Faraday Institute website []. There is a list of very high profile speakers for this course, including Prof. Keith Ward and Prof. John Hedley Brooke. A poster about the course is attached to this newsletter – please publicise it if you can.

5. Information about The Faraday Institute Summer Course 2013, entitled ‘Science and Religion – Two Paths to Truth?’ has also just been posted on the web. This course is also open for applications and will take place 7-13 July 2013 (see for details of both courses and also for Faraday collaborative courses taking place overseas).

6. Prizes were awarded in the 2012 Uses and Abuses of Biology (UAB) essay competition, which looked at the philosophical and moral implications of contemporary genetics and genetic technology. Amber Gabb (University of Bristol) won the first prize of £1000, Alex Cagan (University of Cambridge) won the second prize of £500 and Kate Howard (University of Bristol) the third prize of £250. For details of the winners and copies of their essays see the UAB website (

7. The Gifford Lectures, given at St. Andrew’s University in Scotland on 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th December on ‘Genes, Determinism and God’ by the Emeritus Director, Denis Alexander, may now be found on-line at: This past month Denis Alexander spoke to the Oxford Christian Graduates Society on the topic ‘Genes, Determinism and God’.

8. The director, Bob White, spoke to a full meeting on ‘Are Natural Disasters Acts of God?’ for the Bible and Science Group in Worcester. The new Course Director, Dr Hilary Marlow, spoke on ‘Our Environment: Why Care?’ at Cranfield University Christian Union on 24th January. Ruth Bancewicz and Colin Bell gave seminars for a group from Bethel University, Minnesota, USA, who visited the Faraday Institute recently.

9. January has seen the publication of the following by retiring Course Director Dr Rodney Holder:
• Rodney Holder and Simon Mitton (eds.), Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy, Heidelberg: Springer;
• Rodney Holder, ‘Natural Theology in the Twentieth Century’, in Russell Re Manning (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology, Oxford: Oxford University Press;
• Rodney Holder, ‘An Augustinian Perspective on Creation and Evolution’, in John Doody, Adam Goldstein and Kim Paffenroth (eds.), Augustine and Science, Series Augustine in Conversation: Tradition and Innovation, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

10. The LASAR team delivered a workshop at the ASE (Association for Science Education) annual meeting at the beginning of January, looking at the implications of the research for science teaching. The FaradaySchools website ( has details of two free events for schools - in June and September - and also a one-off training day in March for RE and Science teachers. This will include looking at 'what do children need to know about what it means to be human, in light of cybernetics and human enhancement.'

11. Those interested in the topic of brain and free-will may be interested to know that a new Faraday Paper has just been posted on the Faraday web-site (under Resources) entitled 'The Libet experiment and its implications for conscious will' by Dr Peter Clarke of the University of Lausanne. This is Paper no 17 in the series and like all the other Faraday Papers is available for free download or in print format via the on-line Shop. Those familiar with the 'brain and free-will' field will know about Benjamin Libet's famous experiments that, some people think, challenge the reality of free-will. Dr Clarke's Paper provides an elegant and very up-to-date introduction to the literature on this topic.

12. The Isaac Newton Guide Book has just been published by The Faraday Institute, in a special limited edition. The main shipment of the books is expected during the next few weeks. Advance orders may be made via the Faraday on-line shop and the book will be sent out as soon as it arrives. The RRP is £25 but the on-line discounted price is £15. A brochure describing The Isaac Newton Guide Book is available from resources/NewtonBrochure.pdf. The book, with a Preface by Prof. Stephen Hawking, includes the text of Let Newton Be!, a play sponsored by The Faraday Institute, written by Craig Baxter and produced by the Menagerie Theatre Company, together with eight specially commissioned essays about Newton by experts in the field, all lavishly illustrated in colour with 86 photos. In addition, a DVD of the professionally filmed play is included with the book. As Prof. Ronald Numbers comments: “This beautifully illustrated volume includes essays by eight of the leading Newton scholars working today. I know of no better introduction or more trustworthy introduction to the life and times of this scientific genius, among the greatest who ever lived.”

13. The Faraday Institute is pleased to announce the launch of a new smartphone app, available for Android handsets (e.g. Samsung, HTC) and iPhones. The app is a way for the best of the Institute's on-line content - such as the newsfeed, event calendar, YouTube clips, and staff contact information - to be easily accessible by even more people worldwide. The app has been developed by Manchester-based company Mickey & Mallory. We encourage you to download and try out the app, if you use one of the relevant devices, and to tell your friends and colleagues about it.

The Android platform app can be found in the Google Play store at:

The iPhone app can be found in iTunes online at:

Bob White Meric Srokosz
[Director] [Associate Director]