Skip navigation to content

Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 87 - April 2013

1. Faraday Seminars
2. Lent Term Faraday Lecture
3. Science Week report
4. Faraday Courses - March
5. Faraday Courses - Summer
6. Faraday Courses - Overseas
7. Faraday staff activities
8. LASAR news
9. Denis Alexander talk
10. Isaac Newton Guide Book
11. Georges Lemaître book
12. Faraday Paper in Turkish
13. Faraday Institute smartphone app

1. The final seminar of the Lent Term was on ‘Is Teleology still a Useful Concept in Biology’ by Dr Harvey McMahon FRS, from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. The seminar series will resume next term with a talk entitled ‘Emergence, Top Down Causation and Reductionism’ by Templeton Prize Laureate Professor George Ellis FRS, from the University of Cape Town, at 13.00 on Tuesday 30th April in the Garden Seminar Room at St. Edmund’s College []. As usual the seminar will be preceded by a free buffet lunch from 12.30 p.m.

2. This term’s Faraday lecture was given by Prof. Peter Robinson from the Computer Laboratory, the University of Cambridge on Thursday 7th March. Entitled “Machines in the Image of God?” it will be available to view on-line in due course.

3. The Faraday Institute hosted a talk this past month by Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Director of the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion Programme and Senior Project Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope at NASA, as part of the University of Cambridge's annual Science Festival. Speaking on the topic of "Other worlds: exoplanets and discovering life beyond Earth", Dr. Wiseman captivated her audience of over 200 people with her talk on how exoplanets' atmospheres might yield evidence of biological activity, and explored the implications for science and religion of whether life can thrive beyond Earth. Her talk will be available on the Faraday website soon. During her visit, The Faraday Institute is also arranged talks by Dr. Wiseman in three local Cambridge schools.

4. The Faraday course ‘An Introduction to Science and Religion’ took place 22-24 March 2013 and was attended by 43 participants from a number of countries, including Brazil, Canada and Slovakia, as well as the UK. The high profile list of speakers included Revd Dr John Polkinghorne, Prof. Keith Ward and Prof. John Hedley Brooke, and the participants warmly appreciated the excellent quality of the lectures and the opportunity for discussion and interaction with the speakers, many of whom stayed for the whole weekend.

5. Information about The Faraday Institute Summer Course 2013, entitled ‘Science and Religion – Two Paths to Truth?’ is available on the web. This course is also open for applications and will take place 7-13 July 2013.
See for details. Bursaries are available for those from low-income countries and, thanks to the St Gabriel Trust, for those training to teach RE – see the website for more details.

6. Plans are well underway for three overseas courses co-sponsored by The Faraday Institute in collaboration with local institutions abroad. In May, Dr Denis Alexander (Emeritus Director) and Revd Dr Rodney Holder (former Course Director) will travel to Central America to speak at courses in Mexico (May 13th-14th) and Guatemala (May 16th-19th). In June, Dr Holder, along with Dr Hilary Marlow (Course Director) will participate in a Science and Religion Conference in St Petersburg, Russia, hosted by the St Petersburg School of Religion and Philosophy (June 27th-30th).  Further details of all these courses can be found on the website:

7. This month the Associate Director Meric Srokosz gave a seminar entitled ‘Science and Faith’ at the Pioneer Annual Leaders Conference in Southampton. The Course Director Hilary Marlow spoke on ‘Becoming Truly Human’ at Isca Church, Exeter and on ‘The Environment: Why Care? at Christchurch, Exmouth. Dr Ruth Bancewicz gave a lecture on imagination, beauty and awe at University College, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Dr Denis Alexander took a morning workshop on creation and evolution for more than 200 people at Christ Church, Woking. Dr Rodney Holder gave the sermon, entitled ‘I will consider thy heavens’, at a special Choral Evensong in Great St Mary’s, the University Church, for the Cambridge University Science Festival. Dr Diana Beech gave a paper to the 'Education Across Borders' research forum in Cambridge. Her paper was entitled 'The European Research Area under Horizon 2020: Is it really "Preparing Europe for a New Renaissance"?'

8. LASAR offers a distance-learning module in Children's Developing Thinking about Science and Religion, organised via the University of Reading. It runs for 10 weeks after the Easter break and can be studied 'stand alone' or as part of a Masters. It includes conducting a minor piece of research and writing a dissertation. If you are considering doing a PhD in a related theme, it's a good way to build your application. To learn more e-mail Dr Berry Billingsley, or visit

9. The Emeritus Director Dr Alexander will be the plenary speaker at the “Forming a Christian mind” conference on 20th April in Cambridge (for more details see
10. Copies of the The Isaac Newton Guide Book (including a DVD of the play Let Newton Be!), recently published by The Faraday Institute, are now available. These can be purchased via the Faraday online shop: .

The RRP is £25 but it is available via the Faraday shop for the discounted price of £15. Orders need to specify whether you need a PAL (Europe) or NTSC (North America) format DVD. A promotional brochure can be downloaded from Lavishly illustrated in colour with 83 photographs, this book is a ‘must-buy’ for anyone interested in the life and thought of Sir Isaac Newton.

11. Copies of Georges Lemaître: Life, Science and Legacy, edited by Rodney Holder and Simon Mitton, will be available from the Faraday online shop shortly. The book examines the historical, cosmological and theological issues surrounding the development of the Big Bang theory from the pioneering work of Lemaître up to the present day.

12. A Turkish translation of Faraday Paper No.1 “The science and religion debate – an introduction” has just been posted on the Faraday website and is available for download [].

13. Downloads of The Faraday Institute’s new smartphone app, available for Android handsets (e.g. Samsung, HTC) and iPhones, continue apace. The app is a good way for the Institute's online content - such as the newsfeed, event calendar, YouTube clips, and staff contact information - to be easily accessible by even more people worldwide.

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]