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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 119 - January 2016

January 2015 Newsletter No.119
10 Year Anniversary
Happy New Year to you all. Here at the Faraday Institute we are excited to start 2016, as this January marks our 10 year anniversary. With this in mind there will be various activities and information in our newsletters as part of our celebrations during the year.
This month we start with a selection of reflections from a cross-section of our staff, to give you a flavour of life at the Institute. Next month you will have the opportunity to listen to interviews with our founders; Emeritus Director Denis Alexander and current Director Bob White. They will look back and explore the journey of the Institute, as well as looking forward to what the future may hold.
There are also the regular up-dates of ‘Upcoming Events’ and information on the activities of our staff. 

We hope you enjoy finding out more about us and the team. 
Upcoming Events

26 January 2016
Research Seminar 
Dr James Moore
'Young Wallace'

9 February 2016
Research Seminar
Prof. Cees Dekker
My meandering path within the lands of science and faith 

11 February 2016
Book Launch
Prof. Andrew Briggs & Roger Wagner
The Penultimate Curiosity: Science Religion and The Big Questions

23 February 2016
Research Seminar 
Prof. Monica Grady
Comets and Asteroids, Moon and Mars, Science and Faith - and Life and Death 
Life at the Faraday Institute

Various staff reflect on their time and experiences so far. 

Roger Abbott (Research Associate)
Working for the Faraday Institute, on natural disasters has been an immense privilege and challenge, to actually visit locations of terrible natural disaster, to engage in ethnographic work, recording the most terrible moments in people's lives, with a view to learning lessons for disaster risk reduction in the future. I cannot describe adequately the admiration and respect I have gained for such survivors, and yet how much I have come to regret the negative impacts of corrupt influences upon such scenarios. It has been a honour to be given these opportunities for such important research by Faraday.

Denis Alexander (Emeritus Director)
After 40 years in the biological research community, working with the Faraday Team, with many different researchers and admin staff coming and going over our first ten years, has been a huge privilege. In many ways it's like working with a lab research team, except one's neurons now get stretched into history, philosophy, theology, sociology and many different science disciplines. Interdisciplinary research is huge fun and is recommended to all those who feel imprisoned by tight disciplinary constraints

Ruth Bancewicz (Senior Research Associate)
Over the years it has been wonderful to hear from people who are encouraged by our work. I remember one student who attended a talk I gave at a Christian conference, who asked how he should respond when people asked him about evolution. I said he could mention some of the eminent scientists who are also people of faith, and who find that the science of evolutionary biology is entirely compatible with the biblical account of creation. I mentioned Professor Simon Conway Morris, the palaeontologist who often speaks at Faraday events, and recommended Denis Alexander’s book “Creation or Evolution: Do we have to choose?” The following year I met the same student at another conference, and noticed that he was reading Richard Dawkins. He spoke to me about how he had read Dr Alexander’s book and was now confident to engage in the conversation about science and faith. In between the challenges of research, project management and creative communication, it is great to know that we are helping to move the conversation on from conflict to constructive engagement..

Cara Daneel (Research Assistant)
I have been so encouraged in my science and faith since starting work for the Faraday Institute and am confident and glad that I will continue to grow as my work here continues. Thank you to all involved in making the Institute what it is today and in the years to come.

Keith Fox (Associate Director)
I’ve been working at the Institute for about 6 months and I’ve been impressed by the commitment of the staff who work together as a team to make things happen. I have been stimulated and challenged by conversations with them and from listening to the wisdom from the wide range speakers who speak at the courses and seminars.

Rodney Holder  (Faraday Associate)
One of the wonderfully enriching aspects of life at the Faraday Institute has been the international dimension.  People from all parts of the globe have come to our courses, and, responding to demand, we have travelled to many parts of the world to put on collaborative courses overseas, and in the process of spreading the positive relationship between faith and science, we have made many new friends.

Hilary Marlow (Course Director)
There is always something new to learn or fresh ideas to explore at the Faraday Institute and I love the stimulation of working with people from all kinds of subject disciplines. Whether it is the ethical implications of the new CRISPR technology in genetics or philosophical debate on the mind/brain distinction, here at Faraday we are always keen to tackle issues and topics at the cutting edge of science and religion. Our Autumn short course is no exception:  ‘Reality, Robots and Religion: Human Identity in an Age of Machines’ will take place on 16-18 September 2016 in Cambridge. Watch this space or keep an eye on the website for details.

Rachel Simonson (Institute Administrator and Office Manager)
My first year at the Faraday has been a bit of a whirlwind, but it is great to really feel "at home" now.  I have learned such a lot. The courses have been a highlight (with some people coming on more than one!) and I love meeting our supporters at the regular research seminars and other events.  I have been responsible for organising the recruitment of several wonderful new team members and really enjoy encouraging them to get involved too. Thank you or your patience, support and encouragement.

Amy Unsworth (Research Associate)
I am currently busy writing papers about the results of my sociological study on public attitudes to evolution. The results reveal a more fascinating and complex picture of science and faith in contemporary society than I ever imagined, and I look forward to being able to publicise them more widely later this year.
Summer Course 11
Science and Religion: Conversations between Worldviews

Lucy CavendishCollege, Cambridge: 3-8 July, 2016
What does science have to do with religion? Are they separate worldviews, perhaps even conflicting ones that should be kept apart at all costs or can they be brought into constructive conversation? How have scientists from different religious traditions brought together their faith and science? In this week-long course, we will explore the relationship between science and religion from a variety of perspectives – scientific, historical, theological and philosophical. A team of world-renowned speakers from a range of disciplines will contribute to the dialogue from their own experience and area of expertise in the keynote lectures each morning. In the afternoons, optional seminars on a range of topics will enable us to explore specific areas in more depth.
Book here or for more information contact Rachel Simonson on
Deadline for applications: May 23, 2016
Deadline for Bursary applications: April 25, 2016
Faraday out and about in January
20-30 January Denis Alexander be lecturing at Westmont College, California, followed by lectures for the Veritas Forum in Canada at universities and research institutes in Ottawa, Toronto, Waterloo and Hamilton.
1 February Keith Fox will be speaking at God and the Big Bang, St Mary's High, Herts.
10 February Roger Abbott will be speaking on the topic of "The Absurdity of Natural Disasters: a scientific and theological perspective"  at the Christians in Science meeting in Leeds 
12-13 February Denis Alexander will be speaking at the Annual Student Christian Medical Fellowship Conference
17 February Keith Fox will be speaking at the Three Counties Christians in Science group, Camberley on “Genes and Identity”.
25 February Roger Abbott will be speaking on the topic of "The Absurdity of Natural Disasters: a scientific and theological perspective"  at the Histon Methodist Church – ‘Big Issues’ series