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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 132 - February 2017

February 2017 Newsletter No. 132
Lent Term Public Lecture: Science and Christianity: Conflict or Cooperation? 
Prof. Roger Trigg

5.30 pm Thursday 2 March, 2017
Garden Room, St Edmund's College CB3 0BN

Can science explain everything, including the fact of religious belief itself? Can it go so far as to disprove the existence of God? One response is to say that science and Christianity just deal with different questions and are complementary. Yet if this is God's world, a scientific search for truth about it must be of religious significance. Might it even be that Christian belief can underpin that search for truth by validating its assumption of an orderly and comprehensible reality?

Our termly lectures are free of charge and there is no need to book. They are followed by a free drinks reception and an opportunity to talk informally with the speaker.

Upcoming Faraday Courses 

We have several exciting Faraday Courses coming up coving an array of topics, below are the featured ones this month.

Reading the World: Science and Sacred Texts
How do people read and understand their sacred scriptures in a scientific age? How do the scriptures relate to scientific questions surrounding human origins, cosmology and ecology? How have the Abrahamic faiths negotiated between scripture and science throughout their long histories, and how do they do so today?
The focus of this weekend course will be the Bible and the Qur’an and their reception and interpretation in Christianity and Islam respectively. Lectures will be delivered by scholars with expertise in each tradition from the perspectives of history, theology and philosophy, as well as contemporary social science.
The weekend is aimed at interested people from a variety of backgrounds, rather than at specialists in any particular discipline. For more details and to book click

Cambridge Perspectives on Science and Religion 
Our Summer Course this year is different from all the courses that we have run since 2006. This time we are aiming to show-case Cambridge University Science and Religion, so nearly all the speakers are from Cambridge. Those not presently at Cambridge have close historical links with the University.
There are plenty of top scientists on the Programme this year, so we hope that many scientists in particular will be interested in coming. Having said that, all our Courses are open to those from any disciplinary background and all speakers are encouraged to make their talks accessible to all. 
The big questions that this Course addresses are perennial ones. Does science tell us all we need to know about the world? What philosophical and theological questions does scientific progress raise? How have science and religion interacted in the past and how do they do so today? What are the ethical issues arising from new scientific and technological discoveries? 

Come and enjoy the beautiful surrounding of a Cambridge College while you grapple with these and other questions in the dialogue between science and religion. There will be plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion. Every summer after the Course is over, delegates go away with a new network of friends and contacts in the science and religion field.For more details and to book click
Faraday ‘out and about’ in March

 23 March Ruth Bancewicz (Senior Research Associate of the Faraday Institute) will in conversation with Prof. John Bryant and Prof Timothy Lenton (University of Exeter) at Exeter Cathedral on the topic “Awe, Wonder and Beauty in Science: a route to God – or not?”  as part of the On Common Ground: Science and Faith in conversation series.

6 March Rodney Holder will be speaking on “Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?” at Trinity Meeting Place, Holy Trinity Church, Norwich NR2 2BJ
Research Seminar Series 
We have one more Research Seminar left in this term's series

7 March 
Can God Play Dice?: Chance and the Question of Metaphysical Continuity between Creator and Creation
Professor Ian McFarland (Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University). 

Our seminars are held at 1.00 p.m. on alternate Tuesdays during term in St Edmund’s College. A free light buffet lunch and drinks are served from 12.30 p.m. onwards. All are welcome.
Other Faraday Courses
Faraday Day Course in Cardiff
Big Questions in Science and Faith
25 March Cardiff
A Rocha/Faraday Course in France
Creation, Christian Faith and a Precious World
25 June -1 July Provence
Additional Faraday Events
3 March
(10:00 - 17:00)

Workshop on ‘Faith, Energy and Society’
Garden Room St Edmund's College.
The University of Cambridge’s Strategic Research Initiative for energy researchers, Energy@Cambridge, will be holding a workshop on "Faith, Energy and Society", in partnership with The Faraday Institute, Woolf Institute, Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry (VHI), Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics (KLICE). To register: please complete your details here.
Can't make our events in person, don't worry, all of our seminars, talks, lectures and public festivals are available on the Multimedia part of our website. We have over 600 talks for you to watch or listen at your convenience. 
The Faraday Institute at the Cambridge Science Festival
"With events from astronomy to zoology, the 2017 Cambridge Science Festival welcomes everyone to explore, discuss and debate Cambridge Science through talks, hands-on activities performances, exhibitions and films." This year the theme is ‘getting personal’, looking at health and disease, our place in the world and our impact on the environment in which we live. We are delighted to have a presence at four events at this year’s University of Cambridge Science Festival.

Monday 13 March: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Exhibition Showcase

St John's College Old Divinity School, All Saints Passage, CB2 1TP

Interested in the Big Questions of life, purpose and meaning? Meet the team from the Faraday Institute and explore the interaction of science and religion, from AI and identity; genome modification and human dignity; to the wonders of the living world. More information available here 
Screening of a recording of the play "The God Particle"
Monday 13 March: 6:30pm - 8:30pm

St John's College Old Divinity School, Main Lecture Theatre, All Saints Passage, CB2 1TP

A scientist and a vicar walk into a bar. Joining forces to solve a perplexing mystery. They discover the real meaning of faith, knowledge, love and the importance of keeping an open mind.
Quote: The God Particle is a romantic comedy with a hint of sci-fi from award-winning co-writer of BBC1’s Miranda, BBC3’s Bluestone 42 and Radio 4’s Another Case of Milton Jones. It’s deep, smart, and very funny.
“...moments of great hilarity... quite simply a show that just works.” **** Three Weeks, Edinburgh Fringe
Filmed at a performance of the play in front of a live audience at The Merlin Theatre in Frome, this screening will be followed by a panel discussion including Director James Cary, Vicar and scientist Canon Victoria Johnson, philosopher of physics Revd Dr Shaun Henson and theologian and philosopher Jamie Boulding. This is a free event and booking is essential.
Sunday 19 March: 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Science Festival Choral Evensong

University Church, Great St Mary's Senate House Hill, CB2 3PQ
A traditional service of Choral Evensong according to the Book of Common Prayer in the University Church, with a visiting preacher, to celebrate the Science Festival.
The speaker will be Revd Dr Roger Abbott, Research Associate at the Faraday Institute, who will discuss the cultural and religious impacts of natural disasters. More information here

Saturday 25 March: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Open House on Science and Religion

Merton Hall Farmhouse, Thompson Avenue, CB3 0FD
Visit the University Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Centre and meet staff from the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, staff from the forthcoming Ely Science Festival, and Muslim friends who are interested in the interface between Islam and Science. Further details here.
Highlights of where Faraday have been in the last few months

In addition to the outreach we mentioned in last month’s Newsletter, here are some more highlights:
Alexander Massmann and Rodney Holder travelled to Oxford for the a day conference on “Abortion, Disability and the Law.”
Rodney Holder delivered the second of the Spring Series of Leweston Lectures  at Leweston School in Sherborne. Speaking on the subject of “God and the Big Bang”, he “captivated the audience, making a truly complex subject highly accessible and thoroughly entertaining.” A full report can be read here.

Rodney Holder also gave a talk entitled ‘Fine-Tuning and the Argument from Design’ to a group attending the 19th International Disciplinary Seminar ‘What differentiates human persons from animals and machines?’ at Netherhall House in London organized by Professor Antoine Suarez of the Center for Quantum Philosophy, Geneva.
Roger Abbott has been in Somerset conducting fieldwork interviewing flood survivors of winter 2014.
Andrew Jackson spoke at the Science Park meeting Parks at One on the topic “Does God Exist?”
Keith Fox has given the following three inspirational talks:
  • Reasonable Faith (Highfield Church Southampton) - "How does evolution fit with Christian Faith?"
  • Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge "Science and Christianity: are they compatible?"
  • Southampton Christian Union Apologetics Group: "Exploring God and the Origins of Life on Earth"
Lizzie Henderson, our Youth and School Outreach Officer, has started the year continuing to expand our schools’ resources and delivering some fantastic Faraday school workshops and lessons as well as day sessions with the God and the Big Bang Project, in a variety of settings all over the country, here are a selection of some of the sessions:
  • God and the Big Bang Events - St Bede’s: Surrey and Portsmouth “Fossils & Faith" for 17-18 year olds.
  • Barrington Primary School – “Fossils & Faith: Exploring the history of life on earth” for 9-11 year olds.
  • St John's Church, Ipswich - After School Club “Science and the Bible: Creation and other Big Questions” for 9-11 year olds. Feedback from church group leader: “We all really enjoyed the visit. Lizzie spoke clearly, had fun with them and answered their questions respectful. Feedback from mothers this morning suggests that the boys talked about it afterwards, which is always great. It obviously tied in with the things they have been thinking about in school, which was good. They paid attention and asked relevant questions, showing that they were engaged. I’m just sorry we didn’t have a longer session”
National British Science Week kicks off in March and Lizzie will be travelling the country delivering more interactive and thought provoking sessions for that as well as her normal school schedule. Watch this space to find out how they went.

Ruth Bancewicz spoke on “God in the Lab: When curiosity leads to wonder, awe, and the big questions of life” as part of a three lecture series funded by Scientists in Congregations in Oxford.

We hosted a group of 30 students from Bethel University, Minnesota. Ruth Bancewicz & Keith Fox spoke on ‘Wonders of the Living World’ and ‘God and DNA’

Photograph of the Bethal University students at The Faraday Institute.
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