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Faraday Institute Newsletter No. 73 - February 2012

Contents (numbers refer to paragraphs)
1. Short Course 21
2. Faraday public lecture
3. Research seminars
4. Science Festival
5. LASAR conference
6. Directors’ talks

There is still room to book on to our next Faraday Course which promises to be a really stimulating Course! Remember that there are generous discounts for students and post docs. The topic is ‘Science, Religion and Atheism’ (30 March – 1 April) and we have an outstanding group of speakers to help us on this challenging topic. The aim of this course is not to debate the existence of God but to address questions such as 'Does the science-religion discussion look any different if the narrators are atheists or theists?'  We have invited a balanced mix of atheists, agnostics and theists to speak at the course. The speakers include Prof. Michael Ruse, Prof. Keith Ward, Prof. Simon Conway Morris, Dr Fern Elsdon-Baker, Dr Rodney Holder, Dr Mark Vernon, Dr Stephen Law and Dr Allan Chapman. More details plus on-line registration can be found at

On Tuesday 14th February at 5.30 p.m. in the Queen’s Lecture Theatre at Emmanuel College, we have one of Europe’s best-known theologians, Prof.  Jürgen Moltmann, previously Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of Tübingen, giving this term’s Faraday Public Lecture under the title ‘From Physics to Theology – a Personal Story’.  Prof. Moltmann, who spent several years in British prisoner-of-war camps, will be recounting how the profound experiences that he had during the Second World War led him from physics into a career in theology. He has made important contributions to the dialogue between theology and science ever since. An event not to be missed by those living in the Cambridge area!

This month’s research seminars promise to be equally interesting and will be by Dr. William Carroll [Oxford University] on Tuesday Feb 7th at 1.00 p.m. on  ‘Creation and Contemporary Science: The Legacy of Thomas Aquinas’ and then on Feb 21st Dr Paul Fairchild, co-Director of Oxford University’s Stem Cell Institute, will be speaking on ‘Pluripotent Stem Cells: Medical Dream or Ethical Nightmare’.

Every year The Faraday Institute organizes panel discussions as part of the University’s Festivals. The annual Cambridge Science Festival is coming up soon and our Festival Event this time will be a panel discussion on the topic ‘Brain, Mind, Neurons and Free-Will'. The event will be held in the Queen’s Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College, at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday 17th March. The distinguished panel will comprise Prof. Raymond Tallis (well-known author and polymath, originally at the University of Manchester), Prof. Barry Smith (acting Director of the Institute of Philosophy in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London), Dr Alasdair Coles (neuroscientist, Dept of Medicine, University of Cambridge) and Prof. Peter Clarke (neuroscientist, University of Lausanne). The lecture theatre is not that big so you are advised to arrive early if you want a seat. Entrance is free. The best way to find the lecture theatre is to head for the Eagle Pub (made famous by Watson and Crick) and head down the passage-way to the right of the Pub as you face it.
The Test of Faith US homeschool material is now being trialled. We have enough male volunteers, but if any female students would be interested in joining the trial please contact Abigail McFarthing (

The LASAR (Learning About Science and Religion) project team are now embarking on their third and final year of data gathering to discover pupils' and teachers views about the relationships between science and religion. Through interviews and questionnaires in schools spread across England, the project is gathering what promises to be an incredible insight into pupils' perceptions and attitudes within the secondary school context. Findings thus far will be presented at the LASAR conference on Saturday 19th May, 2012 in Cambridge. Please book your space now if you'd like to attend. The title of the Workshop is ‘Creativity, Creation and a Big Bang: Science and Religion in the School Curriculum’. To find out more details and to register visit Conference.php.

This past month saw the Director speaking at a day conference in Paris attended by 100 delegates and organized by the Réseau des Scientifiques Evangéliques, and Ruth Bancewicz spoke at the Worcester Bible and Science group. A group from Bethel University, St Paul, Minnesota, visited the Faraday Institute and were given talks by Dr Rodney Holder (‘Big Bang, Cosmology and the Fine-Tuned Universe’) and Dr Ruth Bancewicz (Test of Faith, with extracts from DVD).

Denis Alexander & Bob White
[Director]  [Associate Director]