Trotter Lecture Series
The Trotter Prize in Information, Complexity and Inference is awarded annually for pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of information, complexity and inference in illuminating the mechanisms and wonder of nature. The Trotter Lecture seeks to reveal connections between science and religion, often viewed in academia as non-overlapping, if not rival, worldviews.
Know a pioneer in this area?
Recipients of the Trotter Prize are invited to deliver a lecture at Texas A&M University under the Trotter Prize Endowed Lecture Series and receive a cash award.
About the Trotters
The endowed lecture series and its associated prize are being established to honor the memory of Dr. Ide P. Trotter Sr., former dean of the Texas A&M Graduate School. Trotter served in numerous administrative capacities at Texas A&M, including a head of the Department of Agronomy (1936-1944); director of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service (1944-1948); dean of the Graduate School (1949-1956); and associate dean of the Graduate School and extension consultant for professional improvement (1956-1960). As dean of the Graduate School, he initiated a graduate lecture series. Trotter’s son, Dr. Ide P. Trotter Jr., along with his wife, Luella H. Trotter, decided to establish the lecture series to assist in carrying on at Texas A&M the broad educational objectives championed by his father.
(Ide P. Trotter Family, circa 1950; photo courtesy Cushing Memorial Library)
Professor of Practice of the Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Science and Religion: Two Truths or One?
Lightman, a novelist and essayist in addition to a physicist and educator, is Professor of the Practice of the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is one of the first people to have a joint faculty appointment in both the sciences and the humanities, an intersection he is renowned for exploring in both his thinking and writing. Lightman earned his Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1974 and was a postdoctoral fellow in astrophysics at Cornell University (1974-1976) prior to beginning his independent academic career as an assistant professor at Harvard University (1976-1979). He then spent 10 years as a senior research scientist at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before joining the MIT faculty in 1989. After a 25-year career in theoretical physics and astronomy probing such topics as accretion disks, stellar dynamics, relativistic plasmas, and the weak equivalence principle, Lightman transitioned his full focus to science-related literary endeavors. From 1991 to 1997, he headed MIT’s Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies and chaired a committee that in 2001 instituted a communication requirement for all undergraduates in each of their four years. He has authored dozens of books on the human implications of science, including the 1992 international bestseller Einstein’s Dreams that has been translated into more than 30 languages and adapted into multiple independent theatrical and musical productions worldwide, most recently in 2019 as a play at the off-Broadway Prospect Theater in New York. His 2000 novel, The Diagnosis, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Lightman’s career works span essays and fables (The Accidental Universe) as well as advanced textbooks (Problem Book in Relativity and Astrophysics). His essays, articles, and stories also have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, Nautilus, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. In addition to holding six honorary doctorates, he is founder and director of the Harpswell Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance a new generation of women leaders in Southeast Asia.
Professor of Physics, University of Oxford
Science and Humanity
Steane is a professor of physics at the University of Oxford, where he is a Fellow of Exeter College. He earned both his bachelor of arts in physics (1987) and D.Phil. in physics (1991) from Oxford, where he was a Junior Research Fellow of Merton College (1990-1992) and an Oxford-based Royal Society University Research Fellow (1995-1999) after completing postdoctoral study at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris (1993-1994). While at Oxford, he has been a Fellow by Special Election (1996-1999) and a lecturer in physics (1998-1999) of St. Edmund Hall as well as a University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in Physics of Exeter College (1999-2002) prior to being awarded the title of Professor in 2002. He also has been a guest researcher at the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1996) and a visiting professor at both the University of Innsbruck (1999) and the University of Ulm (2006). Steane’s experimental and theoretical research interests center on fundamental questions in physics, particularly the nature of quantum mechanics and its intersection with classical information theory. He co-discovered quantum error correction, introducing a class of codes now called Calderbank Shor Steane (CSS) codes, for which he was recognized with the Institute of Physics’ Maxwell Medal and Prize in 2000. The simplest such code, called the Steane code, is a perfect CSS code capable of correcting arbitrary single qubit errors. His research group, co-led by David Lucas, also pioneered the ion trap approach to quantum computing. In addition to two undergraduate physics textbooks, Steane has authored two popular books, The Wonderful World of Relativity: A Precise Guide for the General Reader and Faithful to Science: The Role of Science in Religion, both published by Oxford University Press (OUP) in 2011 and 2014, respectively. In 2018, he published Science and Humanity: A Humane Philosophy of Science and Religion, also with OUP. He has given numerous public lectures and school demonstrations in physics and taught Sunday school groups for many years.
Polymer Scientist, Texas A&M University
The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories
Bradley, a polymer scientist, is a professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M University and a distinguished professor emeritus of mechanical engineering at Baylor University. He joined the Texas A&M faculty in 1976 and served 10 years as director of the Polymer Technology Center and as head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. During his 24 years at Texas A&M, Bradley helped develop a nationally recognized program in polymeric composite materials. He received the Society of Plastics Engineering’s 2011 Outstanding Professor Award for the United States, Canada, and Great Britain along with five Texas A&M research awards for his career work in polymers and polymeric composite materials that was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Sponsored Research, and NASA, as well as many Fortune 500 companies for which he continues to serve as a consultant. Bradley served eight years on the Baylor faculty, where his research was geared toward helping the poorest people in under-developed parts of the world. He has authored more than 150 refereed research publications, including book chapters, articles in archival journals, and refereed conference proceedings. Bradley earned both his bachelor of science in engineering science and his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Texas in Austin. He is an elected fellow of the American Society for Materials and the American Scientific Affiliation, the largest organization of Christians in science and technology in the world for which he served as president in 2008. In addition to co-authoring the book, “The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories,” he has written 10 book chapters dealing with various faith science issues, a topic on which he speaks widely.
Evolutionary Biologist, University of Maryland Baltimore County
Information and the Origin of Life
Freeland, an evolutionary biologist, is director of the Individualized Study Program (INDS) at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. A tenured professor of bioinformatics at UMBC since 2007, he first joined the UMBC faculty in 2001 after completing a Human Frontiers Science Program postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University. In 2009, Freeland relocated to Hawaii, where he served four years as project manager for the University of Hawaii node of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. At the UHNAI, he supervised a highly interdisciplinary team of scientists seeking to understand how habitable environments are formed within the cosmos. His research was focused on how and why life on our planet established a system of genetic coding. In 2013, Freeland returned to UMBC as INDS director and continues to expound upon his astrobiological research interests by exploring the interface of science and religion. Most recently, he has begun using the full spectrum of creative arts to visualize and communicate social science, natural science, and engineering. Freeland received a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Oxford University, a master’s degree in computing and mathematics from the University of York, UK, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University’s Department of Genetics before crossing the Atlantic to pursue a scientific career in the United States. In addition to being an international advisory board member for the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, he serves as an advisory council member for BioLogos and is a guest presenter for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Dialog on Science, Ethics, and Religion.
Emeritus Professor of Theoretical Physics, Imperial College London
The Best of All Possible Worlds
Duff, a pioneering supergravity theorist known for coining the term "p-brane" to describe one facet of dimensional volume in spacetime, has served since 2005 as principal of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Abdus Salam Professor of Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London, where he received his Ph.D in theoretical physics in 1972. In addition to an emeritus professor, he is Senior Research Investigator at Imperial and a visiting professor of mathematics at Oxford University, where he holds a Leverhulme Emeritus Research Fellowship. Duff completed postdoctoral fellowships at Trieste, Oxford, King's College London, Queen Mary College London, and Brandeis University before returning to Imperial College in 1979 on a Science Research Council Advanced Fellowship, joining the faculty there in 1980. He took a leave of absence to visit the Theory Division in CERN, first in 1982 and again as a staff member from 1984 to 1987, when he became senior physicist. He then spent a decade as a professor of physics at Texas A&M from 1988 to 1999, earning appointment as a distinguished professor in 1992. In 1999, Duff moved to the University of Michigan, where he was Oskar Klein Professor of Physics and director of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics from 2001 to 2005, when he returned to Imperial. He also has held visiting professorships and fellowships at the University of Texas at Austin; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of Kyoto; and the University of Cambridge's Isaac Newton Institute. A Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics, and the Royal Society of Arts, Duff is the editor of The World in Eleven Dimensions: Supergravity, Supermembranes and M-theory, a collection of notable scientific articles on string theory. His work has been recognized with the Institute of Physics' 2017 Paul Dirac Gold Medal and Prize as well as the 2004 Meeting Gold Medal, El Colegio Nacional, Mexico.
Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Stanford University
Translating the Bible into Music
Knuth, known as the father of algorithm analysis and architect of the TeX computer typesetting system, has been a professor of computer science at Stanford since 1968. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Case Institute of Technology in 1960 and his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1963. As a graduate student, he accepted a commission to write a book on compilers for computer languages that eventually became the multi-volume The Art of Computer Programming. He joined the mathematics faculty at Caltech in 1963 before coming to Stanford. In addition to making fundamental contributions in several branches of theoretical computer science, Knuth's TeX and METAFONT (MF) software systems are extensively used for book publishing throughout the world. He also created the WEB and CWEB computer programming systems designed to encourage and facilitate literate programming. Knuth also is the author of five volumes of Computers and Typesetting, nine volumes of collected papers, and a non-technical book entitled 3:16 -- Bible Texts Illuminated. That book led to another, Things a Computer Scientist Rarely Talks About, which contains transcripts of six lectures he presented at MIT in 1999 about the relationship between faith and science. Knuth is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He also os a foreign associate of the French, Norwegian, Bavarian, and Russian Science Academies and the Royal Society of London. His many awards include the National Medal of Science (1979), the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Adelsköld Gold Medal (1994), the Technion of Israel's Harvey Prize (1995), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers' John von Neumann Medal (1995), the Inamori Foundation's Kyoto Prize (1996), and the Institution of Engineering and Technology's Faraday Medal (2011).
Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford; Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science, Green Templeton College
God, Science and the Nature of Explanation
Lennox, an expert at the interface of science, philosophy and religion, has participated in a number of televised debates with some of the world's leading atheist thinkers. A Senior Fellow of the Trinity Forum, he regularly teaches within Oxford's Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division and as an associate fellow in the Said Business School. He is an adjunct lecturer at Oxford's Wycliffe Hall and at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Lennox earned master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics at Cambridge University and holds master's and doctor of philosophy degrees from Oxford University, a master's in bioethics from the University of Surrey and an honorary doctorate from the University of Wales. He was a Senior Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the Universities of Wurzburg and Freiburg in Germany. Lennox has lectured extensively in North America, Eastern and Western Europe and Australia on mathematics, the philosophy of science and the intellectual defense of Christianity. He has written several books on the interface between science, philosophy and theology, including God's Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (2009), God and Stephen Hawking (2011) in response to Hawking's The Grand Design, Gunning for God (2011) on the new atheism and Seven Days that Divide the World (2011) on the early chapters of Genesis. His latest book, Against the Flow (2015), looks at the lessons for today's society in the life of the biblical figure, Daniel. Lennox has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles on mathematics and co-authored two algebra research texts in the Oxford Mathematical Monographs series.
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology/Head, Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology/Director, TwinsUK Registry, Kings College London
What Twins Reveal About the Science of Faith
Spector, an expert in genetic epidemiology, is director of the world's largest twin registry. A Fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, he has been a faculty member at Kings College since 2006. Originally trained in rheumatology and epidemiology, he moved into genetic epidemiology in 1992, founding the TwinsUK Registry that includes 13,000 twins -- the richest collection of genotypic and phenotypic information worldwide. A National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator, Spector previously held a prestigious European Research Council Senior Investigator Award in Epigenetics. During the past quarter century, Spector has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common complex traits -- many previously thought to be mainly due to aging and environment, not to mention impossible to analyze without his data collection. Through genetic association studies, Spector and his research group have found more than 500 novel gene loci in more than 50 disease areas. He has authored more than 800 peer-reviewed papers cited in excess of 80,000 times, ranking him among the top 1 percent of the world's most published scientists by Thomson-Reuters. Also a prolific writer, Spector has authored several popular books, including Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes and The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat. He has a blog spanning genetics, epigenetics, microbiome and diet. In addition to TwinsUK, he directs the crowdfunded British Gut Project, where his current work focuses on omics and connections between genes, microbiomes, lifestyle choices and overall health.
Professor of Microbiology, University of Chicago
The Read-Write (RW) Genome: Taking Some of the Mystery Out of Evolution
Shapiro, an early expert in bacterial genetics and author of the 2011 book "Evolution: A View from the 21st Century," has been a faculty member at the University of Chicago since 1973. He holds a bachelor of arts in English literature from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in genetics from Cambridge University, where he was a Marshall Scholar. His thesis first suggested transposable elements in bacteria -- a hypothesis he confirmed in 1968 as a postdoc and Jane Coffin Childs fellow at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. In 1969, as an American Cancer Society fellow at Harvard Medical School, he used in vivo genetic manipulations to clone and purify the lac operon of E. coli. In 1979, Shapiro formulated the first precise molecular model for transposition and replication of phage Mu and other transposons. In 1984, he published the first case study of "adaptive mutation" after finding selection stress triggers a tremendous increase in the frequency of Mu-mediated coding sequence fusions. Since 1992, he has been writing about the importance of biologically regulated natural genetic engineering as a fundamental new concept in evolution science. Shapiro has been a visiting professor at the Institut Pasteur, Tel Aviv University, Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh, where he was the Darwin Prize Visiting Professor in 1993. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Linnean Society of London. In 2001, he received an honorary O.B.E. from Queen Elizabeth for services to higher education in the UK and U.S.
T.T. and W.F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Rice University
The Impact of Faith Upon the Life of a Scientist
Tour, R&D magazine's 2013 Scientist of the Year and inventor of the world's first nanocar, joined the Rice University faculty in 1999, where he is a professor of chemistry, computer science, and mechanical engineering and materials science. He earned a bachelor of science in chemistry from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry from Purdue University. His organic synthesis-based research has produced nanotechnology to benefit many medical, energy, environmental, and defense-related areas. He has more than 500 research publications and 60 patents, with an H-index of 97 (85 by ISI Web of Science) and 46,000 total citations (Google Scholar). Listed among the "50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today" (TheBestSchools.org), he is ranked as one of the world's Top 10 chemists for the past decade (Thomson Reuters). Tour's 2005 paper on nanocars was the most highly accessed journal article of all American Chemical Society (ACS) articles in 2005 and listed by LiveScience as the second most influential paper in all of science that year. An American Association for the Advancement of Science fellow, Tour's many career awards include the ACS's Nano Lectureship (2012), Arthur C. Cope Scholar (2008), and Southern Chemist of the Year (2005) Awards; the Houston Technology Center's Nanotechnology Award (2009); the Feynman Prize in Experimental Nanotechnology (2008), the NASA Space Act Award (2008); the Small Times magazine's Innovator of the Year Award (2006); the Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 Innovator Award (2006); and The Honda Innovation Award for Nanocars (2005).
Leverett Professor of Physics, Harvard University
God of Antimatter
Gabrielse is a no-nonsense experimental physicist known for launching low-energy antimatter science and for extremely sensitive probes of the properties and symmetries of antimatter and matter particles. A Harvard University faculty member since 1987, he is leader of the CERN-based ATRAP Collaboration, and his research group engages in a variety of atomic, optical, elementary particle, plasma and low-temperature physics experiments. Gabrielse also has been a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and the Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany (2007-08) and held various research and professorial positions at the University of Washington (1978-87) prior to coming to Harvard. He earned his master's degree (1975) and doctorate (1980) at the University of Chicago. A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2007) and a fellow of the American Physical Society (1992), Gabrielse has won Harvard's Levenson and Ledlie Prizes for exceptional teaching and research, respectively. He also has received the APS's Lilienfeld Prize and Davisson-Germer Prize as well as Italy's Tomassoni Prize and Germany's Humboldt Research Award. He is a past chair (2012) and chair (2011) of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics as well as a distinguished alumnus of Calvin College.
Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus, Cornell University
INDIGO: A Story of Craft, Religion, History, Science, and Culture
Hoffmann, a faculty member at Cornell University since 1965 and a co-recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, studied chemistry at Columbia University and Harvard University, where he earned his doctorate in 1962. In addition to novel applied chemistry research, he is notable for his public outreach, which includes five published collections of poetry, three books, three plays, and many essays and presentations. Hoffmann is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has been elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, the Indian National Science Academy, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Nordrhein-Westfällische Academy of Sciences, and the Leopoldina. Beyond the Nobel Prize, he has received the National Science Board's Public Service Award (2009), the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal (2006), the American Chemical Society (ACS) Priestley Medal (1990), and the National Medal of Science (1983). He is the only person in ACS history to merit awards in three different specific subfields of chemistry: the first Arthur C. Cope Award in Organic Chemistry (1973); the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry (1982); and the ACS Pimentel Award in Chemical Education (1996). He holds more than 30 honorary degrees.
Founder and President, Reasons To Believe
Theistic Implications of Big Bang Cosmology
Ross is founder and president of Reasons To Believe (RTB), an organization devoted to the constructive integration of science and faith. His interest in science, specifically in astronomy, began in early childhood and developed through frequent trips to the library and use of a homemade telescope. At age 17 he became director of observations for the Royal Astronomical Society in Vancouver. While researching quasars and galaxies at the California Institute of Technology and serving on the pastoral staff of a nearby church, he also studied philosophy and religion, at which time he discovered an unexpected consistency between the words of the Bible and the facts of nature. He founded RTB in 1986 and, for more than 25 years, has monitored the frontiers of research and communicated a message he describes as the "thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology." An adjunct faculty member at A.W. Tozer Seminary and Southern Evangelical Seminary and the author of several books, including "Why the Universe Is the Way It Is," "Creator and the Cosmos" and "The Fingerprint of God," Ross also travels the world to speak on university campuses and in other global venues.
Lecturer, The Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Israel
Genesis and the Big Bang
Schroeder is an MIT graduate with more than 30 years of research and teaching experience in a wide variety of unique and unusual areas, including nuclear disarmament. He moved to Israel in 1971 to join the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science and later the Volcani Research Institute while maintaining a laboratory at The Hebrew University. His doctorate is in two fields, Earth science and physics, and he also has formal theological training in biblical, Talmudic and kabalistic interpretation. For the past 25 years, he has pursued a study of ancient biblical interpretation, specializing in nuances that are often missed when working with translations instead of original languages of which he has mastery. His related books -- including his second, "The Science of God," which was on the Barnes & Noble list of non-fiction best-sellers and was Amazon.com's best-selling book in the field of physics and cosmology for all of 1998 -- appear in 10 languages. He boasts more than 60 publications in the world's leading scientific journals, and the results of his work have been reported in "Time," "Newsweek" and "Scientific American" as well as newspapers from Boston to Adelaide.
University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine
Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion
Ayala is an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist who won the 2010 Templeton Prize. A former Dominican priest who was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2001, Ayala has championed faith as an important window for understanding the purpose and meaning of life while warning against the intrusion of religion into science. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences who has authored more than 1000 papers and 40 books, including 'Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion.' He was the principal author of ''Science, Evolution, and Creationism', a National Academy of Science publication refuting creationism and intelligent design. His most recent scientific achievements include demonstration that great apes serve as reservoirs for malaria causing parasites. He holds the title of University Professor, the highest rank in the California university system and is the only person at Irvine with that title.
Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia
C.S. Lewis: Science and Scientism
Schaefer is one of the most distinguished physical scientists in the world. The U.S. News and World Report cover story of December 23, 1991 speculated that Professor Schaefer is a 'five time nominee for the Nobel Prize.' He has received four of the most prestigious awards of the American Chemical Society, as well as the most highly esteemed award (the Centenary Medal) given to a non-British subject by London's Royal Society of Chemistry. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Moreover, his general interest lectures on science and religion have riveted large audiences in nearly all the major universities in the U.S.A. and in Beijing, Berlin, Budapest, Calcutta, Cape Town, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Paris, Prague, Sarajevo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sofia, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Tokyo, Warsaw, Zagreb, and Zurich. For 18 years Dr. Schaefer was a faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley, where he remains Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus. Since 1987 Dr. Schaefer has been Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia.
Research Professor W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University
Mystery in Science, Reason in Religion: How the Two Intersect and Overlap
Everitt, an expert in both space research and physics history, is principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) experiment, a collaboration between Stanford, NASA, and Lockheed Martin Corporation that is testing predictions of Albert Einstein's 1916 theory of gravitation using four ultra-precise gyroscopes that have been orbiting the Earth in a satellite since 2004. He obtained his doctorate at the University of London (Imperial College) in 1959 for research under Nobel laureate P.M.S. Blackett, then spent two years at the University of Pennsylvania working on liquid helium before joining the Stanford faculty in 1962. His efforts have advanced the state-of-the-art in the areas of cryogenics, magnetics, quantum devices, telescope design, control systems, quartz fabrication techniques, metrology, and, most of all, gyroscope technology. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2006, Everitt has been a member of numerous national and international committees, including the International Academy of Astronautics Committee on Relativity, the NASA Management Operations Working Group in Shuttle Astronomy, and the NASA Astrophysics Council. His many awards include the Tyndall Prize in Experimental Physics, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the 1997 Marcel Grossmann Award, and the 2005 NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.
Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford
Did the Universe Have a Beginning?
Penrose originated twistor theory, which seeks to unite Einstein's general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics, and has made major contributions to many areas of physics and geometry, including non-periodic tilings, which cannot be shifted and still match the original pattern. He earned his bachelor of science in mathematics at University College, London, in 1952 and his doctorate in algebraic geometry at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1957. He is a visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, and holds the Francis and Helen Pentz Distinguished Professorship of Physics and Mathematics at Penn State University. Penrose was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1972, knighted in 1994 for services to science, and appointed to the Order of Merit in 2000. A foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences, his many awards include the 1971 Heinemann Prize, the Royal Astronomical Society's 1975 Eddington Medal, the Royal Society's 1985 Royal Medal and 2008 Copley Medal, the 1988 Wolf Foundation Prize for Physics (shared with Stephen Hawking), the Albert Einstein Society's 1990 Albert Einstein Medal, and the London Mathematical Society's 1991 Naylor Prize and 2004 de Morgan Medal. He holds 14 honorary degrees and has written several books, including 1990 Science Book Prize winner "The Emperor's New Mind."
Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and History of Science, Harvard University
Mystery in Science, Reason in Religion: How the Two Intersect and Overlap
Owen Gingerich, former chair of Harvard's History of Science Department and a co-author of two successive standard models for the solar atmosphere, has become a leading authority on legendary astronomers Johannes Kepler and Nicholas Copernicus during the past three decades. In addition to nearly 600 technical and educational articles and reviews, he has written popular astronomy pieces in several encyclopedias and journals. Two anthologies of Gingerich's essays, "The Great Copernicus Chase and Other Adventures in Astronomical History" and "The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler," have appeared from Cambridge University Press. Most recently he has published "God's Universe," the William Belden Nobel Lectures at Harvard, in 2005. Gingerich has served as vice president of the American Philosophical Society, as chairman of the U.S. National Committee of the International Astronomical Union and as councilor of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). His many awards include the AAS's Education (2004) and Doggett Prizes (2000), the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Teaching (1984) and the Polish government's Order of Merit (1981). A world traveler, Gingerich has observed 12 total solar eclipses and has an asteroid named in his honor.
1964 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics
The Parallellism and Likely Eventual Convergence of Science and Religion
Charles H. Townes, professor emeritus at the University of California-Berkeley and an international authority on quantum electronics and astrophysics, revolutionized the world with his invention of the laser, which he patented in 1960. In addition to his many contributions to science and industry, Townes is equally respected for his efforts at reconciling the claims of science and religion. Beyond his Nobel and Templeton Prizes, Townes boasts a long and storied career in both academia and industry as well as nearly 30 honorary degrees from various international universities. In addition to pioneering posts at Bell Laboratories, the Institute for Defense Analysis and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Townes has served as a professor at many notable U.S. institutions, including Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and UC-Berkeley. He worked on an advanced radar system for Allied bombers during World War II and also served as chairman of the advisory committee to Project Apollo. Now in his ninth decade, Townes still enjoys traveling and discussing the future of science. He has detailed his life's story and accomplishments in two books, "Making Waves" and "How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist."
Director , National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health
The Language of God
Francis Collins, who earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Virginia and a doctorate in physical chemistry at Yale University, is a member of the National Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. His laboratories at the NIH and University of Michigan have pioneered the discovery of a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease and, most recently, Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a dramatic form of premature aging. In addition to his scientific achievements, Collins is known for his continuing emphasis on the importance of ethical and legal issues in genetics. He has been a strong advocate for protecting the privacy of genetic information and has served as a national leader in efforts to prohibit gene-based insurance and employment discrimination.
1979 Nobel Prize in Physics Professor of Physics & Astronomy, University of Texas
Steven Weinberg, who taught at Columbia, Berkeley, MIT and Harvard before coming to Texas in 1982, has earned a number of professional honors in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the National Medal of Science (1991) and American Philosophical Society's Benjamin Franklin Medal (2004). A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Britain's Royal Society, the Royal Irish Academy, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has authored more than 300 articles and 10 books on elementary particle physics, cosmology and other subjects. Weinberg has served as a consultant at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, as president of the Philosophical Society of Texas and as a member of the Board of Editors of Daedalus magazine, the Council of Scholars of the Library of Congress, the JASON group of defense consultants and many other boards and committees. Educated at Cornell, Copenhagen and Princeton, he also holds honorary doctoral degrees from 16 other universities, including Chicago, Columbia, McGill, Padua, Salamanca and Yale.
Professor of Earth Sciences Holder of the Chair in Evolutionary Paleobiology at the University of Cambridge
Darwin's Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation
A Fellow of the Royal Society of London and an honorary fellow of the European Union of Geosciences, Conway Morris has been a fellow at St. John's College, Cambridge, since 1975. He is best known for his study of the famous Burgess Shale fossil fauna and the early evolution of skeletons -- research that has impacted global understanding of how life evolved on Earth. These Cambrian studies, in combination with Conway Morris' interest in fellow paleobiologist Stephen J. Gould's arguments for contingency in the history of life, helped spawn his current interest in evolutionary convergence and its broader significance.
2000 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion Winner Professor Emeritus of physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society
A member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Freeman Dyson served as a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton for 40 years prior to being named a professor emeritus in 1994. Dyson, a former professor of physics at Cornell University (1951-1953), holds 21 honorary degrees and has earned a variety of prestigious awards during his career, including the Danny Heineman Prize from American Institute of Physics (1965), the Oersted Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers (1991) and the Enrico Fermi Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (1995). A prolific author as well as theorist, he was recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science for his 1988 book, Infinite in All Directions, while his 1979 book, Disturbing the Universe, was commissioned by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Science Book Program. In 1984 Dyson was recognized with a National Books Critics Circle Award for Non-Fiction, and in 1996, he also received the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet from Rockefeller University.
1997 Nobel Prize in Physics Winner Research Group Leader, Physics Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science
One of the leading speakers at the 2001 Harvard conference, The Quest for Knowledge, Truth and Values in Science and Religion, William Phillips has merited a number of professional honors in addition to the Nobel Prize. These include the Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science from the American Physical Society (1998), the Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute (1996), and both the Gold (1993) and Silver Medals (1983) from the United States Department of Commerce. A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Sigma Xi Research Society, he is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Phillips also has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1970), a National Science Foundation Fellow (1970-1973), a Chaim Weizmann Postdoctoral Fellow (1976-1978) and an APS-DLS Distinguished Traveling Lecturer (1996-1998).
Associate Research Professor, Baylor University
Intelligent Design's Place in the Natural Sciences
A mathematician and a philosopher, William Dembski is a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle and also executive director of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. He has previously taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Dallas and done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. In addition, Dembski is the author/editor of 10 books, including In The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities.
Director, Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics, University of Calgary
Toward a Physical Definition of Life
Stuart Kauffman, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Pennsylvania and an external professor and co-founder of the Santa Fe Institute, is a leading thinker on self-organization and the science of complexity as applied to biology. Twenty-five years ago, he developed the Kauffman models, which are random networks exhibiting a kind of self-organization that he terms "order for free." A MacArthur Fellow, he is the founding general partner and chief scientific officer of The Bios Group, a company that applies the science of complexity to business management problems. Kauffman is also a physician, though he no longer practices, as well as a prolific author.
Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University
Did Life Come From Mars?
Paul Davies, a professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University, conducted research in the fields of cosmology, gravitation, and quantum field theory, with particular emphasis on black holes, the origin of the universe, and the nature of time.
Professor Emeritus and Senior Lecturer of Chemistry, New York University
Science & Myth in the Origin of Life
Robert Shapiro, a professor emeritus and senior lecturer of Chemistry at New York University, conducted research centered on the chemistry of nucleic acids. Through his research, Shapiro has argued that the complexity of RNA is too great for spontaneous, unassisted assembly of the first molecules to take place.
Father of the "inflationary universe" theory Professor of Physics at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cosmic Inflation and the Origin of the Universe
Alan Guth, a National Academy of Sciences member, is known as the father of the "inflationary universe" theory, which holds that a repulsive force embedded in the universe caused the inconceivably rapid early expansion of the Big Bang. Initially, the universe was so small that its temperature and density should have been uniform. Guth's awards include the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics. Last year, he was a recipient of the Dirac Medal from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics at Trieste, Italy.
Anglican Priest Former Professor of Mathematical Physics and President of Queens' College, Cambridge
The Universe as Creation
Polkinghorne made a 25-year career as a theoretical particle physicist, becoming a fellow of the Royal Society (Britain's National Academy of Science), before he decided in midlife to enter the seminary and become an Anglican priest. He has written a series of books about science and religion from the perspective of one able to regard the fields with uncommon levels of insight and appreciation. Far from denouncing science in favor of religion, Polkinghorne has written that he respects both and believes that they are complementary aspects of one great quest for truth and understanding. Polkinghorne is the 2002 winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities. Polkinghorne was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1997.
1962 Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine and Physiology The Salk Institute
The Astonishing Hypothesis
Crick won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his discovery of the structure of DNA. As J.W. Kieckhefer Distinguished Research Professor at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, his work was entirely theoretical, focusing mainly on the visual system of mammals and neurobiology. His goal was to bring together the molecular and cellular aspects of neurons, the observations of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, and the behavior of organisms as studied by psychologists. Widely published in many areas, including the neural basis of attention, REM sleep and the visual system of awareness, Crick's later research up until his death in July 2004 was focused on discovering the neural correlate of consciousness.
1964 Nobel Prize in Physics University of California-Berkeley
The Convergence of Science and Religion
Townes was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the laser. His recent work at UC-Berkeley has focused on astrophysics. He notes that while at times it has appeared that science and religion seem to clash, the two actually are closely related. Though they can appear very different, Townes claims there is much parallelism, as both science and religion are based on human abilities to understand using postulates or faith, intuition and inspiration, experimentation or observations, and logic or reason. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Townes has received the Templeton Prize for contributions to the understanding of religion, as well as a number of other prestigious awards and nearly 30 honorary degrees from various international universities.