Wonders of the Living World

Curiosity, awe, and the meaning of life

About

Every area of science is accessible for an audience of non-scientists, so long as it is explained at the right pace, in a relevant way. While developing the material for her book God in the Lab: How science enhances faith (Monarch, 2015), Ruth Bancewicz realised that the people she encountered at science festivals, churches and Christian conferences were hungry for stories of scientists, their day to day experience of research and the bigger, more philosophical or theological, questions raised by their work.

When people have the opportunity to explore the latest research and its implications for humankind, the discussion moves very naturally away from the usual debates (which are important, but not the whole story of science and faith), into whole new areas of thinking. When that type of discussion takes off, it is a joy to see people from very different backgrounds, generations and levels of science experience – from none at all to professors – all contributing exciting and original ideas. This material will equip people to have that type of conversation. We want to connect with Christian audiences and their wider communities, enabling them to explore areas of science they have not experienced before, and the big questions they raise for humankind.

This is a project of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge, and has benefitted from the support of the whole Faraday team. For further materials on science and faith, details about public events, input for schools and youth, and short courses for adults, please go to faraday.cam.ac.uk.

The primary mission of The Faraday Institute is to engage with mainstream science, tackling subjects that are relevant to society today, addressing ethical issues and creating opportunities for dialogue with both the scientific world and the general public. All of the activity relating to churches at Faraday takes place within a commitment to the traditional Creeds of the Church, catering for a wide range of denominations.

Many of the topics covered here raise important questions for Christians, with a range of views expressed within the Church as a whole. We are confident that this material will provide a welcome stretch for any Christian’s thinking, helping their faith to grow as they discern how to interact with science from a Biblical perspective. For an introduction to the main areas of discussion in science and Christianity, please go to faraday.cam.ac.uk/churches.

People

Project Leader

Dr Ruth M. Bancewicz

Ruth is Church Engagement Director at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, where her role is to encourage the UK church community to engage with science in a positive way. After studying Genetics at Aberdeen University, she completed a PhD at Edinburgh University, based at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. During this time she also worked at the Edinburgh Science Festival, developing and delivering hands-on science activities.

She spent two years as a part-time postdoctoral researcher at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, Edinburgh University, while also working as the Development Officer for Christians in Science – a post she held for three years, before moving full-time to the Faraday Institute to develop the Test of FAITH resources, the first of which were launched in 2009.

Project Assistant

Cara Parrett (formerly Daneel)

Cara grew up in South Africa, spent a gap year working in the UK and Madagascar, then earned an honours degree in marine biology and oceanography from the University of Cape Town. After contributing to research and conservation projects across several different countries she came to the UK to work at The Faraday Institute on the Wonders of the Living World project, from 2015 to 2018, alongside scientific and support work in the University of Cambridge zoology and electrical engineering departments.

Cara returned to The Faraday Institute in 2020, to join the Youth and Schools team. She supports the main strands of the programme’s work – workshops for children and young people; training for teachers and influencers; and book and resource production – while conducting educational research to inform this work and contribute to wider discussions about science, faith and education.

Professor Simon Conway Morris

Simon is an Emeritus Professor in the Earth Sciences Department, University of Cambridge. He became a fellow of St John’s College Cambridge in 1975, having taken a first-class honours degree in Geology from the University of Bristol, and was appointed to the Earth Sciences department as a lecturer in 1979. He has received numerous awards and medals, and has also appeared on TV and radio, including the Royal Institution Christmas Lecturesfor the BBC in 1996.

Professor Stephen Freeland

Stephen received a BSc in Zoology from the University of Oxford, a Masters in Computing and Mathematics from the University of York, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Genetics. A postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University led to a faculty position in biology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and a stint at the University of Hawaii node of the NASA Astrobiology Institute. Stephen is now Director of Interdisciplinary Studies at UMBC.

Professor Jeff Hardin

Jess is Raymond E. Keller, Professor of Zoology and Chair of Integrative Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds an MDiv from the International School of Theology and a PhD in Biophysics from the University of California, Berkeley. He is the senior author of a widely used textbook, The World of the Cell (Pearson), and is the only scientist in the Religious Studies programme at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is Chair of the Board of the BioLogos Foundation, and serves as a faculty advisor for the Navigators and InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship.

Dr Rhoda Hawkins

Rhoda is a senior lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield, and a visiting lecturer at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. She completed a degree in Physics at University of Oxford, and a PhD at the University of Leeds. Her postdoctoral research was at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics, Amsterdam, the Curie Institute and University of Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris, and the University of Bristol. Rhoda is a member of the Christians in Science committee.

Dr Hilary Marlow

Hilary is an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity, where she teaches Old Testament and Biblical Hebrew. She is also a Fellow and Director of Studies at Girton College, University of Cambridge. She has honours degrees in Social Sciences (University of Manchester) and Biblical Studies (King’s College London), and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. She was previously a research associate and then Course Director at the Faraday Institute, and a research associate for the Scriptural Reasoning online project at Cambridge Inter-faith Programme. She is a trustee of the Christian conservation charity A Rocha.

Professor Alister McGrath

Alister is Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, director of the Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion, and associate priest in the Diocese of Oxford. He studied Chemistry, Molecular Biophysics and Theology at Oxford. He studied for Church of England ministry at Westcott House, Cambridge, and served as a curate in Nottingham. He returned to Oxford as tutor at Wycliffe Hall, was awarded a Professorship in Theology, is the first director of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, and Professor of Theology at King’s College, London.

Dr Margaret Miller

Margaret is the Research Director of SECORE International, a conservation organisation for the protection and restoration of coral reefs. She was formerly an ecologist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Southeast Fisheries Science Center. She received an undergraduate degree from Indiana University and a doctorate in Marine Ecology from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). After some research with the University of Miami, she began work for NOAA-Fisheries as the lead benthic (sea floor) ecologist.

Professor Jeff Schloss

Jeff is Senior Scholar at the BioLogos Foundation and Distinguished Professor and T.B. Walker Chair of Biology at Westmont College, California, where he directs the Center for Faith, Ethics and Life Sciences. After undergraduate studies in Biology and Philosophy, Professor Schloss received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Washington University. He has taught at University of Michigan and Wheaton College, Illinois. He is a chartered member of the International Society of Science & Religion, and serves on the editorial boards of Theology and Science, Science and Christian Belief, and Religion, Brain and Behavior.

Our Funders

This project was part of a programme at the Faraday Institute, funded by:

Faraday

Website

This website was designed and developed by:

Visiontank