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Physics and Faith Synergy: How to Engage Audiences of Different Ages, Backgrounds and Beliefs

  • Elisabetta CanettaEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 48)

Abstract

Our modern society is primarily driven by advances in technology which, although very useful to humanity on a practical level, are not helping us much to deepen our understanding of the inner mysteries of the Universe, to better ourselves spiritually, and to seek the Truth. The materialistic trend that we are currently experiencing is urging us to revive the synergy between science and religion. As a first step towards the bridging of science and faith, physicists and theologians at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London, ran a series of three workshops as part of the “Connecting Physics with Faith” project, which enabled a general audience composed of people coming from a Christian background to engage with and further explore physics and its relationship with faith. In particular, the project aimed to introduce Christian audiences to those aspects of cosmology and quantum physics that were more related to creation and human consciousness, such as the Big Bang Theory and Quantum Superposition. Two workshops were held at St Mary’s University and one workshop at a local parish. The workshop topics varied with the first one devoted to the lives and scientific journeys of Fr. Dr. Georges Lemaître (cosmologist) and Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne (theoretical physicist) whose contributions to physics and theology were outstanding, the second looking at the “creation” of the Universe from biblical (Genesis 1) and scientific (Big Bang Theory) viewpoints, and the last workshop exploring the relationship between human consciousness and quantum physics. The project outcome indicated that an approach based on engaging Christian general audiences with physics and theology questions has the potential to contribute to (1) bridging the gap between physics and theology, (2) bringing physics to Christian communities who are not familiar with science and (3) corroborating the conception that physics and faith can coexist.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The “Connecting Physics with Faith Project” was supported by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and the author wishes to thank the IOP for the award of an IOP Public Engagement Grant. The author also wishes to thank Dr Dominic Galliano (Director of Outreach – SEPnet), Dr Ali Mozaffari (Lecturer in Physics at St Mary’s University), Dr Tarcisius Mukuka (Lecturer in Theology at St Mary’s University), Prof Geoff Hunt (Prof of Philosophy and Society at St Mary’s University) and Dr Trevor Stammers (Programme Director for Bioethics and Medical Law at St Mary’s University) for their contributions to the “Connecting Physics with Faith” project.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sport, Health and Applied ScienceMary’s University – TwickenhamLondonUK

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