How can gifted children be helped to reach their full potential? What benefits might accrue to society with their full flourishing? Can the environments that enable the development of talent be better understood?
Subject Math & Physical Sciences
Almost 300 people joined together on April 7th to celebrate science, art, and food at the annual World Science Festival Gala. The Gala, a “performing arts salute to science,” provides support for the World Science Festival’s educational programs, hosts musical performances, and serves up science-inspired delicacies for its gala-goers.
“Our big bang could be just one island of space-time in a vast cosmic archipelago,” observed Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal and 2011 Templeton Prize laureate, in a public talk earlier this month titled “Our Universe and Others.” He was speaking at Cosmology and the Constants of Nature, a conference at the University of Cambridge designed to introduce philosophers of physics to fundamental problems in cosmology and associated areas of high-energy physics.
Are we insignificant? Does living on a small planet around an average star leave us lost in the unfathomable vastness of space? Or do our self-conscious minds and complex brains, able to contemplate the vastness from whence we came, actually make us the most noteworthy feature of the cosmos that we know of to date? It’s a set of questions often answered negatively and pessimistically, notes Max Tegmark, professor of physics at MIT and scientific director of the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi), funded by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The human drama of scientific discovery was a focus for Krista Tippett’s recent conversation with physicist Brian Greene, a John Templeton Foundation grantee and co-founder of the World Science Festival. The interview, “Reimagining the Cosmos,” was broadcast on January 30 as an episode of Tippett’s radio show On Being and was sponsored by the Foundation.
How should humanity steer the future? This question is to be addressed in a new essay competition from the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi), supported by partial funding from the John Templeton Foundation.
Ian G. Barbour, one of the founding figures in the academic discipline that studies the relationship between science and religion and winner of the Templeton Prize in 1999, died December 24, 2013, at the age of 90. “[He] probably did more for the creation of the field than anyone else,” remarked 2010 Templeton Prize winner Francisco J. Ayala in an obituary published in the New York Times. Peter Hess, Director of Outreach to Religious Communities at the National Center for Science Education, called him “a towering figure, one of the truly great interdisciplinary thinkers of the 20th century.”
It is a common thought that the worldviews of science and religion are very different and are best not mixed. This is one way to summarize the “non-overlapping magisteria” view of the relationship between these two great quests for understanding, associated with the late American paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. But is this assessment accurate?