[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 18-Mar-2009
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Contact: Donald Lehr
dblehr@cs.com
212-967-8200
John Templeton Foundation

5th annual Templeton-Cambridge fellowships awarded to 10 noted journalists

NEW YORK, MARCH 19 – Ten prominent journalists from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have been selected for the fifth annual Templeton–Cambridge Journalism Fellowships in Science & Religion. Inaugurated in 2004, the fellowships include a program of research and scholarship at the University of Cambridge in England. The 2009 fellows were announced today by the New York office of the Templeton–Cambridge Fellowships, which are funded by the John Templeton Foundation of West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

In the fellowship program, a diverse group of eminent journalists examine key areas in the broad field of science and religion through independent research as well as seminars and discussion groups, led by some of the world's foremost physicists, cosmologists, philosophers, and theologians, at the University of Cambridge. Fellows are provided a $15,000 stipend, a book allowance, and travel expenses.

"The fellowships provide some of the top journalists worldwide with an opportunity to engage in a rigorous and wide-ranging examination of the field of science and religion," says Templeton–Cambridge Fellowships Co-director Fraser Watts, Reader in Theology and Science, University of Cambridge. "With the deeper understanding that they gain through the fellowship program, these journalists will be better able to promote a more informed public discussion of science and religion."

The 2009 fellows represent a broad sweep from the field of journalism, a reflection, the program's organizers say, of the extent of the current interest in science and religion. Included are journalists, editors, and correspondents from the Washington Post, Globe and Mail, Dallas Morning News, Daily Mail, Time, American Prospect, Fox News, and BBC Radio.

The Templeton–Cambridge Journalism fellows named today are:

The relationship between science and religion is one of the leading intellectual topics of our time. After decades during which leading voices from science and religion viewed each other with suspicion and little sense of how the two areas might relate, recent years have brought an active pursuit of understanding how science may deepen theological awareness, for example, or how religious traditions might illuminate the scientific realm. Fellowship organizers note that rigorous journalistic examination of the region where science and theology overlap – as well as understanding the reasoning of many who assert the two disciplines are without common ground –can effectively promote a deeper understanding of the emerging dialogue.

That discussion will be furthered, organizers say, by encouraging journalists to write articles and produce news segments that advance public discussion of this complex and rapidly evolving field of inquiry. The extraordinary intellectual and cultural setting at Cambridge, they add, will provide fellows with an opportunity to meet with colleagues for critical discussion and have access to prominent experts in the field.

"The story of science and religion, with its deep roots in the past, has grown into one of the most complex, challenging, and important stories of our time," says Templeton–Cambridge Fellowships Co-director Sir Brian Heap, Research Associate, University of Cambridge. "This program aims to support the outstanding journalists selected for the fellowships in covering this story with the depth, rigor, and thoroughness that it requires and deserves."

The two-month program, running in June and July, begins with an initial week of preparatory study, followed by two weeks of intensive science and religion seminars at Queens' College at the University of Cambridge, May 30-June 12, conducted by renowned scholars, scientists, and thinkers who will offer an overview of key issues.

Speakers at the Cambridge seminars include:

Following the seminars, fellows will undertake five weeks of independent study and research into areas of their own specific interest, such as a comparison of the methods of science and religion, origins of life, cosmology, genetic engineering, astrobiology, and spirituality and health. They will also receive a detailed program of readings tailored to their individual interests, including the development of a personal library that will serve as an ongoing resource for future research and reporting.

The program finishes with an oral, ultimately publishable presentation by each fellow, to be given at a concluding seminar in Cambridge, July 26-31.

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The Templeton–Cambridge Journalism Fellowships are administered from offices in New York and Cambridge. More information can be found at www.templeton-cambridge.org.



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