In the fellowship program, a diverse group of eminent journalists examine the dynamic interface of science and religion through seminars and discussion groups at the University of Cambridge, led by some the world's most foremost physicists, cosmologists, and theologians, as well as through independent research. The fellowships provide a $15,000 stipend, plus a book allowance, and travel expenses.
This year's fellowship recipients represent a broad sweep from the field of journalism, a reflection, the program's organizers say, of the extent of the current interest in the field of science and religion. Included among the 2006 fellows are journalists, editors, and correspondents from the Washington Post, The Guardian, Wired, U.S. News & World Report, Slate, and Reuters, as well as news producers at NPR and the BBC.
The Templeton-Cambridge Journalism fellows named today are:
The relationship of science and religion is a subject of increasing scrutiny today. After centuries 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 area where science and theology overlap--as well as understanding the reasoning of many who assert the two disciplines are distinct and without common ground--can effectively promote a deeper understanding of this emerging dialogue.
That discussion will be furthered, organizers say, by encouraging journalists to write articles and produce news segments that advance public awareness of this complex and rapidly evolving area of inquiry. The extraordinary intellectual and cultural setting at Cambridge, they add, will provide recipients with an opportunity to meet with colleagues for critical discussion and have access to prominent experts in the field.
"Science, religion, and the bridge between them is one of the most important stories of our age," says Templeton–Cambridge Fellowships Co-director Fraser Watts, Reader in Theology and Science, University of Cambridge. "The outstanding journalists selected for this fellowship are uniquely suited to investigate, scrutinize, and, ultimately, report on this modern phenomenon."
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, June 4-16, conducted by renowned scholars, scientists, and intellectuals who will offer an overview of key issues.
Speakers at the Queens' College seminars include:
Following the seminars, fellows will undertake five weeks of independent study and research into areas of their own specific interest, such as origins of life, the anthropic principle, laws of nature, 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 of some 50 books 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 at Cambridge, July 23-29.
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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