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Astronomer wins world's biggest cash prize

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 December 2013 20:49
Published on Friday, 17 March 2006 00:00
The RAS congratulates John Barrow for winning the world's biggest cash award, the annual $1.4m (£800,000) Templeton Prize. The prestigious prize, founded by Sir John Templeton, rewards "discoveries about spiritual realities".

'Astronomy has transformed the simple-minded, life-averse, meaningless universe of the sceptical philosophers. It breathes new life into so many religious questions of ultimate concern and never-ending fascination. Many of the deepest and most engaging questions that we grapple with still about the nature of the universe have their origins in our purely religious quest for meaning. The concept of a lawful universe with order that can be understood and relied upon emerged largely out of religious beliefs about the nature of God. Our scientific picture of the universe has revealed time and again how blinkered and conservative our outlook has often been, how self-serving our interim picture of the universe, how mundane our expectations, and how parochial our attempts to find or deny the links between scientific and religious approaches to the nature of the universe.” ( Barrow)

Previous winners of the prize include John Polkinghorne and Paul Davies

John Barrow is Professor of of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge. He gave the RAS Whitrow Lecture in 2002 and served on the RAS Council for 3 years