Scientist wins religious prize

March 17, 1995

An Australian-based physicist, Paul Davies, has won the Aus$1.45 million (Pounds 725,000) Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the religious equivalent of the Nobel Prize.

Professor Davies, a former professor of physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and professor of natural philosophy at the University of Adelaide since 1990, is the latest in a line of winners including Mother Teresa, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Billy Graham.

In a statement prepared for the prize announcement in New York last week, Professor Davies said: "I am a scientist and it is largely through my scientific work that I have framed my ideas about God, the nature of the physical universe and the place of human beings in the broad scheme of things."

The author of more than 20 books, including The Mind of God, Professor Davies' achievements include developing important theories concerning black holes, the nature of time and the beginning of the universe.

Professor Davies, aged 48, said his career had spanned a period when science had made amazing discoveries in areas previously considered the province of religion. The most obvious example concerned the origins of the universe in a so-called big bang.

The prize was established in 1972 by the Anglo-American financier and philanthropist Sir John Templeton. It will be presented by the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on May 5.

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