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SRF Annual Meeting 2020


Topic: Humans do Science: the Created Co-creator in a Strange World

Date: August 28th 2020.

Speaker: Professor Tom Mcleish, University of York

Session 1 - 10.30am - 12.00pm (BST)

The ‘Ministry of Reconciliation’ in Education and the Academy: Why Theology motivates Interdisciplinarity

In this introductory session we look at a motivation to reconciliation within the working out of the Gospel and the narrative of the Hebrew Bible, and how that might play out within the field of Education. Our tendency to fragment and create walls has contributed to the suppression of creativity in the sciences (at least), and also contributed to the dominant ‘conflict narrative’ of science and faith.

Session 2 - 3.30pm - 5.00pm (BST)

Creativity and the Imagination in Science, Arts and Humanities.

We will explore the reasons that the creative voice has been suppressed, look at ‘creation narratives’ in both science and art from the perspective of human creative processes, and develop, within a Christian theological framework, what our creative acts might signify, and how our approach to the creative imagination in both arts and sciences may enrich mission, pastoral work, and mission in the Church.

Speaker Information

Tom McLeish, FRS, is Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Department of Physics at the University of York, England, and is also affiliated to the University’s Centre for Medieval Studies and Humanities Research Centre. 


His scientific research in ‘soft matter and biological physics,’ draws on collaboration with chemists, engineers, and biologists to study relationships between molecular structure and emergent material properties, recognized by major awards in the USA and Europe. He currently leads the UK ‘Physics of Life’ network, and holds a 5-year personal research fellowship focusing on the physics of protein signaling and the self-assembly of silk fibres.


Other academic interests include the framing of science, theology, society and history, and the theory of creativity in art and science, leading to the recent books Faith and Wisdom in Science (OUP 2014) and The Poetry and Music of Science (OUP 2019). He co-leads the Ordered Universe project, a large interdisciplinary re-examination of 13th century science. He has also contributed to the philosophy of emergence, and to a research project in cross-curricular education for post-16 pupils.


From 2008 to 2014 he served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham University and was from 2015-2020 Chair of the Royal Society’s Education Committee. He is currently a Council Member of the Royal Society and a trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.

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