Previous Events

Wednesday 8 November 7:30 pm  Queen Elizabeth High School Hexham NE46 3JB

The rise of the intelligent machines – friend or foe?

 KimStansfield

Dr Kim Stansfield

Warwick Manufacturing Group, Warwick University

Kim Stansfield studied metallurgy and materials science at Manchester University and obtained his PhD in Aerospace Composites from Kingston Polytechnic (now University).  He then worked at the Royal Aerospace Establishment in Farnborough, later changing specialist fields into robotic manufacturing, collision avoidance systems, and telematics in autonomous vehicle development.

In 2003 he moved to Northrop Grumman Mission Systems and developed large-scale government information systems, followed by applications in sustainable energy.  Since 2016 he has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students at Warwick University, specialising in design for quality and systems engineering.  He has been a Chartered Engineer since 1994.

Kim recently became only the second UK recipient of the Akao Prize for his contributions to engineering design, and he has initiated research in the applications of artificial intelligence in future systems and products.

An atheist until 1986, Kim is now a committed Christian in a Baptist Church in Worcester and a member of a ‘Bible and Science Group’ affiliated to Christians in Science.  He is project director of ‘Re:Think Worcester’, a Templeton-funded project (similar to our own project in the Tyne Valley) encouraging 16-25 year olds to think about science and faith in a constructive and informed manner.

With this combination of design engineering expertise and a commitment to demonstrating the positive relationship between science and Christian faith, Kim is an ideal speaker to tackle the final Big Question in our series, concerning developments in artificial intelligence and the issues it raises for us.

Short video summary:

 

Audio recording of the talk (without questions/discussion):

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

Kim Stansfield slides

Links to YouTube videos shown during the talk:

The waggle dance of the honeybee

Self-driving cars

Self-organising drones

Quite elementary, my dear Watson: cognitive AI emerging

The fourth industrial revolution

Cognitive AI and healthcare

For more information about our guest speaker, see

www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/people/profile/?wmgid=1312

www.mindsheet.com/dr-kim-stansfield-ceng-miet/

 

Wednesday 11 October 7:30 pm  Ponteland High School NE20 9EY

Are natural disasters Acts of God?

Bob White

Professor Bob White FRS

Department of Earth Sciences, Cambridge University

Bob White studied geology and obtained his PhD in marine geophysics at Cambridge University.  He has spent most of his teaching and research career at the University of Cambridge, but has research interests all round the world as an expert on earthquakes and volcanoes and on ‘how the earth works’.  He is currently Professor of Geophysics at Cambridge and a Fellow of St Edmund’s College, where he also serves as Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion.  He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1994.

As well as hundreds of specialist research papers, Bob has written books — alone and with other authors — about climate change, environmental responsibility and ethics, and the question posed for this evening event.

With his expertise on the geological phenomena we associate with many natural disasters, a concern for climate change and other environmental issues, and his experience in founding and leading a major organisation fostering a positive relationship between science and Christian faith, Bob is the ideal speaker to tackle this particular Big Question, which is frequently in the minds of people as we hear of recent earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.

Short video summary:

Audio recording of the talk (with apologies for about half a minute of severe wireless interference towards the end of the question session:

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

Bob White slides

For further information about our guest speaker, see:

https://www.esc.cam.ac.uk/directory/robert-white

https://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Staff.php

Thursday 28 September 7:30 pm  Stocksfield Community Centre (SICA) NE43 7HL

Science and morality – can I blame my genes?

Keith Fox

 

Professor Keith Fox

Biological Sciences, Southampton University

Keith Fox studied biochemistry and obtained his PhD in pharmacology at Cambridge University.  He has worked at the Universities of Cambridge and Southampton and was for several years a Fellow of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine.  He is currently Professor of Biochemistry at Southampton, and is also Associate Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion at St Edmund’s College Cambridge.  His research is on DNA, the molecule of genetics and heredity.

Keith is the editor of Science and Christian Belief, the journal of Christians in Science, of which he is a trustee and former Chairman.  He is a lay reader in an Anglican church in Southampton.

With this expertise in biochemistry and genetics, and a long-term involvement in organisations seeking to relate science and Christian faith, Keith is an ideal speaker to tackle a subject that is often in the news when we hear of genetic influences on our behaviour and health.

Short video summary:

Audio recording of the talk:

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

Keith Fox slides

For further information on our guest speaker, see

https://www.southampton.ac.uk/biosci/about/staff/krf.page

https://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/Biography.php?ID=174


Tuesday 19 September 7:30 pm  St Thomas More Catholic School Blaydon NE21 4BQ

What significance do we have in a vast universe?

 Chris Done 2

Professor Chris Done

Department of Physics, Durham University

Chris Done is an astrophysicist in the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at Durham University.  She says she grew up wanting to be Spock in Star Trek and is now an expert on black holes and X-ray telescopes.  She has worked at NASA in the USA, where she was involved in the Space Shuttle programme.  Her current research combines theory and observation, in collaboration with the Japanese Space Agency, so in a sense she gets paid to do rocket science!

In her local church Chris has led Alpha Courses.  She has appeared in the BBC’s Songs of Praise when the programme celebrated the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.  She has written articles for the organisation Christians in Science, explaining the ‘Big Bang’ for non-experts.

With this expertise in astronomy and astrophysics, and a concern to explain big science concepts and their relationship to Christian faith for those without that expertise, Chris is an ideal speaker to begin our autumn second series of talks, addressing a really Big Question.

Short video summary:

Audio recording of the talk:

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

Chris Done slides

For further information on our guest speaker, see

https://www.dur.ac.uk/physics/staff/profiles/?username=dph0cd


Monday 10 July 7:30 pm  Stocksfield Methodist Church NE43 7HL

Can we believe in miracles in an age of science?

Colin Humphreys

Professor Sir Colin Humphreys FRS

Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, Cambridge University

Audio recording of the talk:

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

Colin Humphreys slides

Some relevant books:

The Miracles of Exodus
Colin Humphreys
Harper Collins 2003; ISBN 9780060582739

The Mystery of the Last Supper: Reconstructing the Final Days of Jesus
Colin Humphreys
Cambridge University Press 2011; ISBN 0-521-73200-X

Sir Colin Humphreys is a materials scientist specialising in semiconductors, electron microscopy, and aerospace materials.  He was awarded the CBE in 2003 for services to research and communication in science, knighted in 2010, and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011.  He has other awards for his scientific research.

Colin “studies the Bible when not pursuing his day-job as a materials scientist”, in his own words.  He has a particular interest in understanding the miracles recorded in the Bible, and has published books on the subject.  His investigations have included the miracles associated with the Exodus (the plagues in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea and River Jordan, and the nature and location of Mount Sinai), the star of Bethlehem, and the date of the first Good Friday and Easter.

With this combination of experience and interests, he is an ideal speaker to tackle the fifth in our series of talks, concerning the relationship of science and miracles.

For further information on our guest speaker, see https://www.msm.cam.ac.uk/people/humphreys


Friday 30 June 7:30 pm  Knott Memorial Hall, Heddon on the Wall NE15 0DT

Science and Christian faith – age-old enemies or natural allies?

BillClegg2015

Professor Bill Clegg

School of Chemistry and University Chaplaincy, Newcastle University

Short video summary:

Audio recording of the talk:

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

Bill Clegg slides

Some relevant books:

Slaying the Dragons: Destroying myths in the history of science and faith
Allan Chapman
Lion Hudson 2013; ISBN 978 0 7459 5583 4

Galileo goes to jail and other myths about science and religion
Ronald L. Numbers (editor)
Harvard University Press 2009; ISBN 978 0 674 03327 6

Unnatural enemies: an introduction to science and Christianity
Kirsten Birkett
Matthias Media 1997; ISBN 1 876326 01 8

Bill Clegg is a chemist specialising in the subject of X-ray crystallography, a method for determining the detailed structure of molecules as if they could be seen through an extremely powerful microscope.  He formally retired in 2009 but continues with part-time research and the training of crystallographers.  He has been involved in developing major international research facilities, and in writing textbooks and editing research journals.

Bill has been interested in the relationship between science and Christian faith for about 50 years.  He has a Certificate in Theology, is an accredited Lay Preacher, and serves as the Baptist Chaplain at Newcastle University.  He leads a local group of the national organisation Christians in Science and is the science co-director of the Big Questions – Any Answers? project.

With this combination of experience and interests, he is an ideal speaker to tackle the fourth in our series of talks, addressing the widely held and media-promoted view that there is a major conflict between science and religion.

For further information on our guest speaker, see
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/profile/billclegg.html


Thursday 15 June 7:30 pm  Prudhoe Methodist Church NE42 6HP

Climate change – is it real and does it matter?

 Image result for Barack Obama

Dr David Golding CBE

Institute for Sustainability, Newcastle University

Audio recording of the talk:

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use – they include slides taken from the Synthesis Report (2014) of the 5th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change):

David Golding slides

Some reference articles and material provided by the speaker:

Climate Change for Sceptics

Response to BBC Met Office programme Aug ’15

Submission to Leveson Inquiry – Climate Change

Submission to public enquiry on Druridge Bay open-cast mining proposal

Some relevant video clips:

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands, addressing UN Climate Summit (7 mins)

Video, featuring a poem by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands, entitled “Dear Matafele Peinem” (3 mins)

Jeremy Irons, and ‘For the love of’ (5 mins)

“What Has Aid Ever Done For Anyone? Apart from…”

David Golding is a marine biologist and a campaigner on behalf of the world’s poor. He retired as a member of staff of the School of Marine Science and Technology at Newcastle University, but continues as a Visiting Fellow and an Honorary Chaplain.  He was a moving force in Make Poverty History North East, a founding member of the national board of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, and is currently Development Coordinator of North East Campaign Against Poverty (NECAP).  In recognition of his tireless world poverty campaigning activities, he has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Newcastle University and was given a CBE in the 2008 New Years Honours.
Recognising that climate change disproportionately affects the poorest people of the world, who are least responsible for it in the first place, David campaigns vigorously in favour of public acceptance of the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change and for action to reduce and even reverse the current impacts of affluent lifestyle on the environment.

David is a member of Whitley Bay Baptist Church.  With his scientific background and training, his years of world poverty campaigning, and his passionate Christian faith, he is an ideal speaker to tackle the topic in the third of our ‘Big Questions – Any Answers?’ series.

For further information on our guest speaker, see
http://www.ncl.ac.uk/sustainability/about/staff/profile/davidgolding.html


Wednesday 24 May 7:30 pm  Wylam Methodist Church Centre NE41 8AA

Mine for ever?  Our use of the earth’s resources

David Manning

Professor David Manning

Institute for Sustainability and School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University

Unfortunately an audio recording of this talk is not currently available.  We hope that a recording will be provided later, as it is possible that the talk will be repeated to another audience.

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

David Manning slides

David Manning is a geologist specialising in mineralogy and geochemistry, with applications in environmental science. He is currently Head of the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Newcastle University and has previously been Director of the University’s Institute for Sustainability. He is interested in soil and plant responses to climate change, in carbon capture, in plant nutrient supply, and in carbon-neutral geothermal energy. His work has also been involved with mineral raw materials, energy and waste management.

Mining in Northumberland and the northeast of England in general has, of course, a rich history and heritage, particularly for coal but also other mineral resources such as lead. Even today there is some mining activity, with controversy over plans to expand opencast coal mining near the Northumberland coast.  Quakers have long been involved in mining operations, and in the welfare of miners.

David is a Quaker with a life-long interest in responsible use of the earth’s resources including its mineral deposits such as fossil fuels.  With his background in geology and environmental science and his Quaker faith, he is an ideal speaker to tackle the topic in the second of our ‘Big Questions – Any Answers?’ series.

For further information on our guest speaker, see

http://www.ncl.ac.uk/ceg/staff/profile/davidmanning.html


Wednesday 10 May 7:30 pm  Queen Elizabeth High School Hexham NE46 3JB

Creation or Evolution – do we have to choose?

Denis Alexander

Professor Denis Alexander

Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, Cambridge

Audio recording of the talk:

Visual slides for the talk (note: images obtained from the internet are included in good faith on the understanding that they are not subject to copyright restrictions and are freely available for non-commercial use):

Denis Alexander slides

Reference:

Creation or Evolution: Do We Have to Choose? (2nd edition)
Denis Alexander
Monarch Books, Oxford, 2014 (first edition 2008)
ISBN: 978-0-85721-578-9     e-ISBN: 978-0-85721-579-6

Denis Alexander is an internationally recognized authority in genetics, the science of DNA and heredity.  He has worked in cancer research and has contributed to the development of medical science departments in Universities around the world.  He retired as a Professor in the world-leading biomedical Babraham Institute and as Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, both in Cambridge, but he continues to write, speak and broadcast on topics in the area of science and Christian faith.  He has written numerous books, including one with the same title as this talk, originally in 2008 and updated in 2014.

As a leading geneticist and a committed Christian, Denis believes firmly that an acceptance of the Bible as the Word of God and of the scientific understanding of biological evolution is intellectually and morally consistent, and that the commonly held view that these positions are in conflict is wrong.  With his background in biomedical science and Christian faith, he is an ideal speaker to tackle the topic in the first of our ‘Big Questions – Any Answers?’ series.

For further information on our guest speaker, see

http://www.faraday.st-edmunds.cam.ac.uk/People.php?UID=9