The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Feb. 25, 2002

Geneva Lecture Series hosts world-class scientist turned priest

The Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne, known as one of the greatest living writers and thinkers on science and religion, will visit the University of Iowa on Friday and Saturday, March 8 - 9 to give a series of lectures on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Geneva Lecture Committee.

He will address public audiences at 8 p.m. Friday, March 8 at Buchanan Auditorium at the College of Business. His address for that evening is "Is There Anyone There?" and on Saturday, he will lead a workshop from 9 a.m. to noon in the Illinois Room of the Iowa Memorial Union.

Sir Polkinghorne is currently the only ordained clergy in the Church of England who is also a Fellow of the Royal Society, and one of only three reverends who were appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1997.

He held a chair in physics at Cambridge University, undertook theological studies at Westcott House, and served as curate first at Cambridge and later at Bristol, before becoming vicar of Bleam from 1984 to 1986. Following his role as dean and chaplain of Trinity Hall in Cambridge, he became president of Queen's College, retiring from there in 1986.

Sir Polkinghorne is chairman of the Science, Medicine and Technology Committee of the Church of England's Board of Social Responsibility, of the Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing and of the publications committee of Christian mission agency SPCK. He chaired the joint working party on Cloning of the Human Genetics Advisory Commission and the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority. He is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, and of the Medical Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association. He is the author of many books on the compatibility of religion and science, including "The Way the World Is," and "One World, Science and Creation."

His other scheduled presentations are Friday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m., Physics Building, Van Allen Lecture Room No. 1, "Beyond Science, Is There a Mind and Purpose Behind the Universe?" a colloquium moderated by Fred Skiff, physics professor; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, lecture and workshop: "Can a Scientist Believe?" at the Illinois Room, Iowa Memorial Union.

His visit is co-sponsored by the UI Student Government, the department of physics, the School of Religion, and the Literature, Science and the Arts program and more than 15 religious organizations and churches.

The Geneva Lecture Series is committed to the proposition that good scholarship and Christian faith go hand in hand. The purpose of the lectures is to present the university community

with a challenge to consider the continuing relevance of the Christian message to contemporary life. In the past 25 years, more than 50 renowned scholars and scientists have been invited to speak on the general topics of how Christian faith relates to their intellectual discipline.

For more information, contact Jason Chen, at (319) 341-0007 or e-mail