Martin Rees aka Baron Rees of Ludlow has been awarded the 2011 Templeton prize. The Templeton prize is awarded annually by the Templeton Foundation to someone who “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works”. Last years winner was Francisco Ayala. What is interesting about this years winner is that Martin Rees is an atheists. Many atheists find the Templeton Foundation repugnant, for what they believe is religious infiltration into Science (a recent Nature article indicated that their concerns are excessive). As such many are viewing Martin Rees’ acceptance of the prize as a major coo by the foundation (mind you who would turn down a $1.6 million prize!). However, Rees, as a “church going atheists” has never been “allergic to religion”. Here is a transcript of an interview with him about the prize from the Guardian. Those interested in Martin Rees should listen to his 2010 Reith Lectures (audio available here) entitled Scientific Horizons.
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