The Trotter Prize in Information, Complexity and Inference is awarded annually for pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of information, complexity and inference in illuminating the mechanisms and wonder of nature. The Trotter Lecture seeks to reveal connections between science and religion, often viewed in academia as non-overlapping, if not rival, worldviews.
Know a pioneer in this area?
Recipients of the Trotter Prize are invited to deliver a lecture at Texas A&M University under the Trotter Prize Endowed Lecture Series and receive a cash award.
Leverett Professor of Physics, Harvard University,
God of Antimatter
Professor Gabrielse is a no-nonsense experimental physicist known for launching low-energy antimatter science and for extremely sensitive probes of the properties and symmetries of antimatter and matter particles. In this Trotter Lecture, he will start with a popular account of his antimatter and matter science, then reflect upon what room such science leaves for matters of faith.
Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus, Cornell University,
INDIGO: A Story of Craft, Religion, History, Science, and Culture
In world culture, the desirable blue pigment indigo has served remarkably to intertwine craft, fashion, religion, power, and science -- even if some would prefer they remain separate. The richly illustrated story begins with prescription by the Hebrews in Numbers of a snail-origin blue pigment for ritual use (and its role in a critical biblical rebellion) and is paralleled by the account of Tyrian purple and its uses in the Roman world. It continues with an exploration of global animal and plant sources, the historical loss of the art of making snail indigo, and the economics of our desire for blue, from chemistry to jeans. Some observations on the relationship of science and religion will emerge along the way.
Hugh N. Ross
Founder and President, Reasons To Believe,
Theistic Implications of Big Bang Cosmology
Ross is founder and president of Reasons To Believe (RTB), an organization devoted to the constructive integration of science and faith. His interest in science, specifically in astronomy, began in early childhood and developed through frequent trips to the library and use of a homemade telescope. At age 17 he became director of observations for the Royal Astronomical Society in Vancouver. While researching quasars and galaxies at the California Institute of Technology and serving on the pastoral staff of a nearby church, he also studied philosophy and religion, at which time he discovered an unexpected consistency between the words of the Bible and the facts of nature. He founded RTB in 1986 and, for more than 25 years, has monitored the frontiers of research and communicated a message he describes as the "thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology." An adjunct faculty member at A.W. Tozer Seminary and Southern Evangelical Seminary and the author of several books, including "Why the Universe Is the Way It Is," "Creator and the Cosmos" and "The Fingerprint of God," Ross also travels the world to speak on university campuses and in other global venues.
Gerald L. Schroeder
Lecturer, The Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, Israel,
Genesis and the Big Bang
Schroeder is an MIT graduate with more than 30 years of research and teaching experience in a wide variety of unique and unusual areas, including nuclear disarmament. He moved to Israel in 1971 to join the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science and later the Volcani Research Institute while maintaining a laboratory at The Hebrew University. His doctorate is in two fields, Earth science and physics, and he also has formal theological training in biblical, Talmudic and kabalistic interpretation. For the past 25 years, he has pursued a study of ancient biblical interpretation, specializing in nuances that are often missed when working with translations instead of original languages of which he has mastery. His related books -- including his second, "The Science of God," which was on the Barnes & Noble list of non-fiction best-sellers and was Amazon.com's best-selling book in the field of physics and cosmology for all of 1998 -- appear in 10 languages. He boasts more than 60 publications in the world's leading scientific journals, and the results of his work have been reported in "Time," "Newsweek" and "Scientific American" as well as newspapers from Boston to Adelaide.
Francisco J. Ayala
University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine,
Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion
Ayala is an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist who won the 2010 Templeton Prize. A former Dominican priest who was awarded the National Medal of Science in 2001, Ayala has championed faith as an important window for understanding the purpose and meaning of life while warning against the intrusion of religion into science. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences who has authored more than 1000 papers and 40 books, including 'Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion.' He was the principal author of ''Science, Evolution, and Creationism', a National Academy of Science publication refuting creationism and intelligent design. His most recent scientific achievements include demonstration that great apes serve as reservoirs for malaria causing parasites. He holds the title of University Professor, the highest rank in the California university system and is the only person at Irvine with that title.
Henry F. Schaefer III
Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia,
C.S. Lewis: Science and Scientism
Schaefer is one of the most distinguished physical scientists in the world. The U.S. News and World Report cover story of December 23, 1991 speculated that Professor Schaefer is a 'five time nominee for the Nobel Prize.' He has received four of the most prestigious awards of the American Chemical Society, as well as the most highly esteemed award (the Centenary Medal) given to a non-British subject by London's Royal Society of Chemistry. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Moreover, his general interest lectures on science and religion have riveted large audiences in nearly all the major universities in the U.S.A. and in Beijing, Berlin, Budapest, Calcutta, Cape Town, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Istanbul, London, Paris, Prague, Sarajevo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sofia, St. Petersburg, Sydney, Tokyo, Warsaw, Zagreb, and Zurich. For 18 years Dr. Schaefer was a faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley, where he remains Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus. Since 1987 Dr. Schaefer has been Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia.
Prof. Francis Everitt
Research Professor W.W. Hansen Experimental Physics Laboratory, Stanford University,
Mystery in Science, Reason in Religion: How the Two Intersect and Overlap
Everitt, an expert in both space research and physics history, is principal investigator of the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) experiment, a collaboration between Stanford, NASA, and Lockheed Martin Corporation that is testing predictions of Albert Einstein's 1916 theory of gravitation using four ultra-precise gyroscopes that have been orbiting the Earth in a satellite since 2004. He obtained his doctorate at the University of London (Imperial College) in 1959 for research under Nobel laureate P.M.S. Blackett, then spent two years at the University of Pennsylvania working on liquid helium before joining the Stanford faculty in 1962. His efforts have advanced the state-of-the-art in the areas of cryogenics, magnetics, quantum devices, telescope design, control systems, quartz fabrication techniques, metrology, and, most of all, gyroscope technology. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2006, Everitt has been a member of numerous national and international committees, including the International Academy of Astronautics Committee on Relativity, the NASA Management Operations Working Group in Shuttle Astronomy, and the NASA Astrophysics Council. His many awards include the Tyndall Prize in Experimental Physics, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the 1997 Marcel Grossmann Award, and the 2005 NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.
Sir Roger Penrose
Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, University of Oxford ,
Did the Universe Have a Beginning?
Penrose originated twistor theory, which seeks to unite Einstein's general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics, and has made major contributions to many areas of physics and geometry, including non-periodic tilings, which cannot be shifted and still match the original pattern. He earned his bachelor of science in mathematics at University College, London, in 1952 and his doctorate in algebraic geometry at St John's College, Cambridge, in 1957. He is a visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, and holds the Francis and Helen Pentz Distinguished Professorship of Physics and Mathematics at Penn State University. Penrose was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1972, knighted in 1994 for services to science, and appointed to the Order of Merit in 2000. A foreign member of the National Academy of Sciences, his many awards include the 1971 Heinemann Prize, the Royal Astronomical Society's 1975 Eddington Medal, the Royal Society's 1985 Royal Medal and 2008 Copley Medal, the 1988 Wolf Foundation Prize for Physics (shared with Stephen Hawking), the Albert Einstein Society's 1990 Albert Einstein Medal, and the London Mathematical Society's 1991 Naylor Prize and 2004 de Morgan Medal. He holds 14 honorary degrees and has written several books, including 1990 Science Book Prize winner "The Emperor's New Mind."
Professor Emeritus of Astronomy and History of Science, Harvard University,
Mystery in Science, Reason in Religion: How the Two Intersect and Overlap
Owen Gingerich, former chair of Harvard's History of Science Department and a co-author of two successive standard models for the solar atmosphere, has become a leading authority on legendary astronomers Johannes Kepler and Nicholas Copernicus during the past three decades. In addition to nearly 600 technical and educational articles and reviews, he has written popular astronomy pieces in several encyclopedias and journals. Two anthologies of Gingerich's essays, "The Great Copernicus Chase and Other Adventures in Astronomical History" and "The Eye of Heaven: Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler," have appeared from Cambridge University Press. Most recently he has published "God's Universe," the William Belden Nobel Lectures at Harvard, in 2005. Gingerich has served as vice president of the American Philosophical Society, as chairman of the U.S. National Committee of the International Astronomical Union and as councilor of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). His many awards include the AAS's Education (2004) and Doggett Prizes (2000), the Harvard-Radcliffe Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in Teaching (1984) and the Polish government's Order of Merit (1981). A world traveler, Gingerich has observed 12 total solar eclipses and has an asteroid named in his honor.
1964 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics ,
The Parallellism and Likely Eventual Convergence of Science and Religion
Charles H. Townes, professor emeritus at the University of California-Berkeley and an international authority on quantum electronics and astrophysics, revolutionized the world with his invention of the laser, which he patented in 1960. In addition to his many contributions to science and industry, Townes is equally respected for his efforts at reconciling the claims of science and religion. Beyond his Nobel and Templeton Prizes, Townes boasts a long and storied career in both academia and industry as well as nearly 30 honorary degrees from various international universities. In addition to pioneering posts at Bell Laboratories, the Institute for Defense Analysis and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Townes has served as a professor at many notable U.S. institutions, including Columbia University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and UC-Berkeley. He worked on an advanced radar system for Allied bombers during World War II and also served as chairman of the advisory committee to Project Apollo. Now in his ninth decade, Townes still enjoys traveling and discussing the future of science. He has detailed his life's story and accomplishments in two books, "Making Waves" and "How the Laser Happened: Adventures of a Scientist."
Dr. Francis S. Collins
Director , National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health,
The Language of God
Francis Collins, who earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Virginia and a doctorate in physical chemistry at Yale University, is a member of the National Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. His laboratories at the NIH and University of Michigan have pioneered the discovery of a number of important genes, including those responsible for cystic fibrosis, neurofibromatosis, Huntington's disease and, most recently, Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a dramatic form of premature aging. In addition to his scientific achievements, Collins is known for his continuing emphasis on the importance of ethical and legal issues in genetics. He has been a strong advocate for protecting the privacy of genetic information and has served as a national leader in efforts to prohibit gene-based insurance and employment discrimination.
Dr. Steven Weinberg
1979 Nobel Prize in Physics Professor of Physics & Astronomy, University of Texas,
Steven Weinberg, who taught at Columbia, Berkeley, MIT and Harvard before coming to Texas in 1982, has earned a number of professional honors in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the National Medal of Science (1991) and American Philosophical Society's Benjamin Franklin Medal (2004). A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Britain's Royal Society, the Royal Irish Academy, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he has authored more than 300 articles and 10 books on elementary particle physics, cosmology and other subjects. Weinberg has served as a consultant at the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, as president of the Philosophical Society of Texas and as a member of the Board of Editors of Daedalus magazine, the Council of Scholars of the Library of Congress, the JASON group of defense consultants and many other boards and committees. Educated at Cornell, Copenhagen and Princeton, he also holds honorary doctoral degrees from 16 other universities, including Chicago, Columbia, McGill, Padua, Salamanca and Yale.
Dr. Simon Conway Morris
Professor of Earth Sciences Holder of the Chair in Evolutionary Paleobiology at the University of Cambridge,
Darwin's Compass: How Evolution Discovers the Song of Creation
A Fellow of the Royal Society of London and an honorary fellow of the European Union of Geosciences, Conway Morris has been a fellow at St. John's College, Cambridge, since 1975. He is best known for his study of the famous Burgess Shale fossil fauna and the early evolution of skeletons -- research that has impacted global understanding of how life evolved on Earth. These Cambrian studies, in combination with Conway Morris' interest in fellow paleobiologist Stephen J. Gould's arguments for contingency in the history of life, helped spawn his current interest in evolutionary convergence and its broader significance.
Dr. Freeman J. Dyson
2000 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion Winner Professor Emeritus of physics, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton ,
Heretical Thoughts about Science and Society
A member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Freeman Dyson served as a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton for 40 years prior to being named a professor emeritus in 1994. Dyson, a former professor of physics at Cornell University (1951-1953), holds 21 honorary degrees and has earned a variety of prestigious awards during his career, including the Danny Heineman Prize from American Institute of Physics (1965), the Oersted Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers (1991) and the Enrico Fermi Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (1995). A prolific author as well as theorist, he was recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science for his 1988 book, Infinite in All Directions, while his 1979 book, Disturbing the Universe, was commissioned by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Science Book Program. In 1984 Dyson was recognized with a National Books Critics Circle Award for Non-Fiction, and in 1996, he also received the Lewis Thomas Prize honoring the Scientist as Poet from Rockefeller University.
Dr. William D. Phillips
1997 Nobel Prize in Physics Winner Research Group Leader, Physics Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology,
Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science
One of the leading speakers at the 2001 Harvard conference, The Quest for Knowledge, Truth and Values in Science and Religion, William Phillips has merited a number of professional honors in addition to the Nobel Prize. These include the Arthur L. Schawlow Prize in Laser Science from the American Physical Society (1998), the Michelson Medal from the Franklin Institute (1996), and both the Gold (1993) and Silver Medals (1983) from the United States Department of Commerce. A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Sigma Xi Research Society, he is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Optical Society of America and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Phillips also has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow (1970), a National Science Foundation Fellow (1970-1973), a Chaim Weizmann Postdoctoral Fellow (1976-1978) and an APS-DLS Distinguished Traveling Lecturer (1996-1998).
Dr. William Dembski
Associate Research Professor, Baylor University ,
Intelligent Design's Place in the Natural Sciences
A mathematician and a philosopher, William Dembski is a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle and also executive director of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. He has previously taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Dallas and done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. In addition, Dembski is the author/editor of 10 books, including In The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities.
Dr. Stuart Kauffman
Director, Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics, University of Calgary,
Toward a Physical Definition of Life
Stuart Kauffman, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Pennsylvania and an external professor and co-founder of the Santa Fe Institute, is a leading thinker on self-organization and the science of complexity as applied to biology. Twenty-five years ago, he developed the Kauffman models, which are random networks exhibiting a kind of self-organization that he terms "order for free." A MacArthur Fellow, he is the founding general partner and chief scientific officer of The Bios Group, a company that applies the science of complexity to business management problems. Kauffman is also a physician, though he no longer practices, as well as a prolific author.
Dr. Paul Davies
Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University,
Did Life Come From Mars?
Paul Davies, a professor of Natural Philosophy in the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at Macquarie University, conducted research in the fields of cosmology, gravitation, and quantum field theory, with particular emphasis on black holes, the origin of the universe, and the nature of time.
Dr. Robert Shapiro
Professor Emeritus and Senior Lecturer of Chemistry, New York University,
Science & Myth in the Origin of Life
Robert Shapiro, a professor emeritus and senior lecturer of Chemistry at New York University, conducted research centered on the chemistry of nucleic acids. Through his research, Shapiro has argued that the complexity of RNA is too great for spontaneous, unassisted assembly of the first molecules to take place.
Dr. Alan Guth
Father of the "inflationary universe" theory Professor of Physics at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Cosmic Inflation and the Origin of the Universe
Alan Guth, a National Academy of Sciences member, is known as the father of the "inflationary universe" theory, which holds that a repulsive force embedded in the universe caused the inconceivably rapid early expansion of the Big Bang. Initially, the universe was so small that its temperature and density should have been uniform. Guth's awards include the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics. Last year, he was a recipient of the Dirac Medal from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics at Trieste, Italy.
Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne
Anglican Priest Former Professor of Mathematical Physics and President of Queens' College, Cambridge,
The Universe as Creation
Polkinghorne made a 25-year career as a theoretical particle physicist, becoming a fellow of the Royal Society (Britain's National Academy of Science), before he decided in midlife to enter the seminary and become an Anglican priest. He has written a series of books about science and religion from the perspective of one able to regard the fields with uncommon levels of insight and appreciation. Far from denouncing science in favor of religion, Polkinghorne has written that he respects both and believes that they are complementary aspects of one great quest for truth and understanding. Polkinghorne is the 2002 winner of the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities. Polkinghorne was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of England in 1997.
Dr. Francis Crick
1962 Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine and Physiology The Salk Institute,
The Astonishing Hypothesis
Crick won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for his discovery of the structure of DNA. As J.W. Kieckhefer Distinguished Research Professor at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, his work was entirely theoretical, focusing mainly on the visual system of mammals and neurobiology. His goal was to bring together the molecular and cellular aspects of neurons, the observations of neuroanatomy and neurophysiology, and the behavior of organisms as studied by psychologists. Widely published in many areas, including the neural basis of attention, REM sleep and the visual system of awareness, Crick's later research up until his death in July 2004 was focused on discovering the neural correlate of consciousness.
Dr. Charles Townes
1964 Nobel Prize in Physics University of California-Berkeley,
The Convergence of Science and Religion
Townes was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his invention of the laser. His recent work at UC-Berkeley has focused on astrophysics. He notes that while at times it has appeared that science and religion seem to clash, the two actually are closely related. Though they can appear very different, Townes claims there is much parallelism, as both science and religion are based on human abilities to understand using postulates or faith, intuition and inspiration, experimentation or observations, and logic or reason. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Townes has received the Templeton Prize for contributions to the understanding of religion, as well as a number of other prestigious awards and nearly 30 honorary degrees from various international universities.
The Trotter Endowed Lecture Series Self-Perpetuating Steering Committee provides overall guidance and program development. It is comprised of deans and distinguished faculty from the Texas A&M University Colleges of Science and Engineering, a representative of the donor and external scholars and scientists.
|Dr. Katherine M. Banks||Dean, The Dwight Look College of Engineering|
|Dr. Walter Bradley||Professor Emeritus, Mechanical Engineering|
|Dr. John Gladysz||Distinguished Professor, Chemistry|
|Dr. Jay Humphrey||Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Yale University|
|Dr. H. Joseph Newton||Dean, College of Science|
|Dr. Emanuel Parzen||Distinguished Professor, Statistics|
|Professor Marlan Scully||Distinguished Professor, Physics|
|Professor Charles Townes||Nobel Prize Winner|
|Dr. Ide P. Trotter||Donor Representative|
|Dr. James Womack||Distinguished Professor, Veterinary Pathology|
The endowed lecture series, which marks the college's fifth overall, and its associated prize are being established to honor the memory of Dr. Ide P. Trotter Sr., former dean of the Texas A&M Graduate School. Trotter served in numerous administrative capacities at Texas A&M, including a head of the Department of Agronomy (1936-1944); director of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service (1944-1948); dean of the Graduate School (1949-1956); and associate dean of the Graduate School and extension consultant for professional improvement (1956-1960). As dean of the Graduate School, he initiated a graduate lecture series. Trotter's son, Dr. Ide P. Trotter Jr., along with his wife, Luella H. Trotter, decided to establish the lecture series to assist in carrying on at Texas A&M the broad educational objectives championed by his father.