My Science, My Faith

Panel discussion chaired by Dr Cherryl Hunt

Panellists: Dr Nicholas Higgs, Dr Rhoda Hawkins, Dr Christopher Southgate, Dr Althea Wilkinson, Rob Varley

Week four’s event will also be at the Cathedral and will take the form of an extended panel discussion. Panelists will be asked to talk briefly about their own spiritual journeys and will then be questioned by the Chair and by members of the congregation in a ‘Question Time’ style event.

Dr Cherryl Hunt, of the University of Exeter Centre for Ethics and Practical Theology, will chair the panel. We have invited the following to participate: Dr Nicholas Higgs, the Deputy Director of the Plymouth Marine Institute; Dr Rhoda Hawkins, a biophysicist from Sheffield University; Dr Christopher Southgate, former biologist and now theologian at the University of Exeter, and Principal of the South West Ministry Training Course; Dr Althea Wilkinson, an astronomer at Jodrell Bank and Manchester University; and Rob Varley, the Chief Executive of the Met Office.

Those attending this event are invited, if they wish to do so, to send questions in advance. There are several options: in private via our contact form; via Twitter at @ocgconversation using the hashtag #ocgmystory; or on the discussion on the Facebook event page.

This event will be co-sponsored by the local group of Christians in Science.

7.30pm Thursday 30 March 2017
Exeter Cathedral

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Start the conversation

As well as coming to the event, we would love you to have your own conversations online. We are initially on Twitter and Facebook. The event will be filmed, and once posted on Youtube, you will be able to respond there also.

You can find more books and other materials on our Resources page.

Who’s who?

Dr Nick Higgs

Nick HiggsNick Higgs is Deputy Director of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University, where he previously worked as Postdoctoral Research Fellow in marine ecology. Prior to this, he was based at the University of Leeds and the Natural History Museum for his doctoral work.

His research is generally concerned with the recycling of organic matter in ocean ecosystems, the processes generating life from death. This has primarily been in the context of deep-sea habitats but also includes tropical seagrass beds and lobster fisheries.

Nick has been a member of Christians in Science since his undergraduate studies in Southampton and now serves on the committee.

On Common Ground

Nick is participating in the panel "My Science, My Faith" on 30 March.

Continue the conversation

Dr Rhoda Hawkins

Rhoda HawkinsDr Rhoda Hawkins is a Lecturer in Physics at the University of Sheffield. Prior to this she held research posts in Amsterdam, Paris and Bristol. She did her PhD at the University of Leeds and her undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford.

She has been a member of Christians in Science since her student days and is now a committee member (having previously served on the committee as a PhD student rep). More recently she has enjoyed using the "Test of FAITH" materials in a variety of contexts and speaking in secondary schools about science and religion.

On Common Ground

Rhoda is participating in the panel "My Science, My Faith" on 30 March.

Dr Christopher Southgate

Christopher SouthgateChris Southgate trained originally as a research biochemist. He has taught for the Department of Theology at Exeter University on the science-religion debate (and related areas such as environmental ethics) since 1993. His research interests include the problem of suffering in evolution, the concept of glory in the natural world and in religious poetry, and the origin of life.

Chris's book 'The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution and the Problem of Evil' was released by Westminster John Knox Press in 2008. He is also the editor of 'God, Humanity and the Cosmos' (2nd edn, Continuum, 2005, 3rd edition 2011), a standard text in the science-religion field.

Chris's other work is as Principal of the South West Ministry Training Course. He is the author of seven collections of poetry, the most recent being 'Chasing the Raven' (Shoestring, 2016).

On Common Ground

Christopher is participating in the panel "My Science, My Faith" on 30 March.

Continue the conversation

Rob Varley

Rob VarleyRob Varley obtained a degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia. He has worked for the Met Office for over 30 years. He started as a weather forecaster, followed by 10 years overseeing the training and development of forecasters. Rob then managed the procurement and construction of the Met Office's headquarters building in Exeter and after the move has worked mainly with public sector customers, helping the UK to manage the risks and exploit the opportunities associated with our changing weather and climate. He joined the Met Office Executive in 2007 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2014.

Rob is the UK's Permanent Representative at the World Meteorological Organisation and the President of Eumetnet, an Economic Interest Group representing the National Meteorological Services of Europe. He is also the UK's representative on the Councils for the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and EUMETSAT, the European organisation for meteorological satellites. In 2016 he was awarded an honorary DSc by the University of East Anglia.

On Common Ground

Rob is participating in the panel "My Science, My Faith" on 30 March.

Dr Cherryl Hunt

Cherryl HuntCherryl Hunt has a University of Exeter PhD in cell/molecular biology and worked as a researcher and tutor in Biosciences for several years.

She then mutated (her word) into a theologian with an MA in Theology, focused on biblical studies, followed by three years research on the 'Uses of the Bible in Environmental Ethics'. She has recently been awarded her PhD in Theology for research on strategies by which 'ordinary' Christians (those with little or no academic theological education) might be enabled to engage with the ancient texts comprising the Bible.

She is now a Research Fellow in Theology as well as being Academic Administrator of the South West Ministry Training Course (in which she also teaches). Cherryl is especially interested in topics in which ethics, theology and the biosciences interact, such as environmental care, the status of the early embryo and stem cell research.

On Common Ground

Cherryl Hunt is chairing the panel "My Science, My Faith" on 30 March.

Dr Althea Wilkinson

Althea WilkinsonAlthea Wilkinson is now a part time domain specialist in the Square Kilometre Array Signal and Data Transport Consortium, after being project manager of the Consortium for several years. She graduated in Natural Sciences (Physics) at Cambridge and has a PhD in Radio Astronomy from the University of Manchester (Jodrell Bank).

After a spell in California using optical telescopes, she returned to the UK to work on numerical simulations of galaxies at Manchester University. She started lecturing part time in the Physics Dept in Manchester, while bringing up two children. When they went to school she went back to Jodrell Bank, and became project manager on the UK low frequency instrumentation for the European Space Agency cosmology mission called Planck.

Althea was a late convert to Christianity, but has since been involved in talking to teenagers about science and faith in the “God and the Big Bang” Initiative. She is a co-leader of the “Scientists in Congregations” project in her local church in Lindow, Cheshire.

On Common Ground

Althea is participating in the panel "My Science, My Faith" on 30 March.

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