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.

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Dr Ruth Bancewicz

Ruth BancewiczRuth is a Senior Research Associate at The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, working on the positive interaction between science and faith.

After studying Genetics at Aberdeen University, she completed a PhD at Edinburgh University, based at the MRC Human Genetics Unit. During this time she also worked at the Edinburgh Science Festival, developing and delivering hands-on science activities.

She spent two years as a part-time postdoctoral researcher at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, Edinburgh University, while also working as the Development Officer for Christians in Science – a post she held for three years, before moving full-time to the Faraday Institute to develop the “Test of FAITH” resources, the first of which were launched in 2009. Ruth is a trustee of Christians in Science.

On Common Ground

Ruth participated in the conversation “Awe, Wonder and Beauty in Science – a route to God?” on 23 March.

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Dr Morven Shearer

Morven ShearerMorven Shearer is an Academic Fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of St Andrews, and works as part of the Public Health and Health Policy research group.

Her research involves consideration of the ethical issues raised by advances in medicine, particularly those surrounding children and health care.

Recent projects include the ethics of antidepressant use in children, the evaluation of services for children with cerebral palsy in Scotland, and exploring the ethical issues raised by paediatric clinical trials.

On Common Ground

Morven participated in the panel “Are Scientists Playing God?” on 16 March.

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Rev Dr John Searle

John SearleJohn Searle worked as consultant anaesthetist at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital for 25 years. He was also Director of the Intensive Care Unit where he developed a particular interest in the management of patients dying from trauma and acute illness. He was the foundation chair of the Exeter and District Hospice.

John was ordained as a minister in the Church of England in 1995, since when he has worked in a number of ministerial posts including training clergy for the Anglican and Methodists churches. He recently retired as a residentiary canon at Exeter Cathedral.

He has a long-standing interest in ethics and together with Professor John Bryant has co-authored books on ethics and science including “Life in our Hands”, a review of the ethical dilemmas presented by advances in molecular biology and artificial reproduction. In 1998 he was awarded the OBE for services to medicine and the hospice movement.

On Common Ground

John participated in the panel “Are Scientists Playing God?” on 16 March.

Rt Rev Dame Sarah Mullally

Sarah MullallySarah Mullally studied first at South Bank University for her BSc followed by a MSc and then at Heythrop College, University of London where she got her MA. Before ordination (in 2001) she was England’s Chief Nursing Officer in the Department of Health. She was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Science from Bournemouth University, (2004), University of Wolverhampton (2004) and University of Hertfordshire (2005) and was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2005 for her contribution to nursing and midwifery.

She trained for the ministry at t he South East Institute for Theologian Education and served her first curacy at Battersea Fields in Southwark Diocese from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2012 she was Team Rector at Sutton in Southwark Diocese. Immediately prior to being appointed Bishop of Crediton in Exeter Diocese she was Canon Residentiary and Canon Treasurer at Salisbury Cathedral.

Bishop Sarah leads the Church of England’s implementation of safeguarding reforms and has also continued her interest in the health service as a non-executive director at Salisbury NHS Foundation Hospital. She says “In my ministry in the Diocese of Exeter I hope to encourage and enable Christians to grow in their faith, to share that faith with confidence and to serve the people of Devon with joy.”

On Common Ground

Sarah participated in the panel “Are Scientists Playing God?” on 16 March.

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Canon Dame Suzi Leather

Suzi LeatherSuzi Leather chairs the Office of the Independent Adjudicator, the student appeal body for higher education, is a member of the General Medical Council and a lay chapter canon at Exeter Cathedral. She is a past chair of the Charity Commission and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and sat on the Human Genetics Commission and the Human Tissue Authority.

On Common Ground

Suzi chaired the panel “Are Scientists Playing God?” on 16 March.

Prof Tom McLeish FRS

Tom McLeishTom McLeish is Professor of Physics at Durham University and also chairs the Royal Society’s education committee. After a first degree in physics and PhD (1987) in polymer physics at Cambridge University, a lectureship at Sheffield University, in complex fluid physics, lead to a chair at Leeds University from 1993. 

He has since won several awards both in Europe (Weissenberg Medal) and the USA (Bingham Medal) for his work on molecular rheology of polymers, and ran a large collaborative and multidisciplinary research programme in this field from 1999-2009 co-funded by EPSRC and industry. 

His research interests include: (i) molecular rheology of polymeric fluids); (ii) macromolecular biological physics; (iii) issues of theology, ethics and history of science. He has published over 180 scientific papers and reviews, and is in addition regularly involved in science-communication with the public, including lectures and workshops on science and faith. In 2014 OUP published his book “Faith and Wisdom in Science”, and this January Lion Hudson published “Let There be Science”, co-authored with David Hutchings. He has been a Reader in the Anglican Church since 1993, in the dioceses of Ripon and York.

From 2008-2014 he served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham University. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 2012 he was made Vice-President of Science by the Institute of Physics.

On Common Ground

Tom spoke on “The Continuing Dance Between Science and Theology” on 9 March. Here he is the following morning in a short conversation with Prof John Bryant.

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Prof John Bryant

John BryantJohn Bryant was Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at the University of Exeter and for five years was also Head of Biosciences. He is now Professor Emeritus. His research was mainly focused on the biochemistry of DNA and genes.

John was a Visiting Research Associate at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA from 1992-1997 and Visiting Professor of Molecular Biology at West Virginia State University, USA from 1999-2007. He is a Past-President of the Society for Experimental Biology and a former Chair of Christians in Science. In 1995/96 John and (now Dame) Suzi Leather introduced at Exeter the first UK university Bioethics course for Bioscience students. Since 2002 he has been (with Dr Chris Willmott, University of Leicester) the advisor on Bioethics to the Higher Education Academy.

He is well-known as a speaker, writer and broadcaster on science, bioethics and on the science & religion debate. The latter has included contributing to The Faraday Institute’s multi-media resource “Test of FAITH”. In his spare time John enjoys sport, bird-watching and the ‘great outdoors’.

On Common Ground

John is one of the Course Directors. He participated in the panel “Are Scientists Playing God?” on 16 March, and the conversation “Awe, Wonder and Beauty in Science – a route to God?” on 23 March.

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Canon Anna Norman-Walker

Anna is currently the Canon Chancellor at Exeter Cathedral. Before ordination she worked as a children’s nurse and latterly as a youth minister. She has served as a Parish Priest in both market town and rural contexts and also as a School Chaplain. She is on the leadership team of ‘Leading your Church in Growth’ (a group of practitioners from across the UK with experience of leading churches through change, renewal and growth) and served as the Diocesan Missioner for Exeter Diocese from 2010-14. At Exeter Cathedral she has responsibility for outreach and education and is responsible for the Holy Ground Community, which offers creative contemplative worship monthly with guest speakers addressing topics of faith, justice and the arts.

On Common Ground

Anna is one of the Course Directors.

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Image credits

Available on Pixabay under the Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain licence.

Genesis 1:1-5, New Revised Standard Version
Image Credit: Clare Bryden

Awe, Wonder and Beauty in Science: a route to God – or not?Messier 5 (M5) globular star cluster, taken by Hubble Space Telescope
Image Credit: NASA, Hubble Space Telescope, ESA
Available on the NASA website

Atoms in platinum crystal at magnification of 750,000, Community of St Mary the Virgin, Wantage
Image Credit: Clare Fleming

Blackboard used by Albert Einstein in a 1931 lecture in Oxford, now on permanent display in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.
Image Credit: decltype
Available on Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.