|IAN GRAEME BARBOUR|
May 28, 1999
|The following is the biography of Ian Barbour, a Carleton College professor emeritus, was awarded the 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in recognition of efforts to create a dialogue between the worlds of science and religion. It is provided by the John Templeton Foundation.|
Ian Barbour's Issues in Science and Religion, published in 1965, has
been credited with literally creating the contemporary field of science
and religion. Barbour has also written and spoken extensively about
ethical issues arising from the technological applications of science.
As a physicist and theologian familiar with both these disciplines,
which had long been considered separate domains, his writings have influenced
an entire generation of scientists, religious scholars, church leaders
|At the age of 20, he received a
degree in physics from Swarthmore College. Barbour applied to work in
an ambulance unit of the American Field Service in Europe during the war,
but a change in the regulations prevented him from serving because of
his British citizenship. His alternative service brought him to a three-year
stint fighting forest fires in Oregon and working in a mental hospital
in North Carolina.
Barbour received his masters degree in physics from Duke University in 1946. While there, he met his future wife, Deane Kern, of Washington, D.C. They were married in 1947.
The following year, the couple were leaders of international student work camps in Germany which cleared rubble from a bombed-out hospital in Hamburg and a university in Münster.
Barbour enrolled at the University of Chicago and served as a teaching assistant to Enrico Fermi, the Italian-born physicist who had carried out the world's first atomic chain reaction in Chicago. Barbour pursued research in high-energy physics. In 1949 he completed a Ph.D. in physics.
|To Divinity School|
| From there, Barbour joined the Physics Department
at Kalamazoo College in Michigan, becoming department chair in 1951 at
age 28. Around this time, his research reports and articles began to appear
in scientific journals.
Two years later, Barbour took a step that would change his life, and the worlds of science and religion, forever. Enrolling in Yale Divinity School, he studied theology, philosophy, and ethics. During his summers he did additional work at Union Theological Seminary in New York. By 1956 he had earned a divinity degree from Yale.
In 1955, Barbour accepted an offer from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., that presaged the unique career that lay ahead: he was appointed to teach in both the Physics Department and the Religion Department. Within a few years, he was chair of the Religion Department.
Barbour's many books and articles have compared methods of inquiry in science and religion, and explored the theological implications of the Big Bang, quantum physics, evolutionary biology, and genetics. Over the years he has also written and lectured widely on ethical issues in such fields as technology policy, energy, agriculture, computers, and cloning. In the 1970s he initiated an interdisciplinary program in Science, Technology and Public Policy at Carleton, and spent a year as Lilly Visiting Professor at Purdue.
| When Barbour's first series of Gifford Lectures
in Scotland were published in 1990, Holmes Rolston III, University Distinguished
Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University, wrote:
"Ian Barbour has for nearly three decades lived right at the center of the dialogue between religion and science. Here now, culminating his career, is his Gifford Lectures, a splendid work that will set agendas and shape convictions on into the next century, indeed into the next millennium. He is unsurpassed in the breadth of his knowledge and balanced appraisal of these critical issues."
Barbour serves as the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and Society at Carleton College. He and his wife, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, are the parents of four children and grandparents of three, and make their home in Northfield, Minnesota.