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Obituary – Professor James Taylor

Samuel James Taylor Dec 13 1929 – 22 Jan 2020

James Taylor was born on Dec. 13, 1929 in Carrickfergus, N. Ireland. His parents were both teachers working for the Ulster based Quo Iboe mission in Nigeria and he spent most of the first 12 years of his life in Africa, tutored by his mother.  He returned to Ireland with his family just after the start of the 2nd world war in a convoy to complete his school education. He finished school by 16years age and got a scholarship to Cambridge but was initially unable to take it, going first to Queens University to do his BSc in physics and mathematics, then to Peterhouse, Cambridge to complete a PhD in Pure Mathematics. For the third year of his fellowship he visited Princeton, meeting Einstein who by that time was in his twilight years. While in Cambridge he rekindled his relationship with my mother, Maureen Scott and proposed to her by mail. They were married in 1955.

James’ first appointment was in Birmingham as mathematics lecturer, followed by chairs at Westfield College, Liverpool University and, after taking early retirement from the UK, Charlottesville, Virginia. During this time he took sabbaticals to Cornell University, New York, Ann Arbor, Michigan, University of Minnesota, as well as shorter academic visits to Wuhan, Paris, Vancouver, Canterbury, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. Over his career he wrote two text books and authored many mathematical papers including several with Paul Erdős, mostly far beyond the comprehension of non-mathematicians!

As well as being a mathematician and a scientist, James always maintained an evangelical Christian faith. Wherever they were, my parents sought out local believers and became active supporters of the local church. They founded a bible study group when the family lived in Northwood and became very involved with Crusaders when they lived in Radlett. James never found any contradiction between Biblical teaching and a scientific view of the world, and instead embraced science as evidence for God. He was always ready to discuss thorny subjects such as Darwin and evolution with skeptics. He was also very interested in education and was a particular advocate for bright but under privileged children.

Following retirement my parents moved to Sevenoaks. They continued to enjoy travelling, visiting old friends, family and colleagues. James continued to advance the Christian faith at almost any opportunity, making a final challenge to those without faith on his 90th birthday, less than two months before he passed away at Pembury on the Weald Hospice on 22 Jan, 2020. He is survived by his wife,  Maureen, 4 adult children, 17 grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren.

 

Giving to Christians in Science

You can now give to Christians in Science online, by renewing your membership, giving one off donations, setting up a regular donation, leaving a legacy in your will or if you shop at SmileAmazon you can select Christians in Science as your chosen charity.

CiS sister organisations

The latest addition to our sister organisations Science and Faith in Hong Kong.  The full list can be found on our Resources page.

Tribute – Professor Derek Burke

Professor Derek Burke CBE, CiS President from 1999 to 2001, died at age 89 on 15th March 2019.

Derek was Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia (1987-1995), chairman of the John Innes Centre Governing Council (1987-1995), and a key figure in establishing the Norwich Research Park. In 1992 he was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Norfolk. He was a specialist adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology from 1995 to 2001. He also served as a member of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Church of England, was an Honorary Fellow of St Edmund’s College and a Faraday Institute Associate.

CiS members remember him always taking a great interest in the affairs of CiS. He was a popular speaker at CiS events and as President he sometimes attended our committee meetings to make sure he was up to date. He was the editor of ‘Creation and Evolution’ (1985) one of the Inter-Varsity Press volumes in the series ‘When Christians Disagree’.  This was an attempt to have an amicable, productive debate between CiS (whose members largely supported theistic evolution) and the Creation Research Society (who supported special creation).

Derek started a small meeting in his own home to discuss science and faith and this eventually developed into the now CiS affiliated group, Science and Faith in Norfolk. He also helped to establish an annual series of Science-Faith Lectures at Norwich Cathedral which still continues.

Derek was buried beside his wife, Mary, at Walberswick churchyard, Suffolk on Saturday 11thApril. Our sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Obituary – Professor Sam Berry

Friends of CiS will be saddened to hear that Professor Sam Berry, one of the great figures in Christians in Science from its earliest days, died peacefully at home on 29th March following a period of deteriorating health. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Caroline and their family at this sad time.

A Service of Thanksgiving for the life of Sam Berry will be held at St. Nicholas’s Church, Sevenoaks, TN13 1JA, at 1.30 pm on Monday 23rd April followed by tea in the church.

Here is a personal remembrance of Sam, by Prof Malcolm Jeeves, CBE, PRSE. President of Christians in Science 2008 – 2014. President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1996-1999 and Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of St. Andrews.

For more than four decades the Research Scientists Christian Fellowship, later to become Christians in Science, benefited immeasurably from the dedicated leadership and organisational skills of Sam and Caroline Berry. Sam as Chairman of Christians in Science (1967-1988) and President (1993-1995) and Caroline as its Secretary (2000-2008). Both had full-time and demanding professional commitments. Sam as Professor of Genetics at University College London and Caroline as a Consultant Medical Geneticist at Guy’s Hospital in London.

His scholarship was widely recognised in many directions. He was President of the Linnean Society, the British Ecological Society and the European Ecological Federation. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and he gave the Gifford lectures at Glasgow University. Sam had a very deep love of all things Scottish and his book Orkney Notes (2000) remains widely acclaimed. He also took several important initiatives which embodied his deep concern for the care of God’s creation.

His so-called retirement in 2000 coincided with a time when the Christian environmental movement in the United Kingdom was growing fast and he devoted much time and energy to this area.  He was a great supporter of A Rocha and was on their Council of Reference. He was one of the founding fathers of the John Ray Initiative becoming a Vice President and forming a partnership with Sir John Houghton so that together they represented the biological and physical sciences. Sam wrote or edited many books on Christianity and the environment including his “The Care of Creation” (IVP 2000). His last work “Environmental Attitudes through Time” (Cambridge University Press) is due to be published at the end of April 2018. A close friend of John Stott he spent many shared times with him at John’s Welsh retreat observing nature in all its diversity. As our research company has revealed, we can also refer to our own priority data on the inclusion of low doses of Accutane in the therapeutic complex for excoriated acne. All patients with excoriated acne that developed within the framework of the psychopathological symptom complex of super-valuable hypochondria of beauty (n=28, 25 women, 3 men, average age is 25.1±2.3 years) noticed that the phenomena of self-destruction prevailed over the manifestations of vulgar acne in the skin status. Read more at https://www.freedomhealth.co.uk/accutane-isotretinoin/.

Sam was a larger-than-life character in many ways. For several decades I worked closely with him on a series of publications. Our Visitors book at home records how on twenty separate occasions Sam came and stayed with us for several days. At the time he was working on the genetics of isolated mice populations in the Scottish islands and would turn up at short notice sometimes carrying a dustbin in which he had put his dirty clothes and some of his mice specimens. Our daughters, young at the time, remember him as “the man with the dustbin and the mice”. A flavour of his character is captured in the comments section of our Visitors book which he occasionally used. It reads “with dustbin” (23/24 March 1973); Heb.11v3 (16 Jan 1980); “Modernity now in its postmodern phase” (20/21May 1986); Anglican (April 4-7 1997); Co-author (8 Dec 1997).

When Dr Oliver Barclay suggested that I update my 1969 book “The Scientific Enterprise and Christian Faith” (Tyndale Press) he also suggested that Sam would be an excellent co-author. How right he was. As we worked on the book and spent many days together I became more and more aware of both the breadth and the depth of Sam’s scholarship. The result was our 1988 book Science, Life and Christian Belief. (IVP)

Two years ago, at his instigation, we wrote a Review article for the journal Science and Christian Belief tracing out the history, from its very earliest days, of the Research Scientists Christian Fellowship which was later to become Christians in Science. The detailed documentation at the end of our paper underlines just what a crucial part Sam played over many years in these organisations. He was faithful to the end and we give thanks for his faith, his scholarship and for his life. He will be sorely missed by us all but surely most of all by his wife Caroline and their son and two daughters who remain in our thoughts and prayers.

Nominations for the Christians in Science Oliver Barclay Lecture 2020

The Christians in Science Oliver Barclay Lecture 2020

Nominations are open – closing date extended to April 17th

Christians in Science sponsors an annual “Oliver Barclay Lecture” in memory of Dr Oliver Barclay who was the driving force behind the establishment of The Research Scientists Christian Fellowship, the predecessor of CiS, and who was keen to encourage the next generation of effective communicators on Science and Faith.

The lecture is awarded to a promising young individual, usually under the age of 35, who has demonstrated an ability to communicate effectively on issues relating to Science and Faith. The chosen individual, who will normally be an active UK-based scientist, will present a short lecture on the topic of their choice at the annual Southern (Autumn) Conference. We hope they will also present their lecture the following year, at the Student and Northern (Spring) Conferences. He/she will receive travel expenses for each conference they give the lecture, and one honorarium equivalent in value to that given to other established conference speakers.

Additionally, if you would like to be considered for this lectureship, please contact secretary@cis.org.uk to discuss further.

Nominations for the award will be sought each year from members of CiS with a closing date of midnight 17th April 2020.

Nomination Criteria
1) Prior to submission, the nominator should ensure that the nominee is available to attend the CiS Southern Conference (usually during October or early in November).

2) The nominator must also ensure that 2 referees will send an assessment of the candidate’s suitability for the award by 24th April.

3) Nominations should be sent to the Executive Officer together with an up to date curriculum vitae of the candidate and details of the two referees.

Nominations will be considered in April by a selection committee appointed by the CiS Executive Committee, and a recommendation made to the Trustees.

Nominations, and any further questions, should be sent to Mary, CiS Executive Officer (maryb.cis@outlook.com)

God and Nature Magazine

God & Nature is a quarterly magazine by ASA/CiS featuring topics of science and Christian faith.

The challenges of Brexit

Two CiS members reflect on the challenges brought about by the recent referendum on EU membership and how we can address it as both Christians and scientists . The views expressed are those of the individuals concerned and are not intended to provide an agreed CiS position on Brexit.

Dr Rhoda Hawkins: Rhoda is a lecturer in physics at the University of Sheffield and a member of the CiS Executive Committee. She is a visiting lecturer at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences. Prior to taking up her lectureship in Sheffield she spent several years elsewhere in Europe doing postdoctoral research in Amsterdam and Paris.

For much of the UK scientific community Friday 24th June was a dark day. Feelings of shock, upset, fear, shame, confusion, rejection, anger, anxiety or despair have haunted many since then. Brexit threatens to be seriously damaging to UK science and UK Universities, although the full extent of this will depend crucially on what damage limitation the coming years of political renegotiations will bring. Right now there is so much uncertainty, but we are already feeling negative effects. Collaborations with colleagues across Europe are suffering. We do not know how many of our top scientists will choose to leave and how many will be forced to leave. We do not know how many of our Universities will survive loss of EU funding, economic hardship and recruitment restrictions. We do not know what long term effects changes to EU legislation may have on our environment, health or society. We sense that our world has changed profoundly. There is a growing fear of isolation from the global scientific community and increasing uncertainty   as to whether our “ivory towers” will remain intact.

The referendum result also starkly revealed aspects of our society that we’ve long tried to hide from: politicians and media that propagate lies, xenophobia, racism and deep divisions of class, education and socioeconomic backgrounds. We can no longer fool ourselves that we are a modern, global, tolerant, progressive, world leading country. We are a fragile rock in the North Sea at risk of fragmentation and isolation. And we find ourselves with many questions. Where is God in all this? How does our faith affect our response? We trust in God, not in humanity. What can we do as Christians in this situation?

Many of us and our colleagues are facing identity crises – stripped of their European citizenship or their right to remain immigration status under threat and their expert views rejected as ‘elitist’. For us as Christians, devastated as we may feel, we do have a deeper identity. No referendum can take away our heavenly citizenship [Philippians 3:20, Romans 8:35]. We are all only temporary residents on this Earth, yet we are confident that we are God’s children and that our true home is in Heaven. Can we hold on to this hope in these difficult and uncertain times? Can we reach out with this hope to colleagues around us who are in despair? I myself have had some opportunities to talk about my faith in conversations with colleagues following the referendum. One said he admired my faith. Maybe we are called to support our colleagues, to stand up for those who are EU immigrants or non-EU immigrants or to seek to influence policy over the years this will take to sort out. For some their calling will be to leave the country and seek more welcoming shores where they can carry out their world class research. For some their calling will be to stay in the UK and help try to make the most of the situation. Some CiS members may feel too young or too old to contribute much. Some may feel optimistic, some pessimistic. But we all have a role where God has put us. How does he want us to respond? What does he want us to do? Who does he want us to reach out to? And are there lessons to learn for the future about how we communicate more effectively with society at large?

So much of our ‘outreach’ both in science and in faith is to self-selected groups. How can we reach out to people we don’t normally engage with? We are good at lecturing and preaching but should we try to listen more? How diverse are our churches and how much do we chat with people in our churches who are not like us? How can we be welcoming and inclusive to foreigners in our midst who may feel the UK does not want them? How can we live in unity with those who do not share our views? There are so many challenges for us now but, in the midst of this dark world, let us not miss the opportunities God gives us to reach out in love. Maybe this situation will give us, as scientists who are Christians, a unique role in building post-Brexit bridges.

Professor John V Wood, CBE, FREng: John is Secretary of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and an adviser to both the European Commission and individual governments on international science policy especially large research infrastructures. He is the chair of ATTRACT which is an activity led by CERN and other EIROFORUM members and also chair of the Global Research Data Alliance involving researchers from 110 countries. John is also Chairman of the CiS Board of Trustees.

Identifying with one’s people despite the bleakness of the situation reminds us of Jeremiah going with his people into exile despite his warnings of the outcomes. The Brexit vote reverberated around the world where our colleagues in Africa, Asia and the Americas were aghast at the impact this would have on UK science and our world standing. Yet there are opportunities and many advanced countries are focusing a significant percentage of Science, Technology and Innovation research funds on the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. Commissioner Moedas’ Open to the World policy focuses on Science Diplomacy and Delivery of the SDGs. Indeed in the UK, some research council’s money has to be directed to the grand societal challenges. Even if UK scientists cannot benefit, we should rejoice that those peoples of the world who live in poverty and tremendous inequality may receive a better quality of life than now.

Greater emphasis is now being put on our long term relationships outside Europe such as with the Commonwealth and in June 2017 the 3rd Commonwealth Science Summit in Singapore is likely to focus much more on collaboration with our old partners. There is now an urgent need to both preserve and increase the number of Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships in addition to the Chevening Scholarships for the rest of the world. Our responsibility is to act as citizens of the world, to actively try and influence political and fiscal decisions which may feel uncomfortable at times. To overcome evil by good. We should remember that while Europe itself has abandoned the Christian base of the Schuman declaration, which was the founding document of the European Union, perhaps we should now be proactive in seeking to express our faith in a way that many of our Commonwealth friends will understand much more than citizens in the UK.