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July 14, 2005

Reach for the STARS! New Four-Year Grant
Awarded to CTNS

The Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) has been awarded a $2.5 million grant by the John Templeton Foundation for a four-year program to promote new research in the ways science, in partnership with religion, points towards the nature and meaning of ultimate reality. Science and the Quest for Ultimate Reality: Science and Theology Advanced Research Series (STARS) will recruit outstanding scientists of all ages, with a particular focus on younger researchers, to partner with seasoned philosophers and religious scholars to pursue ground-breaking research funded by CTNS on a highly competitive basis. The project is designed primarily to recruit scientists who are relatively new to interdisciplinary research and yet who are keenly interested in the broader implications of science for ultimate reality. STARS will build upon, yet extend beyond CTNS' seven year international program, Science and the Spiritual Quest (SSQ), in which over 100 distinguished scientists from all the major world religions lectured in public conferences from Bangalore to Tokyo, describing the many ways in which science serves for them as a path or a pointer to spirituality. As the "New Quest", STARS will advance beyond the accomplishments of SSQ by funding advanced research proposals from a select number of newly formed interdisciplinary research teams through a series of highly competitive grants ranging from $20,000 to $120,000.

To encourage the formation of these teams, STARS will hold conferences in January 2007 to discuss cutting edge research in science fields such as physics, cosmology, mathematics and astrobiology. The conferences will provide an inspiration and an opportunity for the formation of closely-knit interdisciplinary research teams to explore the implications of natural science for the nature and meaning of ultimate reality. Initial grants of up to $20,000 will be awarded to support the most promising research teams as they work together to apply for five grants of $80,000 with the possibility of two of these five grants being renewed at $120,000 each.

STARS will be led by Principal Investigator Dr. Robert John Russell, Program Director Dr. Dennis W. Hair, and Program Administrator, Anne E. Bade.

Information on this exciting program will be available on-line this fall at

About the PI and Program Director

Robert J. Russell is Founder and Director of CTNS and Professor of Theology and Science in Residence at the Graduate Theological Union. He is a leading researcher and spokesperson for the growing international body of theologians and scientists committed to a positive dialogue and creative mutual interaction between these fields. Dr. Russell has authored numerous articles and has co-edited a five volume CTNS/Vatican Observatory series on science and divine action.) He recently co-edited Resurrection: Theological and Scientific Assessments, (Eerdmans, 2002) and edited Fifty Years in Science and Religion: Ian G. Barbour and His Legacy (Ashgate, 2004). He received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California at Santa Cruz and an M.A. in Theology and an M. Div. from Pacific School of Religion. He taught physics at Carleton College and science and religion with Ian Barbour for several years before coming to the GTU in 1981.

Dennis W. Hair holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Southern California and a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Hair has served as a research scientist for the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, as well as a director in the pharmaceutical industry. Most recently, Dr. Hair has worked in China, serving as a professor at Shenyang Pharmaceutical University as well as founding and directing the Polaris Resource Network, a consulting service to aid Chinese universities, businesses, and institutions in achieving international standards of excellence and in procuring international personnel.

About CTNS

CTNS is a non-profit membership organization whose mission is to promote the creative mutual interaction between theology and the natural sciences through research, teaching, and public service. It focuses primarily on the relation between contemporary physics, cosmology, technology, environmental studies, evolutionary and molecular biology and Christian theology and ethics while engaging in multi-religious reflection as well. Located in Berkeley , California , CTNS is non-profit corporation affiliated with the Graduate Theological Union. The GTU, a consortium of nine schools of theology and five research centers and affiliates, offers the Ph.D., Th.D., and M.A. degrees.

For more information on CTNS and the STARS program, visit the website:, email: or telephone 510-848-2350.

Program Summary

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