The Ian G. Barbour Chair is the cornerstone of the CTNS Mission, ensuring its central educational program into the future. In an age when science is often seen to conflict with religion, the Chair will continue to bring the natural sciences into the classrooms of Graduate Theological Union doctoral and seminary students in constructive new ways. It will ensure that future generations of faculty and students may enter into the constructive dialogue between faith and science and be empowered for research, teaching and ministry.
The Chair will also provide leadership for ongoing CTNS research and public service programs such as the annual Russell Family Fellowship in Religion and Science, the annual Charles H. Townes Graduate Student Fellowship, and the refereed journal, Theology and Science.
Both a physicist and a theologian, Dr. Ian G. Barbour was an unparalleled pioneer in science and religion. His 1966 classic, Issues in Science and Religion, launched the recent era of scholarly study in this interdisciplinary field. His prolific writings over the past decades, including the two volume Gifford Lectures which dealt with ethics and technology as well as science and religion, have contributed enormously to the growing international, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue, and they continue to inspire both new and seasoned scholars.
Dr. Barbour was a founding member of the CTNS Board of Directors and a pivotal financial supporter of the Center. When honored by the 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, Dr. Barbour donated the bulk of his award to CTNS, rekindling CTNS’s vision to endow a permanent Chair in Theology and Science In-Residence at the GTU. The Chair is now fully funded thanks to the generous donations of many CTNS supporters. We offer special thanks to Dr. Ian G. Barbour, Drs. John M. and Josephine Templeton, Dr. Francisco J. Ayala and Dr. Charles H. Townes for their gifts of $100,000 and above.
“I am enduringly grateful to CTNS and to the vision and initiative of its founder and director, Robert John Russell. I know of no other center in the world that is making such a significant contribution to the creative dialogue between science and religion.”
-- Ian G. Barbour
Robert John Russell is the current Ian G. Barbour Professor of Theology and Science.
Since 1981, Dr. Russell has served as both founding director of CTNS and professor of theology and science at the GTU. Holding a Ph.D. in physics and an M.Div./M.A. in theology, Dr. Russell embodies the motto of the Ian G. Barbour Chair: “Where religion meets science.” He has mentored dozens of Ph.D. and M.A. GTU students in theology and science, ethics and Christian spirituality. Many of his former students hold tenured faculty positions at universities or seminaries and are teaching courses in faith and science to a new generation while others work in non-profit programs focusing on these important issues. Hundreds of divinity students have found Dr. Russell’s M.Div. courses in theology and science, environmental ethics, and bioethics, vitally important as they prepare for ministry in an age of scientific discovery and technological challenge.