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British physicist wins Templeton Prize for Religion

A British physicist who left a Cambridge University professorship to enter the clergy and ponder the relation of science and religion has won a million dollar prize.

Rev Sir John Polkinghorne, 71, has been named winner of the American Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.

The prize is a revamped version of the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion that was given annually from 1972 to 2001.

The $A2 million award is one of the world's most lucrative in any field. He will receive it from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on 29 April.

Past recipients have spanned a broad range of religious activity, including noted humanitarians (Mother Teresa), activists (prison evangelist Charles Colson), authors (Alexander Solzhenitsyn), and lesser-known scholars and leaders of spiritual or interfaith movements.

But the sponsoring John Templeton Foundation narrowed the focus this year to reflect the emphasis on science and religion in its other programs. Science was the speciality of the past three years' winners and of six earlier ones.

Sir John said in a written statement that science and religion both "believe there is a truth to be sought and found, a truth whose attainment comes through the pursuit of well-motivated belief."

The Templeton Prize
God in Relation to Nature - lecture by John Polkinghorne


15 Mar 2002