Lessons from Medieval Science, and Science-Theology Today

Professor Tom McLeish FInstP, FRSC, FRS

This is a recording of a past event
26 October 2021


Although governments claim to ‘follow the science’, the activity we call ‘science’ and the community of ‘scientists’ can still seem cut-off, strange and remote to most people. And there is also a commonly-repeated idea that science is fundamentally opposed to religious faith.

We could arguably learn better ways of thinking about science by studying scientific thinking, and its context, from a time when it was much more integrated into learning and thought, in both these senses.

In this talk – part of the Catherdal Lecture series (2021) – Tom McLeish reported on a remarkable project involving scientists, medieval scholars, and theologians. These unusual collaborators are exploring the fascinating, perceptive, and surprisingly mathematical, work on light, colour and cosmology by Oxford master Robert Grosseteste, in the 1220s.

The project has stimulated new scientific research today, and helped explore new ways of thinking about the relationship between science and Christian faith.

professor tom mcleish

Professor Tom McLeish

Tom McLeish was a theoretical physicist. His scientific research in ‘soft matter and biological physics,’ drew on collaborations with chemists, engineers, and biologists to study relationships between molecular structure and emergent material properties. His work was recognized by major awards in the USA and Europe.

Tom’s other academic interests included the framing of science, theology, society and history, and the theory of creativity in art and science. His published works include Faith and Wisdom in Science (2014) and The Poetry and Music of Science (2019).

He passed away in February 2023 after a short illness.

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