About the Authors

Rev Dr John Polkinghorne KBE, FRS

Rev Dr John Polkinghorne KBE, FRS is a major figure in today’s debates on science and religion, whose 26 books on the subject are read worldwide. Internationally known as both a physicist and a theologian, he was President of Queens’ College, Cambridge, founding President of the International Society for Science and Religion, and professor of mathematical physics at Cambridge University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society (the British National Academy of Sciences), ordained in the Church of England, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1997 for distinguished service to science, religion, learning and medical ethics. He was awarded the Templeton Prize in 2002.

Nicholas CL Beale MA (Cantab) FRSA

According to Tony Hewish “Nicholas Beale has an outstanding reputation as a management consultant with particular expertise in information technology and was elected Freeman of the City of London in 1996. He is well known for his staunch support of Christianity.” and is a “long-standing friend and colleague” of John Polkinghorne. Prof Hewish is being over-generous about Nicholas’s reputation but Nicholas and John Polkinghorne are certainly longstanding friends and have collaborated for over 10 years on a website run by Nicholas called Polkinghorne.net which includes a Q&A section responding to questions sent in from all over the world about Science and Religion. Nicholas provides preliminary responses and then John adds his comments, and the results are posted on the web: the present book is based on some of the more interesting questions, the responses have been revised substantially and Nicholas, in consultation with relevant experts, has provided three technical appendices.

Nicholas is a strategic consultant and social philosopher, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, a Fellow of the RSA and of the Royal Institution, and a member of the Royal Institute of Philosophy, the Institute of Directors, the Society of Authors and the Society of Christian Philosophers. He has written or co-authored 11 books/publications, his work has been published in the Harvard Business Review, the Sunday Times and Prospect, and he is listed in Debrett’s People of Today. He was educated at Winchester College (Scholar) and Trinity College, Cambridge (Scholar, Senior Scholar) where he graduated in Mathematics and he learned much from John Polkinghorne, Béla Bollobás, Jeffrey Goldstone, Frank Adams and many others.

He has continued to learn from many collaborators including Prof Martin Beale FRS, Simon Peyton Jones, Geoffrey Rowell, Harold Thimbleby and Colin Howson, and also from discussions with John Lucas FBA and reading his books.. He organised the first colloquia on the Ethical and Spiritual Implications of the Internet in the House of Lords from 1997-2001, working with Richard Chartres, Dame Stephanie Shirley, Robert May and others. His book Constructive Engagement is dedicated by permission to Charles Handy. In addition to his collaboration with John Polkinghorne, Nicholas collaborates with Martin Nowak on certain applications of Evolutionary Dynamics and with Hava Siegelmann on investigation of certain properties of neural networks.

Nicholas lives in London, is married with three children and three grandchildren. He plays the piano, sails and runs marathons.

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“a refreshing contrast to the polemic and misinformation that have characterized much of the writing in this area” William Phillips

“Richly nuanced responses … simply a fantastic resource” Francis Collins

“Wonderfully accessible, informative and authoritative.” Alister McGrath

“an important contribution” Martin Nowak

“this matters to every man and every woman” Onora O’Neill

“of universal interest. Many readers will welcome this accessible format” Publishers Weekly

“antidote to Richard Dawkins … intriguing … a thought-provoking work” Library Journal

“deals eloquently with many of the issues…in the science-religion debate.” Times H. E.

“commendably clear…those who would most benefit from reading it are… atheists who believe that the religious are manifestly irrational” FT.

“remarkably even-handed …lucid explanations … a valuable lesson” Physics World

“rich…digestible..intriguing” Church Times

“evokes the shimmering beauty of a stained glass window … will repay rereading and rereading” Living Church.

One Erratum has been found in Appendix A – see here.

The new Polkinghorne Q&A website is now here.