Faith and Fusion
An MIT Physicist explores science and the sources of truth
Do faith and science fuse? Are they forever at odds, or can they both be sources of truth? Exploring these and other essential questions about knowledge, science and faith, the 2016 Clark Lectures featured eminent plasma physicist Professor Ian Hutchinson from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Surveying history, philosophy and contemporary science, he pointed to the religiously-inspired origins of science and the practice of modern scientists like him as strong reasons to view this clash as a myth. He answered a number of tough questions on nuclear fusion research, Genesis and the origins of the universe, and the relationship between science, relativism and truth.
While in Sydney, Professor Hutchinson also spoke in a range of other settings, including:
- 'The Interview: Prof Ian Hutchinson', ABC Sunday Nights with John Cleary, 14 August 2016
- 'Star Power! Fusion energy science frontiers', University of New South Wales Faculties of Science and Engineering, 15 August 2016
- 'Will Technology save the world?' Sydney University Evangelical Union Postgraduate and Staff Fellowship, 15 August 2016
- 'How much faith should we put in science?', ABC Religion and Ethics, 17 August 2016
- 'Faith, Knowledge and the Future of Science', The Ethos Conference on Faith, Learning and Leadership, St Andrew's College, University of Sydney, 17 August 2016
- 'Can a scientist believe in miracles?', St Barnabas Anglican Church, Broadway, 21 August 2016
- 'Going Nuclear', interview for Life and Faith podcast, The Centre for Public Christianity, October 2016
About Professor Hutchinson
Professor Ian Hutchinson works at the cutting edge of nuclear fusion and plasma physics, harnessing the power of the sun and stars to generate new energy sources. He and his MIT team designed, built and operate the Alcator C-Mod tokamak confinement device, an international experimental facility whose plasma temperatures reach beyond 50 million degrees Celsius, and are prototypical of a future fusion reactor. He directed the Alcator project from 1987 to 2003 and served as head of MIT’s nuclear science and engineering department from 2003 to 2009. He is the author of over 200 journal articles and the classic work on measuring plasmas, Principles of Plasma Physics. Becoming a Christian while an undergraduate at Cambridge, Professor Hutchinson has written and lectured extensively on the relationship between science and the Christian faith for The Veritas Forum on America’s leading universities, and is the author of the 2011 book Monopolizing Knowledge: A scientist refutes religion-denying reason-destroying scientism.