Previous Prize Winners

Desmond Tutu (2013)

Desmond Tutu, the former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, is one of the world’s most revered religious figures and a leading moral voice for peace and justice. His teachings combine the theological concept that all human beings are shaped in the image of God with the traditional African spirit of Ubuntu, in which humanity achieves personhood only through other people. His deep faith and commitment to prayer, worship and the life of the Spirit provides the foundation for his message of love and forgiveness. Download/Links

The 14th Dalai Lama (2012)

The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader whose engagement with multiple dimensions of science and with people far beyond his own religious traditions has made him an incomparable global voice for universal ethics, nonviolence, and harmony among world religions. For decades he has focused on the connections between the investigative traditions of science and Buddhism, specifically, by encouraging scientific reviews of the power of compassion and its potential to address the world's fundamental problems. Download/Links

Martin J. Rees (2011)up

Martin J. Rees, Astronomer Royal, former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and former president of the Royal Society, is one of the world's leading theoretical astrophysicists. His distinguished achievements in cosmology and astrophysics have been exceptionally broad-based, and his pioneering research has contributed to the understanding of the origin and nature of the universe. Download/Links

Francisco J. Ayala (2010)up

Francisco J. Ayala, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, is known for his achievements as an evolutionary geneticist and for his opposition to the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two. He has been a major voice on the ethical issues related to the study of human evolution and a frequent spokesperson in the debate between evolution and creationism. Download/Links

Bernard d’Espagnat (2009)up

Bernard d’Espagnat is a French physicist and philosopher of science whose explorations of the philosophical implications of quantum physics have opened new vistas on the definition of reality and the potential limits of knowable science. Much of his work centers on what he calls “veiled reality,” a hidden yet unifying domain beneath what is perceived as time, space, matter, and energy – concepts challenged by quantum physics as possible mere appearances. Download/Links

Michael Heller (2008)up

Michael Heller, Professor in the Faculty of Philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, Poland, is a cosmologist and Catholic priest who has developed sharply focused and strikingly original concepts on the origin and cause of the universe. He engages a wide range of sources in mathematics, philosophy, cosmology, and theology, allowing each field to share insights that may inform the others without any violence to their respective methodologies. Download/Links

Charles Taylor (2007)up

Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University, argues that problems such as violence and bigotry can be solved only by considering both their secular and spiritual dimensions. He suggests that depending wholly on secularized viewpoints leads to fragmented reasoning and prevents crucial insights that might help a global community that is increasingly exposed to clashes of culture, morality, nationality, and religion. Download/Links

John D. Barrow (2006)up

John D. Barrow is Professor of Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University and Gresham Professor of Geometry at Gresham College in London. His writings on the relationship between life and the universe draw insights from mathematics, physics, and astronomy, challenging scientists and theologians to cross disciplinary boundaries to test what they may or may not understand about the origins of time, space, and matter and the behavior of the universe. Download/Links

Charles H. Townes (2005)up

Charles H. Townes, Professor in the Graduate School at the University of California, Berkeley, shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics. His 1966 article, “The Convergence of Science and Religion,” established him as a voice seeking commonality between the two disciplines. He describes his 1951 discovery of the principles of the maser—while sitting on a park bench—as a “revelation” and an example of the interplay between the “how” and “why” of science and religion. Download/Links

George F. R. Ellis (2004)up

George F. R. Ellis is a theoretical cosmologist and Professor Emeritus of Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has investigated whether or not there was a start to the universe, if there is one universe or many, the evolution of complexity, and the functioning of the human mind, as well as the intersection of these issues with areas beyond the boundaries of science. Download/Links

Holmes Rolston III (2003)up

Holmes Rolston III is University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and a Presbyterian minister whose 40 years of research on the religious imperative to respect nature helped to establish the field of environmental ethics. His work assigns value not only to human beings but also to plants, animals, species, and ecosystems as core issues of theological and scientific concern. Download/Links

John C. Polkinghorne (2002)up

John C. Polkinghorne is a mathematical physicist and Anglican priest whose treatment of theology as a natural science has invigorated the search for an interface between science and religion. His writings apply scientific approaches to the fundamentals of Christian orthodoxy and have brought him recognition as a unique voice for understanding the Bible and Christian doctrine. Download/Links

Arthur Peacocke (2001)up

Arthur Peacocke was a biochemist who, after pioneering early research into the physical chemistry of DNA, received a Bachelor of Divinity from the University of Birmingham and was ordained in the Church of England as a priest-scientist. In 1973, he became Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, where he pursued his interdisciplinary vocation. He also founded the Society of Ordained Scientists to advance the development of the field of science and religion.

Freeman Dyson (2000)up

Freeman Dyson is a physicist and mathematician and Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey. His contributions to science include the unification of the three versions of quantum electrodynamics invented by Feynman, Schwinger, and Tomonaga. Dyson’s writings on the meaning of science and its relation to other disciplines, especially religion and ethics, challenge humankind to reconcile technology and social justice.

Ian Barbour (1999)up

Ian Barbour was one of the world pioneers in the integration of science and religion. His books and articles have helped to expand the field of theology not only for Christianity but also for other faiths. A physicist and former chair of the religion department, Barbour was Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society at Carleton College.

Sir Sigmund Sternberg (1998)up

Sir Sigmund Sternberg, a British philanthropist and businessman, has encouraged interfaith dialogue for decades. His behind-the-scenes diplomacy and leadership have played a critical role in promoting better relations among Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

Pandurang Shastri Athavale (1997)up

Pandurang Shastri Athavale was 19 when he and his co-workers began bhaktiferi—devotional visits to villages in India to spread the message of love for God and others. Athavale and his co-workers developed the Hindu practice of swadhyaya, a form of self-study that inspires each individual to recognize an inner God, cultivate an increased self-respect, and abandon immoral behavior.

>William R. “Bill” Bright (1996)up

William R. “Bill” Bright began a person-to-person sharing of New Testament scripture on the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles in the 1950s, calling his movement Campus Crusade for Christ. The organization grew to become an international ministry. His later efforts included calling for worldwide spiritual revival through prayer and fasting.

Paul Davies (1995)up

Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist, holds the post of College Professor at Arizona State University. His research has been in the fields of quantum gravity, black holes, early-universe cosmology, and astrobiology as it relates to the origin of life and the transfer of microorganisms between planets.

>Michael Novak (1994)up

A former university professor and U.S. ambassador and the retired George Frederick Jewett Scholar in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute, Michael Novak has developed influential new insights into the spiritual foundations of economic and political systems. His book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, and other writings won the enthusiastic notice of such world leaders as Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa, and Vaclav Havel.

Charles W. Colson (1993)up

Charles W. Colson, former special counsel to President Richard Nixon, began Prison Fellowship after serving a federal prison sentence for obstructing justice in the Pentagon Papers case. It is now the largest prison outreach program in the world, operating a network of ministries in more than 110 nations. The organization has made substantial gains in breaking the cycle of crime and recidivism.

Kyung-Chik Han (1992)up

Kyung-Chik Han was the founder of Seoul’s 60,000-member Young Nak Presbyterian Church. His fervent work for refugees and the poor epitomized the growth of Christianity in South Korea. His experience as a survivor of war and political oppression made him one of his country’s most respected religious leaders.

Lord Jakobovits (1991)up

Lord Jakobovits, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth from 1967 to 1991, was a spiritual leader of steadfast principles and unwavering ethics for more than 50 years. His book, Jewish Medical Ethics, helped to establish that field. His prominent public voice extended his moral authority far beyond the Jewish community.

Baba Amte (1990) (awarded jointly)up

Baba Amte left his comfortable life as a wealthy Hindu lawyer to follow a personal calling, developing modern communities to help those with Hanson’s Disease (leprosy) and other so-called untouchables of his native India.

L. Charles Birch (1990) (awarded jointly)up

L. Charles Birch, Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney, Australia, engaged in adventurous reflection on questions of science and faith throughout his career as a biologist and geneticist. He saw modern discoveries about natural science as expanding the understanding of God as designer and creator of the universe and its creatures.

Lord MacLeod (1989) (awarded jointly)up

Lord MacLeod, founder of the monastic Iona Community on an island off the west coast of Scotland, spent his life reviving a prayer-centered spiritual movement. This ecumenical community’s work continues, encouraging peace in the world and
helping ordinary men and women with their personal struggles.

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker (1989) (awarded jointly)up

Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker explored the intersection of physics, cosmology, and theology in work that placed him at the forefront of the reconciliation between religion and natural science. His key discoveries in nuclear physics, along with his application of nuclear physics to astrophysics, caused him to question the estrangement of religion and science and led to his investigation of Christianity’s obligation to technology.

Inamullah Kahn (1988)up

Inamullah Kahn, founder and former secretary-general of the Modern World Muslim Congress in Karachi, Pakistan, devoted his life to advancing peace among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. His interfaith activism provided important new opportunities to foster good will and understanding, in particular, by playing a crucial role in helping to settle the war between Iran and Iraq and to bring a message of peace to apartheid-era South Africa.

Stanley L. Jaki (1987)up

Stanley L. Jaki, a Benedictine monk and Professor of Astrophysics at Seton Hall University, was a leading thinker in areas at the boundary of science and theology. His many books carefully delineate the importance of differences as well as similarities between science and religion.

James McCord (1986)up

James McCord was chancellor of the Center for Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey and president of the Princeton Theological Seminary. He spent his professional life investigating the relationship between science and religion through studies on the nature of reality.

Sir Alister Hardy (1985)up

Sir Alister Hardy, founder of the Sir Alister Hardy Research Centre at Oxford, England, began his career as a marine biologist but went on to gain prominence for original empirical studies that used scientific methodology to investigate religious experience. He spent a lifetime seeking evidence of God’s centrality to the human condition.

Michael Bourdeaux (1984)up

Michael Bourdeaux, founder of Keston College in England, worked to examine and explain the systematic destruction of religion in Iron Curtain nations during the Cold War and to defend the rights of faiths in these countries to worship as they chose. When the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc regimes collapsed, Bourdeaux’s efforts for universal religious freedom were widely embraced.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1983)up

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s struggle for open expression made him one of the world’s most respected men. Under the repressive Soviet regime, he held firm in his beliefs and shared his worldview through powerful writings and devastating critiques of Russian Communism. His works renewed vitality in the Orthodox tradition and evidenced a profound spirituality.

Billy Graham (1982)up

Billy Graham took his message of Christianity into the electronic world of radio and television, invigorating an entire generation with a simple and poignant message of salvation. He maintained a dignity that drew enormous audiences and enthusiastic support with an interpretation of the Gospel that still speaks to the problems and pressures of today.

Dame Cicely Saunders (1981)up

Dame Cicely Saunders spent years close to terminally ill patients as they expressed their physical, psychological, and spiritual pain. She went on to found the Hospice and Palliative Care Movement, combining a scientifically rigorous program with a unique social and spiritual awareness.

Ralph Wendell Burhoe (1980)up

Ralph Wendell Burhoe was the founder and editor of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science. Burhoe pursued a passionate investigation into the differences and similarities between theology and science, becoming one of the world’s most informed voices in communicating this evolving research.

Nikkyo Niwano (1979)up

Nikkyo Niwano co-founded the Japanese Buddhist movement Rissho Kosei-Kai, which aims to establish “the teaching of the true Law in the world, mutual exchange of thought among people of faith, and the perfection of the personality.” The movement blossomed from a handful of adherents into the world’s largest Buddhist lay group. Niwano was also the founder of the World Conference of Religion and Peace.

Thomas Torrance (1978)up

Thomas Torrance, former Moderator of the Church of Scotland, became one of the first religious thinkers to win the respect of both theologians and scientists. His insights on the rationality of the universe attempt to provide evidence of God through scientific reasoning.

Chiara Lubich (1977)up

Chiara Lubich founded and developed Italy’s Focolare Movement, a community dedicated to serving the poor. With roots in Trent, it expanded to other Italian cities, followed by Focolare settlements worldwide, including in Belgium, Germany, France, the United States, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Cardinal Suenens (1976)up

Cardinal Suenens, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, Belgium, was a pioneer in the research and discourse of the Charismatic Renewal Movement. The Cardinal’s enlightened discourse provided guidance and reassurance about the movement, eliminating misunderstanding and offering thoughtful insight to followers and observers alike.

Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1975)up

Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was President of India from 1962 to 1967. An Oxford Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics, he consistently advocated non-aggression in India’s conflicts with neighboring Pakistan. His accessible writings underscored his country’s religious heritage and sought to convey a universal reality of God that embraced love and wisdom for all people.

Brother Roger (1974)up

Brother Roger was founder and Prior (director) of the religious brotherhood known as the Taizé Community in France. He initiated efforts to aide orphans in the region surrounding the community, which led to the founding of the Council of Youth and then the Intercontinental Meetings of Young Adults, which annually bring tens of thousands of young adults from throughout the world to pray and reflect in Taizé.

Mother Teresa (1973)up

Mother Teresa, founder of India’s Missionaries of Charity, was recognized by the inaugural Templeton Prize (six years before she received the Nobel Peace Prize) for her extraordinary efforts to help the homeless and neglected children of Calcutta. Her heroic work brought about real change among those she served and continues to inspire millions around the world.