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Charles H. Townes was Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley, who shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics for his investigations into the properties of microwaves which resulted first in the maser and, later, his co-invention of the laser.

His 1966 article, “The Convergence of Science and Religion,” established him as a voice seeking commonality between the two disciplines. He described 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.

There are many mysteries in science. We seem to know only about five percent of the matter in our universe – this is such a small fraction, and what is the remainder? We assume the laws of physics are constant, and have faith in that, but could they suddenly change? And if not, why not? Quantum mechanics and general relativity are wonderful, and tell us a lot. But it appears they are not consistent with each other. What is it we are missing?