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Theoretical physicist to present 2011 McNair Lecture at St. Andrews

Dr. Marcelo Gleiser


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Laurinburg, N.C. - World-renowned theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser will present the 2011 John Calvin McNair Lecture at St. Andrews on Oct. 25.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will begin with a dinner at 6 p.m. in the Carol Grotnes Belk Main Room and will be followed by the lecture at 7 p.m. Reservations are required and may be made until Monday, Oct. 17 by contacting rsvp@sapc.edu or calling 910-277-3968. Please include that the reservation is for the McNair Lecture, the names of the attendees and any special meal requirements. Limited seating is available.

Gleiser will present "The known, the unknown and the unknowable."

"Are there limits to how much we can know of the world?" Gleiser asks. "And if so, how does that affect science and its pursuit of knowledge? Does the ongoing search for a final theory - popular in the physical sciences and in the history of philosophy - make sense? Should we be seeking for perfection in Nature, or is Nature fundamentally imperfect? These questions will prompt a discussion of the limits of a scientific approach to knowledge and how an understanding of these limits may engender a novel relationship between science and spirituality whereby humanity regains center stage."

Gleiser is the author of more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, a fellow of the American Physical Society, recipient of the Faculty Fellows Award from the White House and member of several editorial boards. He is currently the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College, where he leads an active research group in topics related to the origin of the universe and of life.

Gleiser also investigates the relationship between science, religion and philosophy, and has written extensively on the subject. Three of his nonfiction books have been published in the US: The Dancing Universe: From Creation Myths to the Big Bang; The Prophet and the Astronomer: Apocalyptic Science and the End of the World; and, A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision of Life in an Imperfect Universe.

He has authored dozens of essays for magazines and newspapers around the world. Gleiser has appeared in many television documentaries, including a series in his native Brazil watched by more than 30 million people. He is also the co-founder of the science and culture blog 13.7, hosted by National Public Radio.

The McNair lecture was established by the 1857 will of John Calvin McNair who asked that “the object of which lecture(s) shall be to show the mutual bearing of Science and Theology upon each other….”

This is the sixth lecture hosted by St. Andrews, with Dr. Owen Gingerich, the Rev. Dr. Nancey Murphy, Dr. Robert J. Russell. Dr. Philip Clayton and Dr. Francisco J. Ayala presenting the previous lectures.

The series was previously hosted at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and included such noted speakers as Dr. David R. Griffin, Dr. Robert Andrews Millikan, the Rev. Francis Landey Patton, the Rev. Dr. Thornton Whaling, Dr. John Dewey and Dr. C.A. Coulson.



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