The Templeton Foundation has given out another Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.
This time it was awarded to Michael Heller, a professor of philosophy at the The Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, Poland, and an adjunct member of the Vatican Observatory staff. He got $1.6 million for his extensive philosophical and scientific probing of "big questions." His works have sought to reconcile the often contradictory "known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God.
Professor Heller is going to use his prize to create a center for the study of science and theology at the Pontifical Academy of Theology.
After beginning his teaching career at Tarnow, Heller joined the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology in 1972 and was appointed to a full professorship in 1985. The recipient of an honorary degree from the Technical University of Cracow, he has been a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and a visiting scientist at Belgium’s University of Liège, the University of Oxford, the University of Leicester, Ruhr University in Germany, The Catholic University of America, and the University of Arizona among others. Dr. Heller is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
His current research is concerned with the singularity problem in general relativity and the use of noncommutative geometry in seeking the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics. He has published nearly 200 scientific papers not only in general relativity and relativistic cosmology but also in philosophy and the history of science and science and theology and is the author of more than 20 books. In his most recent volume, Is Physics an Art? (Biblos, 1998), he writes about mathematics as the language of science and also explores such humanistic issues as beauty as a criterion of truth, creativity, and transcendence.
The prize will be officially awarded in London by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in a private ceremony on May 7 at Buckingham Palace.