Trotter Prize (Texas A&M)

Last updated

The Trotter Prize is awarded at Texas A&M University and is part of an endowed lecture series. It is awarded "for pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of information, complexity and inference in illuminating the mechanisms and wonder of nature" and includes The Trotter Lecture which "seeks to reveal connections between science and religion, often viewed in academia as non-overlapping, if not rival, worldviews.


Previous winners

Nobel Prize winners Charles Hard Townes and Francis Crick received the inaugural award at A&M's Rudder Theater in 2002. Townes spoke about connections between science and faith. [1] Promoter of the notion of intelligent design William A. Dembski [2] shared the award in 2005 with theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman. [3] Simon Conway Morris received the award and spoke in 2007. [4] [5] Francis Collins, the director of the human genome project, and Steven Weinberg, a Nobel Prize recipient for physics, shared the Trotter Prize in 2008 and discussed the interplay between science and religion. [6] Astronomer and historian of science Owen Gingerich also won the prize. [7]

Robert L. Park has criticized the award for being given to William A. Dembski, proponent of the concept of intelligent design, saying it is given out for "overlapping the magisteria" (a comment based on Stephen Jay Gould's concept of non-overlapping magisteria, NOMA, the idea that science and religion inherently do not overlap). [8]

Honorees/ speakers

Related Research Articles

Harry Kroto English chemist

Sir Harold Walter Kroto, known as Harry Kroto, was an English chemist. He shared the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Robert Curl and Richard Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes. He was the recipient of many other honors and awards.

Dudley R. Herschbach American chemist

Dudley Robert Herschbach is an American chemist at Harvard University. He won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Yuan T. Lee and John C. Polanyi "for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes". Herschbach and Lee specifically worked with molecular beams, performing crossed molecular beam experiments that enabled a detailed molecular-level understanding of many elementary reaction processes. Herschbach is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Charles H. Townes 20th-century American physicist

Charles Hard Townes was an American physicist. Townes worked on the theory and application of the maser, for which he obtained the fundamental patent, and other work in quantum electronics associated with both maser and laser devices. He shared the 1964 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nikolay Basov and Alexander Prokhorov. Townes was an adviser to the United States Government, meeting every US president from Harry S. Truman (1945) to Bill Clinton (1999).

Ivar Giaever Norwegian physicist

Ivar Giaever is a Norwegian-American engineer and physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 with Leo Esaki and Brian Josephson "for their discoveries regarding tunnelling phenomena in solids". Giaever's share of the prize was specifically for his "experimental discoveries regarding tunnelling phenomena in superconductors".

Arthur Leonard Schawlow 20th-century American physicist; co-inventor of the laser

Arthur Leonard Schawlow was an American physicist and co-inventor of the laser with Charles Townes. His central insight, which Townes overlooked, was the use of two mirrors as the resonant cavity to take maser action from microwaves to visible wavelengths. He shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work using lasers to determine atomic energy levels with great precision.

Robert L. Park American physicist & skeptic (born 1931)

Robert Lee Park was an American emeritus professor of physics at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a former director of public information at the Washington office of the American Physical Society. Park was most noted for his critical commentaries on alternative medicine and pseudoscience, as well as his criticism of how legitimate science is distorted or ignored by the media, some scientists, and public policy advocates as expressed in his book Voodoo Science. He was also noted for his preference for robotic over manned space exploration.

Hideki Shirakawa Japanese chemist, engineer, and professor

Hideki Shirakawa is a Japanese chemist, engineer, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tsukuba and Zhejiang University. He is best known for his discovery of conductive polymers. He was co-recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Alan MacDiarmid and Alan Heeger.

Jerome Isaac Friedman American physicist

Jerome Isaac Friedman is an American physicist. He is Institute Professor and Professor of Physics, Emeritus, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He won the 1990 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Henry Kendall and Richard Taylor, "for their pioneering investigations concerning deep inelastic scattering of electrons on protons and bound neutrons, which have been of essential importance for the development of the quark model in particle physics.", work which showed an internal structure for protons later known to be quarks. Friedman sits on the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Michael Polanyi Center

The Michael Polanyi Center(MPC) at Baylor University, Texas, was the first center at a research university exclusively dedicated to the principle of intelligent design, primarily to host William Dembski, its director, and Bruce L. Gordon, its assistant director. It was founded in 1999 by Baylor president Robert B. Sloan "with the primary aim of advancing the understanding of the sciences" in a religious context and was named for Michael Polanyi. It was aligned with the Discovery Institute's wedge strategy, and was funded in part by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation via the Discovery Institute. All of the center's research investigated the subject of intelligent design. It hosted a conference in April 2000 that brought the center to the attention of the broader Baylor community as well as the rest of the scholarly world.

Henry F. Schaefer III American theoretical chemist

Henry Frederick "Fritz" Schaefer III is a computational and theoretical chemist. He is one of the most highly cited chemists in the world, with a Thomson Reuters H-Index of 121 as of 2020. He is the Graham Perdue Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Center for Computational Chemistry at the University of Georgia.

Toshihide Maskawa Japanese theoretical physicist

Toshihide Maskawa was a Japanese theoretical physicist known for his work on CP-violation who was awarded one quarter of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics "for the discovery of the origin of the broken symmetry which predicts the existence of at least three families of quarks in nature."

Non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA) is the view, advocated by Stephen Jay Gould, that science and religion each represent different areas of inquiry, fact vs. values, so there is a difference between the "nets" over which they have "a legitimate magisterium, or domain of teaching authority", and the two domains do not overlap. He suggests, with examples, that "NOMA enjoys strong and fully explicit support, even from the primary cultural stereotypes of hard-line traditionalism" and that it is "a sound position of general consensus, established by long struggle among people of goodwill in both magisteria." Some have criticized the idea or suggested limitations to it, and there continues to be disagreement over where the boundaries between the two magisteria should be.

Leon Pape was a medical physicist who received his BSc, MSc (1953) and PhD (1965) in Physics from the University of Southern California. He became certified in radiological physics by the American Board of Radiology and from 1955-1962 he worked as a radiological physicist at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles. He served at the California State University Los Angeles as Radiation Safety Officer and as Professor of Physics until 1971, and worked on the development of studies in biophysics, radiological health physics, and electron microscopy. He was elevated to Departmental Head of Physics at Cal State Los Angeles, and advocated with the California legislature to secure adequate funding for the 4-MeV Van de Graaf Laboratory, unique to CSU system. From 1971 until his death he worked at the August Krogh Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, in the Zoophysiological Laboratory. His central research area was membrane biophysics.

The Princeton University Department of Physics is an academic department dedicated to research and teaching at Princeton University. The associated faculty members, researchers, and students have been recognized for their research contributions, having been awarded 19 Nobel Prizes, four National Medals of Science, and two Wolf Prizes in Physics. Notable professors, researchers, and graduate students affiliated with the department include Albert Einstein, Richard Phillips Feynman, Joseph H. Taylor, Eugene P. Wigner, and John von Neumann. In addition, the department offers degree programs for bachelor's students (A.B.) and doctoral students (Ph.D.).


  1. Elizabeth Kline Nobel Prize winner stresses faith in science to Texas A&M students [ dead link ] University Wire Article February 26, 2002
  2. Gross PF; Forrest BF (2004). Creationism's Trojan horse: the wedge of intelligent design. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-515742-7.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. "Campus Briefs - Scientists to explore life's origins Monday". The Battalion. 2005-03-31. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  4. Matthew Waller Darwin expert comes to Baylor U. [ dead link ] University Wire Article April 24, 2007 "Morris lectured Monday at Texas A&M University as part of the reception of the Trotter Prize whose recipients have included Nobel Prizewinning scientists"
  5. . Christian Post .
  6. Nathan Ball Science versus religion Archived 2013-02-03 at ; Lecture series invitees discuss implications for scientific progress to support or suppress faith Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2008 The Battalion
  7. Noted astronomy professor and researcher to speak at Bethel College. Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine December 1, 2008. The Kansan/
  8. Park, RL (2005-04-08). "Trotter Prize: an award for overlapping the magisteria" (PDF). Free Inquiry Group. Retrieved 2010-08-10.