Archive for March 18th, 2009|Daily archive page

Winner of $1.4 million Templeton Prize announced

The winner of the 2009 Templeton Prize has been announced.  According to the NY Times:

Bernard d’Espagnat, 87, a French physicist and philosopher of science, has won the $1.4 million Templeton Prize for his work on the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics, the John Templeton Foundation said Monday in Paris. Noting that the rules governing the behavior of subatomic particles contravene common-sense notions of reality, Dr. d’Espagnat, a professor emeritus at the University of Paris-Sud, coined the term “veiled reality” to describe a world beyond appearances, which science can only glimpse and which he said could be compatible with “higher forms of spirituality.”

ScienceNOW reports that “Over the years, he has developed the idea that the reality revealed by science offers only a ‘veiled’ view of an underlying reality that science cannot access, and that the scientific view must take its place alongside the reality revealed by art, spirituality, and other forms of human inquiry.”

The Templeton Prize (Wikipedia article), established in 1972, is the best known award given out by the Templeton Foundation; it is awarded to a person who “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.”  Until 2001 it was formally known as the “Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion” and from 2002-2008 it was called the “Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities.”  The monetary award, currently £1,000,000 (ca. $1.4 million U.S.) exceeds the cash that accompanies the Nobel Prizes.

M. d’Espagnat will formally receive the award from the Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace on 5 May.

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Russia to increase military spending

According to the BBC, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has announced that Russia will begin a comprehensive military rearmament from 2011.

Mr Medvedev said the primary task would be to “increase the combat readiness of [Russia’s] forces, first of all our strategic nuclear forces”.

Explaining the move, he cited concerns over Nato expansion near Russia’s borders and regional conflicts.

Increased oil revenues make such spending possible.  The recent conflict with Georgia (the country, not the state) apparently demonstrated to them that much of their equipment is outdated and their tactics need updating.