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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 23:28 GMT
British scientist wins $1m prize
John D Barrow
The Cambridge professor has published many popular books
A British scientist has won the world's biggest cash award, the annual $1.4m (800,000) Templeton Prize.

Cambridge professor John D Barrow has written on the Universe's structure, challenging the belief that science or religion have all the answers.

The religion award - which is richer than Nobel prizes - was set up 30 years ago by a philanthropist to encourage dialogue between science and religion.

Past winners include Mother Teresa and US evangelist Billy Graham.

'Fits the bill'

The prestigious prize, founded by Sir John Templeton and overseen by the US-based Templeton Foundation, rewards "discoveries about spiritual realities".

According to BBC religious affairs correspondent Jane Little, the sometimes fraught relationship between science and religion is once again under the spotlight in the US.

Scientists are complaining that fundamentalists are undermining the teaching of science in schools.

But the Templeton Prize hopes to highlight the positive work which draws the scientific and the spiritual together.

"Professor John D Barrow fits the bill," said our correspondent.

The challenge

The 53-year-old professor of mathematics at Cambridge University has drawn from many disciplines to explore the realm of ultimate questions - condensing complex ideas about the Universe into many popular books and lectures, and even a play.

His work explores the mysteries of infinity and nothingness.

He says neither science nor religion offer the ultimate truths we seek.

And he challenges scholars to cross boundaries if they want to fully realise what they understand - and do not understand - about where we came from and where we are heading.

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