I was very pleased to hear this morning that the 2008 Templeton Prize has been awarded to Michal Heller (who publishes in English under the name Michael Heller), a Polish priest, physicist, philosopher, and theologian. Here is an excerpt from what I said about him in the October 2004 issue of First Things:
Michael Heller brings to his reflections on science and religion a depth of knowledge, thought, and experience that is highly unusual. He spent his early childhood in Siberia, where his family had been exiled from Poland by the Soviets. The power of faith to sustain people through extreme hardships turned his mind to God and eventually led him to the priesthood. He went on to earn a master’s degree in philosophy and a Ph.D. in physics, and he was one of the intellectuals who would meet at the Krakow residence of Archbishop Karol Wojtyla to discuss science and faith. After Wojtyla became pope, Heller continued to organize these meetings, bringing eminent scholars from around the world to participate. He is currently professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Krakow and an active researcher in relativistic cosmology. These essays show him to be a thinker of fine judgment about science, theology, and philosophy, and about their interrelationships.
From many points of view, this is an excellent choice.