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Sold-out Giffords end on high note

Record numbers of people have attended a lecture series examining the human quest for meaning in the universe.

Professor Alister McGrath outside King's C ollegeAround 1200 people descended on the University of Aberdeen over the course of the sold-out Gifford Lectures – the UK's leading intellectual event dealing with science, philosophy and religion.

This year's series ended last night (Feb 26) and was delivered by Professor Alister McGrath, the Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College, London.

A former atheist, Professor McGrath's special interest is in the interaction of the natural sciences and the Christian faith. He has also been a prominent critic of Oxford's evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.

His six lectures ended with a book-signing of his latest work A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology.

Professor Trevor Salmon, Chair of the Gifford Committee at the University of Aberdeen, said: "We were extremely fortunate to secure Alister for the 2009 Giffords, and this has been demonstrated by the exceptional numbers who came to listen to him each night.

There was clearly a real appetite in Aberdeen, and within the University community, for the ideas and arguments he put forth during his stay in the North-east, and we are delighted to see him join the list of preeminent thinkers who have taken on the Gifford mantle since its inception."

The prestigious Gifford Lectureships were established in 1888 at the bequest of Adam Lord Gifford (1820–1887), a senator of the College of Justice in Scotland. Lectures are given on an annual rolling basis in the ancient universities of St Andrews, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

The Gifford lecturers have included a broad cross section of scholars of theology, philosophy and ethics, as well as historians, scientists, and writers, and even include Arthur Balfour, British Prime Minister from 1902-1905.

Other previous speakers include Iris Murdoch, Karl Barth, and Noam Chomsky. The lectures are often subsequently published to significant stature in the intellectual world.

For more information visit

 Professor McGrath's work includes The Dawkins Delusion;The Open Secret: A New Vision for Natural Theology; and his most recent book A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology.


Notes to Editors

Issued by the Communications Team, Office of External Affairs, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen. Tel: (01224) 272014.

Issued on: Friday 27th of February 2009

Ref: GIFF2

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