Marcelo Gleiser, theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and a leading proponent of the view that science, philosophy, and spirituality are complementary expressions of humanity’s need to embrace mystery and the unknown, was announced as the 2019 Templeton Prize Laureate.
Gleiser, 60, the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, has earned international acclaim through his books, essays, blogs, TV documentaries, and conferences that present science as a spiritual quest to understand the origins of the universe and of life on Earth.
A native of Brazil, where his books are bestsellers and his television series draw audiences in the millions, Gleiser became the first Latin American to be awarded the Templeton Prize.
For 35 years, his research has examined a wide array of topics, ranging from the behavior of quantum fields and elementary particles, to early-universe cosmology, the dynamics of phase transitions, astrobiology, and new fundamental measures of entropy and complexity based on information theory, with more than 100 peer-reviewed articles published to date.
Gleiser is a prominent voice among scientists, past and present, who reject the notion that science alone can lead to ultimate truths about the nature of reality. Instead, in his parallel career as a public intellectual, he reveals the historical, philosophical, and cultural links between science, the humanities, and spirituality, and argues for a complementary approach to knowledge, especially on questions where science cannot provide a final answer.
He often describes science as an “engagement with the mysterious,” inseparable from humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Gleiser’s writings propose that modern science has brought humankind back to the metaphorical center of creation – his doctrine of “humancentrism” — by revealing the improbable uniqueness of our planet, and the exceptional rarity of humans as intelligent beings capable of understanding the importance of being alive. This inversion of Copernicanism, he argues, prompts the need for a new cosmic morality where the sacredness of life is extended to the planet and all living beings.
The Templeton Prize, valued at 1.1 million British pounds, is one of the world’s largest annual individual awards and honors a person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. The announcement was made online at www.templetonprize.org today by the John Templeton Foundation, based in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
Marcelo Gleiser will formally receive the Templeton Prize at a public ceremony in New York City on Wednesday, May 29th.