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Stanley Jaki

Stanley Jaki

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Stanley L. Jaki, OSB
Order of Saint Benedict
The Order of Saint Benedict is a Roman Catholic religious order of independent monastic communities that observe the Rule of St. Benedict. Within the order, each individual community maintains its own autonomy, while the organization as a whole exists to represent their mutual interests...

(August 17, 1924, Győr
-Climate:-Main sights:The ancient core of the city is Káptalan Hill at the confluence of three rivers: the Danube, Rába and Rábca. Püspökvár, the residence of Győr’s bishops can be easily recognised by its incomplete tower. Győr’s oldest buildings are the 13th-century dwelling tower and the...

 – April 7, 2009, Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

) was a Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 priest and Distinguished Professor of Physics at Seton Hall University, New Jersey
Seton Hall University
Seton Hall University is a private Roman Catholic university in South Orange, New Jersey, United States. Founded in 1856 by Archbishop James Roosevelt Bayley, Seton Hall is the oldest diocesan university in the United States. Seton Hall is also the oldest and largest Catholic university in the...

 since 1975. He was a leading thinker in the philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

, theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, and on issues where the two disciplines meet and diverge.


After completing undergraduate training in philosophy, theology and mathematics, Father Jaki did graduate work in theology and physics and gained doctorates in theology from the Pontifical Institute
Pontifical university
A pontifical university is a Catholic University established by and directly under the authority of the Holy See. It is licensed to grant academic degrees in sacred faculties, the most important of which are Sacred Theology, Canon Law, Sacred Scripture and...

 in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 (1950), and in physics from Fordham University
Fordham University
Fordham University is a private, nonprofit, coeducational research university in the United States, with three campuses in and around New York City. It was founded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of New York in 1841 as St...

 (1958), where he studied under the Nobel laureate Victor Hess, the co-discoverer of cosmic rays. He also did post-doctoral research in Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

, UC Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

, Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

 and Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.

Father Jaki authored more than two dozen books on the relation between modern science and orthodox Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. He was Fremantle Lecturer at Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College, Oxford
Balliol College , founded in 1263, is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England but founded by a family with strong Scottish connections....

 (1977), Hoyt Fellow at Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 (1980) and Farmington Institute Lecturer at Oxford University (1988–1989). He was the Gifford Lecturer
Gifford Lectures
The Gifford Lectures were established by the will of Adam Lord Gifford . They were established to "promote and diffuse the study of Natural Theology in the widest sense of the term — in other words, the knowledge of God." The term natural theology as used by Gifford means theology supported...

 at Edinburgh University in 1974-75 and 1975-76. In 1987, he was awarded the Templeton Prize
Templeton Prize
The Templeton Prize is an annual award presented by the Templeton Foundation. Established in 1972, it is awarded to a living person who, in the estimation of the judges, "has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical...

 for furthering understanding of science and religion.

He was also among the first to claim that Gödel's incompleteness theorem is relevant for theories of everything (TOE)
Theory of everything
A theory of everything is a putative theory of theoretical physics that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena, and predicts the outcome of any experiment that could be carried out in principle....

 in theoretical physics. Gödel's theorem states that any theory
Theory (mathematical logic)
In mathematical logic, a theory is a set of sentences in a formal language. Usually a deductive system is understood from context. An element \phi\in T of a theory T is then called an axiom of the theory, and any sentence that follows from the axioms is called a theorem of the theory. Every axiom...

 that includes certain basic facts of number theory and is computably enumerable
Recursively enumerable set
In computability theory, traditionally called recursion theory, a set S of natural numbers is called recursively enumerable, computably enumerable, semidecidable, provable or Turing-recognizable if:...

 will be either incomplete or inconsistent. Since any 'theory of everything' will certainly be consistent, it must be either incomplete or unable to prove basic facts about the integers.


Father Jaki died on April 7, 2009, at about 1:15 PM (MET) in Madrid (Spain) following a heart attack. He was in Spain to visit friends on his way back to the USA, after delivering some lectures in Rome, for the Master in Faith and Science of the Pontificio Ateneo Regina Apostolorum.

See also

External links