Templeton Prize

Templeton Prize

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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 works". The prize is named after Sir John Templeton
John Templeton
Sir John Marks Templeton was an American-born British stock investor, businessman and philanthropist.-Biography:...

 (1912–2008), an American-born British entrepreneur and businessman, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 in 1987 for his philanthropic efforts. Until 2001, the name of the prize was "Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion", and from 2002 to 2008 it was called the "Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities". It has typically been presented by Prince Philip
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Elizabeth II. He is the United Kingdom's longest-serving consort and the oldest serving spouse of a reigning British monarch....

 in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...


The monetary value of the prize is adjusted so that it exceeds that of the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

s, as Templeton felt "spirituality was ignored" in the Nobel Prizes. At £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

1,000,000, as of 2009, it is the largest single annual financial prize award given to an individual by a philanthropic organisation. The prize is awarded "based on the decision of a panel of distinguished judges from various academic disciplines and religious traditions". Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s, Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, Jews, Buddhists, Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s and atheists have been on the panel of judges and have been recipients of the prize.

The prize has been criticized – British biologist
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 and atheist
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

 said in his book The God Delusion
The God Delusion
The God Delusion is a 2006 bestselling non-fiction book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, professorial fellow of New College, Oxford, and inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that...

that the prize was given "usually to a scientist who is prepared to say something nice about religion". Sean M. Carroll
Sean M. Carroll
Sean Michael Carroll is a senior research associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. He is a theoretical cosmologist specializing in dark energy and general relativity...

, a research associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology
California Institute of Technology
The California Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Pasadena, California, United States. Caltech has six academic divisions with strong emphases on science and engineering...

, criticized his colleagues for taking Templeton research grants when they did not support Templeton's beliefs. Martinus J. G. Veltman
Martinus J. G. Veltman
Martinus Justinus Godefriedus Veltman is a Dutch theoretical physicist. He shared the 1999 Nobel Prize in physics with his former student Gerardus 't Hooft for their work on particle theory.-Biography:...

, the 1999 Nobel laureate in physics, suggested the prize "bridg[ed] the gap between sense and nonsense".

The inaugural winner of the prize, in 1973, was Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa , born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu , was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950...

, six years before she received the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

. She was cited by the Templeton Foundation "for her extraordinary efforts to help the homeless and neglected children of Calcutta" and for her work, which "inspired millions of others around the world".


Year Laureate Notes Ref(s)
1973 Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa , born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu , was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950...

 of Calcutta
Founder of India's Missionaries of Charity
Missionaries of Charity
Missionaries of Charity is a Roman Catholic religious congregation established in 1950 by Mother Teresa of Calcutta, which consists of over 4,500 sisters and is active in 133 countries...

, 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner
1974 Frère Roger
Frère Roger
Frère Roger , baptised Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, also known as Brother Roger, was the founder and prior of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community....

Founder of the Taizé Community
Taizé Community
The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order in Taizé, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy, France. It is composed of about 100 brothers who come from Protestant, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic traditions. The brothers come from about 30 countries across the world. The monastic order has a strong...

1975 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan , OM, FBA was an Indian philosopher and statesman. He was the first Vice President of India and subsequently the second President of India ....

Former President of India
President of India
The President of India is the head of state and first citizen of India, as well as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. President of India is also the formal head of all the three branches of Indian Democracy - Legislature, Executive and Judiciary...

, advocate of non-aggression with Pakistan
1976 Leo Joseph Cardinal Suenens
Leo Joseph Suenens
Leo Jozef Suenens was a Belgian prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel from 1961 to 1979, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1962....

Pioneer in the Charismatic Renewal movement
1977 Chiara Lubich
Chiara Lubich
Chiara Lubich was an Italian Catholic activist and leader and foundress of the Focolare Movement.- Early life :...

Founder of the Focolare Movement
Focolare Movement
The Focolare Movement is an international organization that promotes the ideals of unity and universal brotherhood. Founded in 1943 in Trento, northern Italy by Chiara Lubich as a religious movement, the Focolare Movement, though primarily Roman Catholic, now has strong links to the major Christian...

1978 Prof. Thomas Torrance
Thomas Torrance
Thomas Forsyth Torrance was a 20th century Protestant Christian theologian who served for 27 years as Professor of Christian Dogmatics at New College, Edinburgh in the University of Edinburgh, during which time he was a leader in Protestant Christian theology...

Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
The Moderator of the General Assembly of Church of Scotland is a Minister, Elder or Deacon of the Church of Scotland chosen to "moderate" the annual General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, which is held for a week in Edinburgh every May....

1979 Rev. Nikkyo Niwano
Nikkyo Niwano
was one of the founders and first president of the Buddhist organization, Risshō Kōsei Kai.-Early life:Born on November 15, 1906 to farmers, Nikkyō had a humble life in a small town. Later in his youth he moved to Tokyo to work and it was here that he began to study several different religions....

Cofounder of Risshō Kōsei Kai
Rissho Kosei Kai
is a Japanese Buddhist lay movement founded in 1938 by Nikkyo Niwano and Myoko Naganuma.-History:Rissho Kosei-kai was founded on March 5, 1938 by Nikkyo Niwano and Myoko Naganuma, both former members of the Buddhist sect Reiyūkai. Rev. Niwano met Ms. Naganuma while he was engaged in missionary work...

1980 Ralph Wendell Burhoe
Ralph Wendell Burhoe
Ralph Wendell Burhoe was an important twentieth century pioneer interpreter of the importance of religion for a scientific and technological world. He was awarded the Templeton Prize in 1980....

Founder of Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science
Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science is an academic journal published quarterly by Wiley-Blackwell.Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science is a premier scholarly journal publishing in the area of religion and science dialogue since 1966 until present....

1981 Cicely Saunders
Cicely Saunders
Dame Cicely Mary Saunders, was a prominent Anglican, nurse, physician and writer, involved with many international universities...

Hospice and palliative care movement founder
1982 Rev. Dr. Billy Graham
Billy Graham
William Franklin "Billy" Graham, Jr. is an American evangelical Christian evangelist. As of April 25, 2010, when he met with Barack Obama, Graham has spent personal time with twelve United States Presidents dating back to Harry S. Truman, and is number seven on Gallup's list of admired people for...

1983 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was aRussian and Soviet novelist, dramatist, and historian. Through his often-suppressed writings, he helped to raise global awareness of the Gulag, the Soviet Union's forced labor camp system – particularly in The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of...

Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

Soviet dissidents
Soviet dissidents were citizens of the Soviet Union who disagreed with the policies and actions of their government and actively protested against these actions through either violent or non-violent means...

1984 Rev. Michael Bourdeaux Founder of the Keston Institute
Keston Institute
The Keston Institute is an organization dedicated to the study of religion and communist countries, at Oxford, United Kingdom. It was founded in 1969 by Rev Canon Dr...

1985 Alister Hardy
Alister Hardy
Sir Alister Clavering Hardy, FRS was an English marine biologist, expert on zooplankton and marine ecosystems...

Founder of the Religious Experience Research Centre
Religious Experience Research Centre
The Religious Experience Research Centre was founded by the distinguished marine biologist Professor Alister Hardy FRS in 1969 as The Religious Experience Research Unit. He and his co-researchers began to gather a unique archive of accounts of religious experience and to publish research into the...

1986 Rev. James I. McCord
James I. McCord
James I McCord was a president of Princeton Theological Seminary. He also won the 1986 Templeton Prize.-150 Years of Princeton Theological Seminary:...

Former president of the Princeton Theological Seminary
Princeton Theological Seminary
Princeton Theological Seminary is a theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church located in the Borough of Princeton, New Jersey in the United States...

1987 Rev. Father Dr. Stanley Jaki
Stanley Jaki
Stanley L. Jaki, OSB was a Benedictine priest and Distinguished Professor of Physics at Seton Hall University, New Jersey since 1975...

Benedictine monk and professor of astrophysics at Seton Hall University
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...

1988 Dr. Inamullah Khan
Inamullah Khan
Inamullah Khan was a Muslim activist who symbolised the World Muslim Congress, Al-Motamar al-Alam al-Islami, for almost four and half decades. He was awarded the Templeton Prize in 1988.- Early years :...

Former secretary-general of the Modern World Muslim Congress
1989 Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker
Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker was a German physicist and philosopher. He was the longest-living member of the research team which performed nuclear research in Germany during the Second World War, under Werner Heisenberg's leadership...

Physicist and philosopher
1989 Lord MacLeod of Fuinary
George MacLeod
George Fielden MacLeod, Baron MacLeod of Fuinary, MC was a Scottish soldier and clergyman; he was one of the best known, most influential and unconventional Church of Scotland ministers of the 20th century. He was the founder of the Iona Community.-Early life:He was born in Glasgow in 1895...

Founder of the Iona Community
Iona Community
The Iona Community, founded in 1938 by the Rev George MacLeod, is an ecumenical Christian community of men and women from different walks of life and different traditions in the Christian church....

1990 Baba Amte
Baba Amte
Murlidhar Devidas Amte, popularly known as Baba Amte was an Indian social worker and social activist known particularly for his work for the rehabilitation and empowerment of poor people suffering from leprosy....

Developed modern communities for people suffering from leprosy
1990 Charles Birch
Charles Birch
Louis Charles Birch FAA was an Australian geneticist specialising in population ecology and was also well known as a theologian, writing widely on the topic of science and religion, winning the Templeton Prize in 1990...

Emeritus Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 at the University of Sydney
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

1991 Chief Rabbi Immanuel Jakobovits Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth from 1967 to 1991
1992 Kyung-Chik Han
Kyung-Chik Han
Kyung-Chik Han was a Korean pastor and church planter and the recipient of the 1992 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion.-Biography:...

Evangelist and founder of Young Nak Presbyterian Church
Young Nak Presbyterian Church
Young Nak Presbyterian Church was founded in Seoul on December 2, 1945 by 1992 Templeton Prize recipient, Kyung-Chik Han. Inaugurated by twenty-seven refugees from Soviet occupied Korea, Young Nak steadily increased in membership as more refugees sought religious freedom below the 38th...

1993 Charles Colson
Charles Colson
Charles Wendell "Chuck" Colson is a Christian leader, cultural commentator, and former Special Counsel for President Richard Nixon from 1969 to 1973....

Founder of the Prison Fellowship
Prison Fellowship
Prison Fellowship is a Christian prison outreach and criminal justice reform organization. Its programs reach prisoners, ex-prisoners, and families of prisoners throughout the United States and, through Prison Fellowship International , in 112 countries worldwide.- Leadership :Charles W...

1994 Michael Novak
Michael Novak
Michael Novak is an American Catholic philosopher, journalist, novelist, and diplomat. The author of more than twenty-five books on the philosophy and theology of culture, Novak is most widely known for his book The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism...

Philosopher and diplomat
1995 Paul Davies
Paul Davies
Paul Charles William Davies, AM is an English physicist, writer and broadcaster, currently a professor at Arizona State University as well as the Director of BEYOND: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science...

Theoretical physicist
Theoretical physics
Theoretical physics is a branch of physics which employs mathematical models and abstractions of physics to rationalize, explain and predict natural phenomena...

1996 Bill Bright
Bill Bright
William R. "Bill" Bright was an American evangelist. The founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, he wrote The Four Spiritual Laws in 1952 and produced the Jesus Film in 1979.-Early life:...

Founder of Campus Crusade for Christ
Campus Crusade for Christ
Campus Crusade for Christ is an interdenominational Christian organization that promotes evangelism and discipleship in more than 190 countries...

1997 Pandurang Shastri Athavale
Pandurang Shastri Athavale
Shastri Pandurang Vaijnath Athavale , also known as Dada-ji , which literally translates as elder brother in Marathi, was an Indian philosopher, spiritual leader, social reformer and Hinduism reformist, who founded the Swadhyay Movement and the Swadhyay Parivar organization in 1954, a...

Social reformer, philosopher, and founder of Swadhyay Movement
Swadhyay Movement
Swadhyay, a Sanskrit word, means self-study, but it is more than what it connotes. Lord Krishna mentioned Swadhyay as one of the divine attributes one should have it and one of the four Yagna . Also, it is an austerity of speech...

1998 Sigmund Sternberg
Sigmund Sternberg
Sir Sigmund Sternberg, is a British philanthropist, businessman and Labour Party donor.-Early life:Sternberg is Jewish and was born in Hungary. He emigrated to Britain in 1939 and was naturalised as a British citizen in 1947.-Career:...

Philanthropist Founder of the Three Faith Forum
1999 Ian Barbour
Ian Barbour
Ian Graeme Barbour, born 5 October 1923, is an American scholar on the relationship between science and religion. According to the Public Broadcasting Service his mid-1960s Issues in Science and Religion "has been credited with literally creating the contemporary field of science and religion."In...

Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society at Carleton College
Carleton College
Carleton College is an independent non-sectarian, coeducational, liberal arts college in Northfield, Minnesota, USA. The college enrolls 1,958 undergraduate students, and employs 198 full-time faculty members. In 2012 U.S...

2000 Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson
Freeman John Dyson FRS is a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum field theory, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering. Dyson is a member of the Board of Sponsors of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists...

Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study
Institute for Advanced Study
The Institute for Advanced Study, located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States, is an independent postgraduate center for theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. It was founded in 1930 by Abraham Flexner...

, Princeton
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....

2001 Rev. Arthur Peacocke
Arthur Peacocke
The Reverend Canon Arthur Robert Peacocke MBE was a British theologian and biochemist.-Biography:Arthur Robert Peacocke was born at Watford in on 29 November 1924...

Former Dean of Clare College, Cambridge
Clare College, Cambridge
Clare College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1326, making it the second-oldest surviving college of the University after Peterhouse. Clare is famous for its chapel choir and for its gardens on "the Backs"...

2002 Rev. John Polkinghorne
John Polkinghorne
John Charlton Polkinghorne KBE FRS is an English theoretical physicist, theologian, writer, and Anglican priest. He was professor of Mathematical physics at the University of Cambridge from 1968 to 1979, when he resigned his chair to study for the priesthood, becoming an ordained Anglican priest...

Physicist and theologian
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...

2003 Holmes Rolston III
Holmes Rolston III
Holmes Rolston III is University Distinguished Professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. He is best known for his contributions to environmental ethics and science and religion. Among other honors, Rolston won the 2003 Templeton Prize, awarded by Prince Philip in Buckingham Palace...

2004 George F. R. Ellis Cosmologist
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

 and philosopher
| Charles Hard Townes
Charles Hard Townes
Charles Hard Townes is an American Nobel Prize-winning physicist and educator. Townes is known for his work on the theory and application of the maser, on which he got the fundamental patent, and other work in quantum electronics connected with both maser and laser devices. He shared the Nobel...

| Nobel laureate
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 and physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

| John D. Barrow
John D. Barrow
-External links:****** The Forum-Publications available on the Internet:************...

| Cosmologist
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

 and theoretical physicist
| Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor (philosopher)
Charles Margrave Taylor, is a Canadian philosopher from Montreal, Quebec best known for his contributions in political philosophy, the philosophy of social science, and in the history of philosophy. His contributions to these fields have earned him both the prestigious Kyoto Prize and the...

| Philosopher
| Rev. Prof. Michał Heller
| Physicist and philosopher
| Bernard d'Espagnat
Bernard d'Espagnat
Bernard d'Espagnat is a French theoretical physicist, philosopher of science, and author, best known for his work on the nature of reality....

| Physicist
|Francisco J. Ayala
Francisco J. Ayala
Francisco José Ayala Pereda is a Spanish-American biologist and philosopher at the University of California, Irvine. He is a former Dominican priest, ordained in 1960, but left the priesthood that same year. After graduating from the University of Salamanca, he moved to the US in 1961 to study for...

|Martin John Rees
Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow
Martin John Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow, OM, FRS is a British cosmologist and astrophysicist. He has been Astronomer Royal since 1995 and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2004...

|Cosmologist and astrophysicist


A.  Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Lord MacLeod of Fuinary were jointly awarded the prize in 1989.
B.  Baba Amte and Charles Birch were jointly awarded the prize in 1990.

External links