Thursday, March 13, 2008


The world's richest annual prize has been won by a Polish physicist and Catholic priest whose research on the origins of the universe and the tension between religion and science was conducted for decades under intense Soviet-era repression.

Michal Heller will be awarded the $1.7-million Templeton Prize by Prince Philip at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace in May, the foundation that has been handing out the award since 1973 announced Wednesday.

"Michal Heller's quest for deeper understanding has led to pioneering breakthroughs in religious concepts and knowledge as well as expanding the horizons of science," said John Templeton, Jr., head of the foundation and son of the global investor and philanthropist who started the award for the study of what he considered life's biggest questions.

Templeton's father, knighted by the Queen in 1987, deliberately set the value of his award higher than the better-known Nobel prizes to underline his belief that the benefits of spiritual study outweigh those of other human endeavours.


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