The John Templeton Foundation announced physician-geneticist Francis Collins as the winner of its annual Templeton Prize. Collins, who is currently the director of the National Institutes for Health, has discovered several genetic variants associated with diseases, and led the Human Genome Project from 1990-2003. He is also the author of The Language of God (Free Press, 2006), which explores genetic research through a Christian lens and argues, “God is most certainly not threatened by science; He made it all possible," PW said in its review.
Valued at 1.1 million pounds (roughly $1.3 million), the Templeton Prize is recognizing Collins for his ability to integrate faith and reason. “Collins has demonstrated how religious faith can motivate and inspire rigorous scientific research,” the Templeton Foundation said in a statement. Additionally, Collins’s discovery of genes associated with diseases such as type-2 diabetes and cystic fibrosis has “shed new light on human well-being and the nature and possibilities of the human species,” according to the foundation.
Collins is also the author of The Language of Life: DNA and the Revolution in Personalized Medicine (Harper Perennial, 2010), Belief: Readings on the Reasons for Faith (HarperOne, 2010), and The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions (IVP, 2011). He released a statement upon receiving the Templeton Prize expressing both his sense of awe over “the complexity of human biology” and grief over the suffering and death due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. "As I write this, almost my every waking moment is consumed by the effort to find treatments and a vaccine for Covid-19."
A formal virtual ceremony for the Templeton Prize will take place later this year. Named after British investor and philanthropist John Templeton, the award honors discoveries that yield new insights about religion especially through science. Past winners include Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and most recently, physicist Marcelo Gleiser.