John C. Polkinghorne, theologian, physicist and prolific author, was named the recipient of the 2002 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion at a press conference at the U.N. on March 14. Polkinghorne, who left a remarkable career in mathematical physics to become an Anglican priest, was awarded the prize for his "application of scientific habits to Christianity, resulting in a modern and compelling exploration of faith," according to a statement by the foundation.

Polinghorne is the fourth scientist in as many years to win the Templeton. "I was surprised to be the fourth," he said, adding, "The conversation between science and religion has been most vigorous in recent years. I hope it will encourage all people to see that science and religion are complementary to each other and not in conflict."

The author of almost 20 books, Polkinghorne considers the writing process an act of crystallization. "Someone once said, 'How do I know what I think until I say it?' I say, 'How do I know what I think until I write it?' " His books include The Way the World Is (Triangle, 1983), The Faith of a Physicist (Princeton, 1994), Belief in God in an Age of Science (Yale, 1998) and the forthcoming The God of Hope and the End of the World (Yale, Apr.).