Tom McLeish, FRS, Professor of Physics at Durham University, presents on his book Faith and Wisdom in Science (Oxford) to an interdisciplinary group of scholars, artists, and scientists comprised of fellows, guest faculty and students. Professor McLeish's research has contributed to the new field of “soft matter physics,” a field in which he works with chemists, engineers and biologists to study relationships between molecular structure and emergent material properties. This work has also included biologists, with whom Professor McLeish developed statistical mechanical theories for the self-assembly of biomolecular fibrils and thermal mechanisms for signalling in protein binding (“allosteric” signalling.
His current research includes physics-inspired models of evolution and he is currently the principal investigator of the United Kingdom “Physics of Life” network, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). He has also served as the leader for large academic-industrial collaborations, which Professor McLeish argues enrich fundamental science as well as generate commercial value. His other academic interests include the framing of science, society and science policy, including his recent collaborative study of narratives about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, and China); and science history, especially a large current interdisciplinary project re-examining scientific treatises from the 13th century.
Professor McLeish is the author of Faith and Wisdom in Science (2014) and (with David Hutchings) Let There Be Science (2017), works that articulate a theological narrative for the debates in science and theology and which were inspired by Professor McLeish’s work in science policy and public science. From 2008 to 2014 he served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research at Durham University and currently serves as Chair of the Royal Society’s Education Committee, which elected him a Fellow in 2011. He has been a Reader in the Anglican Church since 1993 and is a trustee of the John Templeton Foundation.