Templeton Prize Awarded to Martin Rees

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LONDON, APRIL 6, 2011 (Zenit.org).- This year, the John Templeton Foundation is honoring Martin Rees, a British cosmologist and astrophysicist.

The annual Templeton Prize recognizes exceptional contributions to affirming life's spiritual dimension, through insight, discovery, or practical works.

In a press release today, the foundation underlined Rees' work, noting that the "big questions" he raises -- such as "How large is physical reality?" -- "are reshaping crucial philosophical and theological considerations that strike at the core of life, fostering the spiritual progress that the Templeton Prize has long sought to recognize."

As a former president of the Royal Society, the honoree has "spent decades investigating the implications of the big bang, the nature of black holes, events during the so-called 'dark age' of the early universe, and the mysterious explosions from galaxy centers known as gamma ray bursters," the communiqué noted.

Rees stated that he considers himself a product of Christian culture and ethics, affirming, "I grew up in the traditions of the Anglican Church and those are 'the customs of my tribe.'"

The prize will be awarded on June 1 at Buckingham Palace.