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Templeton Prize to Charles Townes

Charles Townes, who shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1964 for his work in quantum electronics that led to the construction of the first lasers, has been named the winner of the $1.5 million Templeton Prize. The announcement took place at a press conference at United Nations headquarters on 9 March. The Templeton Prize, which was established in 1972 by the inventor and philanthropist Sir John Templeton, is awarded annually to those pursuing and writing about spiritual matters. Previous winners include Mother Teresa (who was awarded the first Templeton Prize in 1973), Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and scientists Carl Friedrich von Weizsacker, Paul Davies, Freeman Dyson, and George F.R. Ellis (last year). Charles Townes, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, has visited the ICTP twice in 1968 and in 1972. As The New York Times recently noted, Townes, 89, “has long argued that those old antagonists science and religion are more alike than different and are destined to merge". He will receive the prize at Buckingham Palace next May.


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