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Philadelphia <<CityNews Main
V.V. Raman Lecture Series on ‘Indic Religions in an Age of Science’

Varadaraja V. Raman, Ph.D., professor emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology, has been named as 2004-2005 Metanexus Senior Fellow. In this
capacity, Dr. Raman will give a series of six talks at the Hillel Center on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. The series ‘Indic Religions in an Age of Science’ will be composed of three lectures this fall and three more in the spring.

The Metanexus Board of Directors made the appointment at the organization¹s June 2004 board meeting in Philadelphia. Dr. Raman will follow Rev. Dr. Philip Hefner, who served as the first Senior Fellow in 2003-2004. The Senior Fellow position was created to honor those who have made significant intellectual contributions to the growing encounter between science and religion.

In his talks, Dr. Raman will focus on Hinduism, but also draw on Buddhist and Jaina insights, in conversation with modern science. He will discuss and interpret traditional Indic visions and worldviews with references to modern scientific theories, even as he explores Indic contributions of civilization, for instance in theories of mind and consciousness, cosmology, medicine, and epistemology.

As in the West, many contemporary Indian thinkers see both conflict and concordance between science and religion. Many secularist Indian intellectuals and scientists regard some of the traditional belief systems like astrology and vastushastra as unscientific, and reject the claims that the insights of modern science are derived from ancient Indian scriptures. Others see in Indic civilization significant achievements in science, such as yoga and Ayurvedic medicine that have been expropriated or ignored by the West. Many have also attempted to integrate science and religion in the Indic context. The vast majority of Hindus practice their religion in its multifaceted modes, while little about it is taught formally in schools and universities. Some of these issues will also be discussed in the lectures.

In his first lecture, October 18, 2004, 'Science-Religion Perspectives: Traditional, Modern, and Post-modern,' Dr. Raman will present the framework of Indic culture and discuss aspects of classical Hindu scientific visions with references to modern and postmodern perspectives on Hindu science, some aspects of which are both popular and controversial.

The second lecture, 'Cosmology and Forces in the Physical World' is scheduled for November 8, 2004. Questions pertaining to the origin and purpose of the universe are of perennial interest to the inquiring mind. This lecture will discuss some Indic answers to these question, and consider their relevance in the modern context.

The mysteries of the human mind have intrigued thinkers and scientists all through the ages. In his third lecture 'Theories of the Mind and Consciousness' on December 6, 2004, Dr. Raman will examine some of the theories of the mind that have been presented by Indic inquirers, and show how these theories served in the formulation of philosophical systems and spiritual disciplines.

In the remaining three lectures of the series, which will take place in the winter/spring of 2005, Dr. Raman will continue his exploration of Indic religions with talks on the nature of consciousness, levels of reality, and theories of knowledge and future visions.

Dr. Raman is a physicist, philosopher, and scholar. He holds a Master's Degree in applied mathematics from the University of Calcutta, and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Paris. He served as professor of physics and humanities at Rochester Institute of Technology. He has authored numerous papers, articles, and books on science, on Hindu culture, and on science-religion issues. Currently, he serves on the executive council of IRAS (Institute on Religion in an Age of Science) as well as on the board of the Metanexus Institute.

All talks will take place from 5:00-6:00 PM in the auditorium of the Hillel Center, 215 South 39th Street, Philadelphia. There is on street parking or in the lot on the East side of 38th Street between Walnut and Chestnut Streets. The series is free of charge. For further information, please contact us at 215.789.2200 or

The Metanexus Institute is a membership organization that advances research, education, and outreach on the constructive engagement of science and religion. We seek to create an enduring intellectual and social movement by collaborating with persons and communities from diverse religious traditions and scientific disciplines. In a spirit of humility and with deep concern for intellectual rigor, the Metanexus Institute promotes a balanced and exploratory dialogue between science and religion. While mindful of the complexities of this endeavor, we work to develop integrative approaches that enrich the domains of both science and religion. Some of the projects of the Metanexus Institute are the Local Societies Initiative, the Templeton Research Lectures, the Spiritual Transformation Scientific Research Program, and the Spiritual Capital Research Program.

For further information about the Institute and its programs, please go to for contact Julia Loving at or215.789.2207.

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