Templeton Prize
Bernard D
Bernard d'Espagnat receiving the Templeton Prize from the Duke of Edinburgh in 2009
Awarded forOutstanding contributions in affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works
CountryUnited States
Presented byTempleton Foundation
Reward(s)£1.1 million (2019)
First awarded1973
Currently held byFrank Wilczek
Websitetempletonprize.org Edit this at Wikidata
Templeton Prize Award website logo.jpg

The Templeton Prize is an annual award granted to a living person, in the estimation of the judges, "whose exemplary achievements advance Sir John Templeton's philanthropic vision: harnessing the power of the sciences to explore the deepest questions of the universe and humankind's place and purpose within it." It was established, funded and administered by John Templeton starting in 1972. It is now co-funded by the John Templeton Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, and Templeton World Charity Foundation, and administered by the John Templeton Foundation.[1]

The prize was originally awarded to people working in the field of religion (Mother Teresa was the first winner), but in the 1980s the scope broadened to include people working at the intersection of science and religion.[2] Until 2001, the name of the prize was "Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion", and from 2002 to 2008 it was called the "Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities".[3][4] Hindus, Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims have been on the panel of judges and have been recipients of the prize.[5]

The monetary value of the prize is adjusted so that it exceeds that of the Nobel Prizes; Templeton felt, according to The Economist, that "spirituality was ignored" in the Nobel Prizes.[6] As of 2019, it is £1.1 million.[7] It has typically been presented by Prince Philip in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.[8]

The prize has been referred to as prestigious[9] and coveted,[10] with The Washington Post calling it the most prestigious award in religion.[11] Atheist scientists Richard Dawkins,[12] Harry Kroto[13] and Jerry Coyne have criticized the prize as "blurring [religion's] well-demarcated border with science" and being awarded "to scientists who are either religious themselves or say nice things about religion",[14] a criticism rejected by 2011 laureate Martin Rees, who pointed to his own and other laureates' atheism and that their research in fields such as psychology, evolutionary biology, and economy can hardly be classified as the "promotion of religion".[14]


Year Laureate Notes Ref(s)
Mother Teresa facing right
Mother Teresa Founder of the Missionaries of Charity; 1979 Nobel Peace Prize laureate [15]
Frère Roger in a group of people
Frère Roger Founder of the Taizé Community [16]
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Former President of India, advocate of non-aggression with Pakistan [16]
Cardinal L. Suenens.jpg
Leo Joseph Suenens Pioneer in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement [17]
Chiara Lubich, smiling, surrounded by other smiling people
Chiara Lubich Founder of the Focolare Movement [18]
1978 Thomas F. Torrance Former Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland [17]
Statue of Niwano.JPG
Nikkyō Niwano Co-founder of the Risshō Kōsei Kai [17]
1980 Ralph Wendell Burhoe Founder of the journal Zygon [19]
1981 Cicely Saunders Founder of the hospice and palliative care movement [20]
A black-and-white image of Billy Graham
Billy Graham Evangelist [21]
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn with his mouth open and lower teeth on show
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Soviet dissident novelist; Nobel laureate [21]
1984 Michael Bourdeaux Founder of the Keston Institute [16]
1985 Sir Alister Hardy Founder of the Religious Experience Research Centre [22]
1986 James I. McCord Former president, Princeton Theological Seminary [23]
Father Jaki June 2007.jpg
Stanley Jaki Benedictine priest; professor of astrophysics, Seton Hall University [21]
1988 Inamullah Khan Former secretary-general, Modern World Muslim Congress [24]
Carl Friedrich von Weizsaecker.jpg
Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Weizsäcker Physicist and philosopher [17][A]
1989 George MacLeod Founder of the Iona Community [25][A]
1990 Baba Amte Developer of modern communities for people suffering from leprosy [26][B]
1990 Charles Birch Emeritus professor, University of Sydney [27][B]
Immanuel Jakobovits.jpg
Immanuel Jakobovits, Baron Jakobovits Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and the Commonwealth [17]
1992 Kyung-Chik Han Evangelist and founder of Youngnak Presbyterian Church, Seoul. From northern Korea. [28]
Chuck Colson.jpg
Charles Colson Founder of the Prison Fellowship [16]
Michael Novak behind a lectern, speaking at the Foreign Press Center in Washington
Michael Novak Philosopher and diplomat [16]
Paul Davies.jpg
Paul Davies Theoretical physicist [29]
Bill Bright.jpg
Bill Bright Founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ [30]
1997 Pandurang Shastri Athavale Social reformer and philosopher, founder of the Swadhyay Movement [30]
1998 Sir Sigmund Sternberg Philanthropist; founder of the Three Faith Forum [16]
1999 Ian Barbour Former professor of science, technology and society, Carleton College [31]
Freeman Dyson.jpg
Freeman Dyson Theoretical and mathematical physicist, mathematician, and statistician [31]
2001 Arthur Peacocke Former dean, Clare College, Cambridge [32]
John Polkinghorne Physicist and theologian [16]
Holmes Rolston III.jpg
Holmes Rolston III Philosopher [33]
George F. R. Ellis Cosmologist and philosopher [34]
Charles Townes Nobel.jpg
Charles Hard Townes Nobel laureate and physicist [15]
John Barrow.jpg
John D. Barrow Cosmologist and theoretical physicist [35]
Charles Taylor giving a lecture at the New School in 2007
Charles Taylor Philosopher [12]
Michał Heller Physicist and philosopher [36]
Bernard D
Bernard d'Espagnat Physicist [37]
Dr. Ayala.jpg
Francisco J. Ayala Biologist [38]
Martin Rees at Jodrell Bank in 2007.jpg
Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow Cosmologist and astrophysicist [39]
Dalai Lama 1430 Luca Galuzzi 2007crop.jpg
14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso Spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, and 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate [40]
Desmond Tutu Nobel laureate, social rights activist and retired Anglican archbishop [41]
Tomas Halik.jpg
Tomáš Halík Roman Catholic priest, theologian, sociologist [42]
702524260 txjiQ-O.jpg
Jean Vanier Catholic theologian, humanitarian and founder of L'Arche and Faith and Light [43]
Jonathan Sacks Former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, philosopher, and scholar of Judaism [44]
Alvin Plantinga American scholar, philosopher, and writer [45]
King Abdullah portrait.jpg
Abdullah II of Jordan King of Jordan [46]
Marcelo Gleiser Brazilian physicist and astronomer, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College [47][48]
Francis Collins official photo.jpg
Francis Collins Geneticist and physician [49]
Jane Goodall Ethologist, activist and renowned chimpanzee researcher [50]
Frank Wilczek Theoretical physicist [51]


A. a Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker and Lord MacLeod of Fuinary were jointly awarded the prize in 1989.[52]
B. b Baba Amte and Charles Birch were jointly awarded the prize in 1990.[52]

See also



  1. ^ Online: https://templetonreligiontrust.org/areas-of-focus/
  2. ^ Waldrop, M. Mitchell (17 February 2011). "Religion: Faith in Science". Nature. 470 (7334): 323–325. Bibcode:2011Natur.470..323W. doi:10.1038/470323a. PMID 21331019.
  3. ^ Enman, Charles (8 July 2008). "Templeton Dies". Canada.com. Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2009.
  4. ^ Crewe, Daniel (15 March 2003). "Just Because Science Looks Forward, Religion Isn't Backward". The Times. London. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  5. ^ "Judges". Templeton Prize. West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania: Templeton Foundation. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Obituary – John Templeton". The Economist. London. 17 July 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Sir John Templeton, 1912–2008". Templeton Prize. West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania: Templeton Foundation. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  8. ^ Schneider, Nathan (3 June 2010). "God, Science and Philanthropy". The Nation. New York.
  9. ^ Dwyer, Colin (19 March 2019). "Marcelo Gleiser Wins Templeton Prize For Quest To Confront 'Mystery Of Who We Are'". NPR. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  10. ^ Overbye, Dennis (16 March 2006). "Math Professor Wins a Coveted Religion Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Dalai Lama wins Templeton Prize for work on science, religion". The Washington Post. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  12. ^ a b Jeffries, Stuart (8 December 2007). "Is That All There Is?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  13. ^ Connor, Steve (7 April 2011). "For the Love of God... Scientists in Uproar at £1m Religion Prize". The Independent. London. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b Jones, Dan (8 April 2011). "The Templeton Foundation Is Not an Enemy of Science". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b "US Scientist Wins Religion Prize". BBC News. 9 March 2005. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g Akbar, Arifa (15 March 2007). "Philosopher Wins £800,000 Award for Spiritual Focus". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  17. ^ a b c d e Templeton, John (1998). The Humble Approach: Scientists Discover God. Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press. pp. 170–172. ISBN 978-1-890151-17-1.
  18. ^ "Lubich, Chiara". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  19. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (16 May 1997). "Ralph Wendell Burhoe, 85; Reconciled Science and Faith". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  20. ^ Clark, David (2005). Cicely Saunders – Founder of the Hospice Movement: Selected Letters 1959–1999. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-19-856969-5.
  21. ^ a b c "British Physicist Wins Religious Prize". BBC News. 14 March 2002. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  22. ^ Hood, Ralph, Jr. (2003). The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach (3rd ed.). New York: Guilford Press. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-57230-116-0.
  23. ^ Berger, Joseph (27 February 1986). "Princeton Theologian Wins Templeton Prize of $250,000". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  24. ^ Steinfels, Peter (30 October 1988). "Religion Notes; Prize Winner, Accused of Bias, Collects Award". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  25. ^ MacLeod, George (1991). Ferguson, Ronald (ed.). Daily Readings with George Macleod. London: Fount. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-00-627513-8.
  26. ^ Pandya, Haresh (17 February 2008). "Baba Amte, 93, Dies; Advocate for Lepers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  27. ^ "Emeritus Professor Louis Charles Birch". Sydney: University of Sydney. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  28. ^ Brozan, Nadine (12 March 1992). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  29. ^ Niebuhr, Gustav (9 March 1995). "Scientist Wins Religion Prize of $1 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  30. ^ a b Niebuhr, Gustav (6 March 1997). "Leader of Spiritual Movement Wins $1.2 Million Religion Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  31. ^ a b Connor, Steve (23 March 2000). "£600,000 Prize for Physicist Who Urges Ethics in Science". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  32. ^ Niebuhr, Gustav (9 March 2001). "Religion Prize Won by Priest Much Involved with Science". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  33. ^ Sewell, Helen (19 March 2003). "Environmentalist Wins $1m Prize". BBC News. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  34. ^ Howse, Christopher (20 March 2004). "Sacred Mysteries". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  35. ^ "British Scientist Wins $1m Prize". BBC News. 15 March 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  36. ^ Hall, John (12 March 2008). "Cosmologist Wins World's Largest Monetary Award". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  37. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (16 March 2009). "Bernard d'Espagnat Wins £1m Templeton Prize". The Times. London. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
  38. ^ Dean, Cornelia (25 March 2010). "Biologist Wins Templeton Prize". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  39. ^ Satter, Raphael (6 April 2011). "UK Astrophysicist Wins $1.6 Million Religion Prize". ABC News. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  40. ^ "Dalai Lama Wins 2012 Templeton Prize". Philanthropy News Daily. 30 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  41. ^ "Archbishop Desmond Tutu Wins £1.1m Templeton Prize". BBC News. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  42. ^ Bingham, John (13 March 2014). "Czech Priest and Former Dissident Tomáš Halík Wins £1.1m Templeton Prize". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  43. ^ Blumberg, Antonia (19 June 2015). "For Jean Vanier, Templeton Prize Winner, Loving People With Disabilities Is A Religious Experience". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  44. ^ Cooper, Georgina (2 March 2016). "Former British Chief Rabbi Wins $1.5 Million Templeton Prize". Reuters. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  45. ^ Shortt, Rupert (2 May 2017). "Alvin Plantinga and the Templeton Prize". The Times Literary Supplement. London. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  46. ^ "King Announced 2018 Templeton Prize Laureate for Interfaith, Intrafaith Harmony Efforts". The Jordan Times. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  47. ^ "Current Winner". Templeton Prize. West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania: John Templeton Foundation. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  48. ^ "Brazilian Physicist Wins $1.4 Million Templeton Prize". Reuters. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  49. ^ "Francis Collins Awarded 2020 Templeton Prize". Templeton Prize. 20 May 2020. Retrieved 20 May 2020.
  50. ^ Sherwood, Harriet (20 May 2021). "Naturalist Jane Goodall wins 2021 Templeton prize for life's work". The Guardian.
  51. ^ Frank Wilczek Awarded 2022 Templeton Prize
  52. ^ a b "Previous Winners". Templeton Prize. West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania: Templeton Foundation. Retrieved 3 July 2007.


Further reading