Professor Mark Harris

Professor of Natural Science and Theology


As a physicist working in a theological environment, I'm interested in the complex ways that science and religion relate to each other. Active in physics for many years, I'm known (with Steve Bramwell of University College London) as the discoverer of 'spin ice', currently a major research area in the physics of magnetism. By the end of 2018, more than 6,000 journal articles had been published on the topic since our original discovery in 1997. But a little after this breakthrough, I also discovered theology, and began to broaden my interests beyond magnetism. After ordination as an Anglican priest, and spells in university chaplaincy at Oxford, and cathedral ministry in Edinburgh, I now combine my academic interests in physics and theology by running the Science and Religion programme at Edinburgh, which includes both MSc and PhD degrees. My research interests include the relationship between the physical sciences (especially physics) and theology, and the impact of science on modern views of the Bible, especially in thinking on miracles and divine action. I am currently working on a book project on naturalism (the philosophical basis for the natural sciences), and the ways that historical debates on naturalism in earth science provide a new way of looking at miracles.