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Michał Heller

Michał Kazimierz Heller, (March 12, 1936 in Tarnów) is a professor of philosophy at the The Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, Poland, and an adjunct member of the Vatican Observatory staff. He also serves as a lecturer in the philosophy of science and logic at the Theological Institute in Tarnów. A Roman Catholic priest belonging to the diocese of Tarnów, Dr. Heller was ordained in 1959.



Michał Heller graduated from the Catholic University of Lublin, where he earned a master's degree in philosophy in 1965 and a Ph.D. in cosmology in 1966.

After beginning his teaching career at Tarnów, he joined the faculty of the Pontifical Academy of Theology in 1972 and was appointed to a full professorship in 1985. The recipient of an honorary degree from the Technical University of Cracow, he has been a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium and a visiting scientist at Belgium’s University of Liège, the University of Oxford, the University of Leicester, Ruhr University in Germany, The Catholic University of America, and the University of Arizona among others. Dr. Heller is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

His current research is concerned with the singularity problem in general relativity and the use of noncommutative geometry in seeking the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics. He has published nearly 200 scientific papers not only in general relativity and relativistic cosmology, but also in philosophy and the history of science and science and theology and is the author of more than 20 books. In his most recent volume, Is Physics an Art? (Biblos, 1998), he writes about mathematics as the language of science and also explores such humanistic issues as beauty as a criterion of truth, creativity, and transcendence.

In March 2008, Heller was awarded the $1.6 million USD (£820,000) Templeton Prize for his extensive philosophical and scientific probing of "big questions." His works have sought to reconcile the "known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God."[1]

Heller plans on spending the prize money on the establishment of a research institute named after Nicholas Copernicus aimed at reconciling science and theology.

Commenting on this award of the Templeton Prize, Heller said:

"If we ask about the cause of the universe we should ask about the cause of mathematical laws. By doing so we are back in the great blueprint of God’s thinking about the universe; the question on ultimate causality: why is there something rather than nothing? When asking this question, we are not asking about a cause like all other causes. We are asking about the root of all possible causes. Science is but a collective effort of the human mind to read the mind of God from question marks out of which we and the world around us seem to be made."[2]

Further reading

  • The Origins of Time, in: The Study of Time IV, ed. by J.T. Fraser, N. Lawrence, D. Park, Springer Verlag, New York-Heidelberg-Berlin 1981, pp. 90-93.
  • D.J. Raine, M. Heller, The Science of Space-Time, Pachart Publishing House, Tucson 1981.
  • Encountering the Universe, Pachart Publishing House, Tucson 1982.
  • Questions to the Universe - Ten Lectures on the Foundations of Physics and Cosmology, Pachart Publishing House, Tucson 1986.
  • The World and the Word - Between Science and Religion, Pachart Publishing House, Tucson 1986.
  • Theoretical Foundations of Cosmology - Introduction to the Global Structure of Space-Time, World Scientific, Singapore-London 1992.
  • The New Physics and a New Theology, in: G.V. Coyne, S. Giovannini, T.M. Sierotowicz, Vatican Obserwatory Publications, 1996.
  • Lemaître, Big Bang and the Quantum Universe, Pachart, Tucson, 1996.
  • Creative Tension, Templeton Foundation Press, Philadelphia - London, 2003, ISBN 1932031340
  • Algebraic Self-Duality as the "Ultimate Explanation", Foundations of Science, 9, 2004, 369-385.
  • Some Mathematical Physics for Philosophers, Pontifical Council for Culture, Pontifical Gregorian University, Vatican City-Rome, 2005.

See also


External links



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