Francisco Ayala was the winner of the 2010 Templeton Prize ($1.5 million), the largest individual prize, and always in the area of “contributing to life’s spiritual dimension” Ayala was ordained a Dominican priest in Spain in 1960. He left the priesthood a year later because of the intellectual repression in Spain under Franco. He came to the United States and enrolled at Columbia University in the doctoral program without a working knowledge of English. Despite this he was awarded a Ph.D in 1964. His thesis was a proof that rates of evolution depend on the genetic variation of a species. Ayala is quoted: “If they are properly understood [science and religion] they cannot be in contradiction because science and religion concern different matters, and each is essential to human understanding.”
His major questions are: ” Does scientific knowledge contradict religious belief?” and “Is morality derived from biological evolution?” In his career he has published over 1000 papers and 40 books – an enormous body of work.
Dr.Ayala was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. During that time he initiated the “Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion.”
Dr. Ayala joins other Templeton Prize winners Mother Teresa, Brother Roger of Taize, Cardinal Suenens, Billy Graham and Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn.
Further information on the Templeton Prize and Dr. Ayala can be found at: www.templetonprize.org/currentwinner.html