Andrew Briggs is Professor of Nanomaterials at the University of Oxford. He is Honorary Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society; Fellow of the Institute of Physics, and Fellow of St Anne’s College and of Wolfson College, Oxford. From 2002-2009, he directed the UK Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Quantum Information Processing. Current work in his laboratory develops machine learning for measuring and tuning quantum devices, with results that greatly exceed what is possible for humans. He has more than 600 publications, with over 27,000 citations. His book with Roger Wagner describing how science thrives in cultures concerned about the big questions of humanity has spawned a documentary film and a series for children. Human Flourishing: Scientific insight and spiritual wisdom in uncertain times is his most recent book. Co – authored with Michael Reiss, published by Oxford University Press in October 2021. The book explores the complementary roles of scientific insight and spiritual wisdom in the promotion of human flourishing.
The Penultimate Curiosity received an Honorable Mention in the 2019 Expanded Reason Awards.
The Penultimate Curiosity documentary film is now available on line for streaming.
All six books in The Curious Science Quest series have now been published by Lion Hudson: Cave Discovery, Greek Adventure, Rocky Road to Galileo, Hunt with Newton, Victorian Voyages and Modern Flights. Further information on this series.
Werner Herzog discusses The Penultimate Curiosity with Andrew Briggs and Roger Wagner at Chapman. Please click to watch.
- Review of The Penultimate Curiosity in the Interdisciplinary Encyclopaedia of Religion and Science [PDF]
It Keeps Me Seeking: The Invitation from Science, Philosophy & Religion
is a fresh look at how science contributes to the bigger picture of human flourishing, through a collage of science and philosophy, richly illustrated by the authors’ own experiences and personal reflections.
The Penultimate Curiosity: How Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions
When young children first begin to ask ‘why?’ they embark on a journey with no final destination. The need to make sense of the world as a whole is an ultimate curiosity that lies at the root of all human religions. It has, in many cultures, shaped and motivated a more down to earth scientific interest in the physical world, which could therefore be described as penultimate curiosity.
Why we are here and what does a good life consist of? Much of humanity still finds the ultimate answers to meaning and purpose in religion. But in countries across the globe, secular views are widely held. Whether religious or secular, individuals, communities and governments still have to make decisions about what people want from life. We examine what is meant by human flourishing and see what it has to offer for those seeking after truth, meaning and purpose.
Meet Harriet, Darwin’s pet tortoise, and Milton, Schrodinger’s indecisive cat, on a time-travelling quest of discovery. First Stop, the cave paintings drawn by our human ancestors. Did these pictures mean anything and what can they tell us about our ancestors?