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Peter Harrison

Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

Born in 1955 in Australia, Peter Harrison is an Australian Laureate Fellow and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He is an intellectual historian of the early modern period, particularly interested in the relationship between science, philosophy, and religion. Peter Harrison holds two doctorates: one a DLitt from the University of Oxford, the other a PhD from the University of Queensland. He holds master's degrees from Oxford and Yale. His first professorship was at Bond University on Australia’s Gold Coast, where he taught history and philosophy. He has been a visiting fellow at the universities of Yale and Princeton.

In 2003 the Government of Australia awarded him a Centenary Medal in 2003 in recognition of his contributions to the commonwealth. From 2007 to 2011 he was Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford (a position currently held by 2009 Gifford lecturer Alister McGrath). While at Oxford he was also a fellow of Harris Manchester College and Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre. He was a Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. His lectures were published in 2015 as The Territories of Science and Religion, which won the Aldersgate Prize.

Also in 2015, he became the inaugural director of the University of Queensland's Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. The year prior, the Australian Research Council named Peter Harrison one of two Laureate Fellows, awarding him $2.63 million to "examine the growth of science and technology in the West and determine how this was linked to a corresponding decline in the influence of religion" (quoted from the University of Queensland's news page). In 2019 Harrison delivered the Bampton Lecturers at the University of Oxford, where he continues to hold a Senior Research Fellowship at the Ian Ramsey Centre. Additionally, Harrison is a corresponding member of the International Academy of the History of Science and a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion.

Harrison has written eight books to date. They are: History without God? Historical Perspectives on Scientific Naturalism (2019); Narratives of Secularization (2017); The Territories of Science and Religion (2015); Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (2011); The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion (2010); The Fall of Man and Foundations of Science (2007); The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science (1998); and 'Religion' and the Religions in the English Enlightenment (1990). He is also the author of over a hundred articles and book chapters.