For millennia, humanity has found awe and wonder in contemplating the cosmos. Today, scientists use ever-evolving tools to push the boundaries of our knowledge of the universe and our place and purpose within it.
In our Mathematical and Physical Sciences funding area, we support research seeking to shed light on the fundamental concepts of physical reality. We also explore the interplay between these sciences and broader human experience.
What is the nature of the universe that we inhabit? What are the most fundamental, microscopic constituents of physical reality? How are physical systems more than “the sum of their parts?” How do these various ideas come together? The John Templeton Foundation is interested in fundamental questions in the mathematical and physical sciences and how they might converge to form a coherent picture of physical reality.
We also want to understand the roles and implications of the sciences within a wider context of human purposes. How do discoveries in the mathematical and physical sciences challenge our ways of thinking and reasoning? How do cultures, institutions, or societies impact how such research is conducted and vice versa? How can we further inspire awe and wonder at the unveiling of nature’s mysteries?
We seek projects that will conduct rigorous scientific research in one or more of:
- Quantum Foundations
- Complexity and Emergence
We are especially interested in research projects that touch on more than one of these themes.
We also prioritize projects which bring rigorous MPS research to bear on:
- Questions of human reasoning: Examples include but are not limited to: new perspectives on causality, the existence of objective reality(ies), what information or artificial intelligence can reveal about human cognition.
- Cultural and social perspectives: Examples include but are not limited to: how discoveries or advances are perceived by differing peoples, how the cultural background of scientists impacts the practice of science, the interplay between scientific institutions (organizations, collaborations, teams) and scientific practice, the impact of locating research facilities in particular cultural contexts.
- Inspiring awe and wonder: Examples include but are not limited to: public outreach about MPS which inspires awe and wonder, with a special emphasis on reaching those populations/demographics less engaged by conventional outreach methods; considering how awe and wonder animates practicing scientists; initiatives to encourage scientists to reflect on or reengage with feelings of awe and wonder.