It is with a terribly heavy heart that I write to tell you that Ian Barbour died on December 24th. Ian suffered a stroke at home in Northfield on Friday, Dec. 20th, and remained in a coma at Abbott Northwestern Hospital until his death. He was 90 years old. Ian came to Carleton in 1955 with the founding of the Religion department. In the 1970's, he co-founded of the Science, Technology, and Public Policy program at Carleton, which has since become ENTS (Environment and Technology Studies). He retired in 1986 as the Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology and Society.
Ian is widely credited with creating the contemporary field of science and religion. With his degrees in Theology and Physics, Ian explored the theological implications of science and methodological issues in both fields. He wrote or edited sixteen books. From 1989 to 1991, he gave the Gifford Lectures in Scotland, and in 1999, Ian was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize.
Ian left not only a wide and deep intellectual legacy, but also one of great kindness and generosity. He taught generations of Carleton students, gently opening new worlds of thought for them in contemporary theology, religion's intersection with science, sustainable technology, and environmental ethics. Despite his international academic reputation, Ian was generous with his time and concern. He was a humble man of deep faith, finding awe and wonder in the natural world, and great love and joy in his family and friends.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 18th, at 3 p.m., at Carleton's Skinner Memorial Chapel with a reception following in Great Hall. Remembrances of Ian may be left in the comments below. The family's obituary is available on the Bierman Funeral Home's website.
Ian will be deeply missed by so many people. Please hold all of Ian's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
In sorrow and faith,
Carleton College Chaplain
Media coverage of Ian's passing:
Los Angeles Times/St. Paul Pioneer Press: Ian Barbour dies at 90; academic who bridged science-religion divide
Star Tribune: Ian Barbour, pioneer in integrating faith and science
Huffington Post: Leading Scholar of Science and Religion Passes Away