George F.R. Ellis, a South African mathematics professor who opposed the racist ideology of apartheid, has been named the 2004 winner of the $1.4 million US Templeton Prize, an international award given to those pursuing progress in religion. The prize is awarded by the John Templeton Foundation, whose mission “is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise.”
Mr. Ellis, 64, a professor at the University of Cape Town, was honoured for his advocacy of balancing the faith and hope of religion with the rationality of science. This, he said, was something borne in large part by his own involvement in South Africa’s peaceful transformation from a racially-segregated state to a multi-racial democracy.