Nevill Mott – God Who Responds to Prayers!

Augustine Pamplany CST

Nevill Mott (1905-1996) was a British Physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977 for his contribution to the magnetic and electrical properties of noncrystalline semiconductors. He did his Master’s Degree in Physics from Cambridge University and was Professor of Physics at University of Bristol. He had been the president of the International Union of Physics from 1951 to 1957. He was married to Ruth Eleanor Horder, and they had two daughters, Elizabeth and Alice.

Unlike many other scientists who considered God to be a Cosmic Power or Principle or Order, Mott had faith in a personal God. He states in Reminiscences and Appreciations: “I believe in God, who can respond to prayers, to whom we can give trust and without whom life on this earth would be without meaning (a tale told by an idiot). I believe that God has revealed Himself to us in many ways and through many men and women, and that for us here in the West the clearest revelation is through Jesus and those that have followed him.”

He believed in Christ’s Resurrection to be the most supreme miracle. “The miracles of human history are those in which God has spoken to men. The supreme miracle for Christians is the Resurrection. Something happened to those few men who know Jesus, which led them to believe that Jesus yet lived, with such intensity and conviction that this belief remains the basis of the Christian Church two thousand years later.”

As regards the relationship between science and religion he hoped that science can purify religion in several ways: “Science can have a purifying effect on religion, freeing it from beliefs from a pre-scientific age and helping us to a truer conception of God.” At the same time he was an outspoken champion of the limits of science: “I am far from believing that science will ever give us the answers to all our questions.” In 1991, he edited a volume titled, Can Scientists Believe in God, in which he writes, “I believe, too, that neither physical science nor psychology can ever ‘explain’ human consciousness…. To me, then, human consciousness lies outside science, and it is here that I seek the relationship between God and man.”

He believed that laws of nature are fundamental to God and they are never broken. “God works, I believe, within natural laws, and, according to natural laws.”

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