Tributes to Derek Burke, former Vice-Chancellor of UEA
Many tributes have been paid to Professor Derek Burke CBE, who died recently, aged 89. He was a former Vice-Chancellor of UEA and a committed Christian.
Professor Burke had a distinguished research career in molecular biology before serving as Vice-Chancellor of the UEA from 1987-1995. Throughout his life, he was anxious to promote a constructive dialogue between science and religion. With a special interest in social responsibility in science, he served on a wide range of government committees concerned with genetic modification and its implications for the production of food.
Following his retirement from UEA, he became an Associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge. He also served as a member of the Board of Social Responsibility of the Church of England. He was the National President of Christians in Science from 1999–2001.
In 2008, the Bishop of Thetford, David Atkinson, asked Professor Burke and others from UEA to set up a discussion group to explore the interactions between Science and Faith. Starting from a small cluster meeting in his own home, the group gradually developed into a community called Science and Faith in Norfolk (SFN), with a regular programme of lectures and discussions.
Professor Burke also helped to establish an annual series of Science-Faith Lectures at Norwich Cathedral. These lectures continue to serve as a forum to explore important scientific issues from a Christian perspective. In recent years, SFN has developed close links with the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion in Cambridge. In 2016, they jointly organised a one-day workshop with over 100 participants at the Cathedral Hostry.
With his scientific background and his close association with UEA, Professor Burke has been a leading voice encouraging the Diocese and the Cathedral to forge links with the scientific community in Norfolk. Among other things, this has led to the imminent visit of Dippy the Dinosaur to Norwich Cathedral in July 2020.
There is further information about Professor Derek Burke on the website of the Faraday Insititute for Science and Religion in Cambridge.