Human Flourishing: Scientific insight and spiritual wisdom in uncertain times

2023 ISSR book prize winner.

‘One of the most striking developments in work on science and religion in recent years has been the increasing focus, not just on how science and religion relate to each other, but on how they each contribute to human flourishing. Briggs and Reiss have provided an excellent and much-needed conceptual framework for understanding “human flourishing”, and how scientific developments and spiritual wisdom contribute to it. They take us through the different dimensions of human flourishing (material, relational and transcendent); the pillars of human flourishing (truth, meaning, and purpose), and discuss how all this is working itself out in different aspects of the contemporary world. Their writing is accessible and gripping, full of striking anecdotes and pithy summaries of scientific research.’ (Professor Fraser Watts, Executive Secretary of the International Society for Science and Religion)

‘A careful and thoughtful provocation’ (Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury)

‘A hopeful guide to meaningful lives’ (Sir Paul Collier, Blavatnik School of Government)

Ambitiously placed at the intersection of scientific insights and spiritual wisdom, Human Flourishing prompts us to reflect on what constitutes a good life and the choices that can help achieve it.

For thousands of years, humans have asked ‘Why we are here?’ and ‘What makes for a good life?’ At different times, different answers have held sway. Nowadays, there are more answers proposed than ever. Much of humanity still finds the ultimate answers to such questions in religion. But in countries across the globe, secular views are widely held. In any event, whether religious or secular, individuals, communities and governments still have to make decisions about what people get from life.

This book therefore examines what is meant by human flourishing and see what it has to offer for those seeking after truth, meaning and purpose. This is a book written for anyone who wants a future for themselves, their children, and their fellow humans – a future that enables flourishing, pays due consideration to issues of truth and helps us find meaning and purpose in our lives.

At a time when most of us are bombarded with messages about what we should or should not do to live healthily, attain a work-life balance and find meaning, a careful consideration of the contributions of both scientific insight and spiritual wisdom provides a new angle. This is therefore a book that not only helps readers clarify their views and see things afresh but also help them improve their own well-being in an age of AI and other new technologies.

It Keeps Me Seeking: The Invitation from Science, Philosophy & Religion

Andrew Briggs, University of Oxford; Hans Halvorson, Princeton University; Andrew Steane, University of Oxford
It Keeps Me Seeking is a fresh look at how science contributes to the bigger picture of human flourishing, through a collage of science and philosophy, richly illustrated by the authors’ own experiences and personal reflections. They survey the territory of fundamental physics, machine learning, philosophy of human identity, evolutionary biology, miracles, arguments from design, naturalism, the history of ideas, and more.

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Visit Oxford University Press.

  • Review of It Keeps Me Seeking in the Paradigm Explorer [PDF]
  • Review of It Keeps Me Seeking in the Times Higher Education [PDF]
  • Review of It Keeps Me Seeking in the Church of England Newspaper [PDF]
  • Review of It Keeps Me Seeking in The Tablet [PDF]

book cover

Curiosity Science Quest series

Start your curious quest today!

Meet Harriet, Darwin’s pet tortoise, and Milton, Schrodinger’s indecisive cat, on a time-travelling quest of discovery.  First Stop, the cave paintings drawn by our human ancestors.  Did these pictures mean anything and what can they tell us about our ancestors?

The Curious Science Quest looks at the evidence to answer the BIG questions that scientists have asked throughout history. But does science explain everything or can faith help to find the answers? Join a fun, fact-filled time-quest and remember to brings some snacks!

Curious Science Quest is a series of six books co-authored by Julia Golding, Andrew Briggs and Roger Wagner to engage a younger audience with the questions of science, curiosity and ultimate reality.

“the brilliant and entertaining illustrations in this series enliven the clear and enjoyable text that should stimulate serious thought about the world and our place in it.”  – Lord Martin Rees

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Review from Parents in Touch


This excellent series is an engaging blend of fact and fiction, which blends the two seamlessly to give really good reads. Darwin’s pet tortoise, Harriet, and Schrodinger’s cat, Milton, are on a quest to discover the links between science and religion. This time, they travel back to Victorian times, to the time when scientists, including, of course, Darwin, were searching for facts about the origin of life. Many famous scientists feature and the scientific facts are clearly explained. Activities draw children into the story and encourage them to think things through for themselves. Well written, an exciting adventure which explains science and shows children how enquiring minds can influence the way the world thinks.


This book brings the time travelling duo’s adventures up to date, as they look at radioactivity, evolution, space and other modern discoveries. Good use is made of lively line drawings, to explain facts further as well as to make the book visually appealing; these are a real feature of the book, really enhancing understanding. There are some nice touches of humour in both text and illustrations. Children are drawn into the subject through questions and engaging activities, such as extracting DNA from strawberries. An excellent series to stimulate children’s scientific thinking and to encourage them to reason. Such a shame these are the last two books in the series.

The Penultimate Curiosity: How science swims in the slipstream of ultimate questions

When young children first begin to ask ‘why?’ they embark on a journey with no final destination. The need to make sense of the world as a whole is an ultimate curiosity that lies at the root of all human religions. It has, in many cultures, shaped and motivated a more down to earth scientific interest in the physical world, which could therefore be described as penultimate curiosity.

These two manifestations of curiosity have a history of connection that goes back deep into the human past. Tracing that history all the way from cave painting to quantum physics, this book (a collaboration between a painter and a physical scientist that uses illustrations throughout the narrative) sets out to explain the nature of the long entanglement between religion and science: the ultimate and the penultimate curiosity.

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The Penultimate Curiosity received an Honorable Mention in the 2019 Expanded Reason Awards.

Interview with Andrew Briggs.

The Penultimate Curiosity documentary film is now available on line for streaming.

All six books in The Curious Science Quest series have now been published by Lion Hudson:  Cave DiscoveryGreek Adventure, Rocky Road to Galileo, Hunt with Newton, Victorian Voyages and Modern Flights.  Further information on this series.

Werner Herzog discusses The Penultimate Curiosity with Andrew Briggs and Roger Wagner at Chapman. Please click to watch.

Acoustic Microscopy


Acoustic microscopy enables you to image and measure the elastic properties of materials with the resolution of a good microscope. By using frequencies in the microwave range, it is possible to make the acoustic wavelength comparable with the wavelength of light, and hence to achieve a resolution comparable with an optical microscope. The contrast gives information about the elastic properties and structure of the sample. Since acoustic waves can propagate in materials, acoustic microscopy can be used for interior imaging, with high sensitivity to defects such as delaminations. Solids can support both longitudinal and transverse acoustic waves. At surfaces a combination of the two known as Rayleigh waves can propagate, and in many circumstances these dominate the contrast in acoustic microscopy. Contrast theory accounts for the variation of signal with defocus, V(z). Acoustic microscopy can image and measure properties such as anisotropy and features such as surface boundaries and cracks. A scanning probe microscope can be used to detect ultrasonic vibration of a surface with resolution in the nanometre range, thus beating the diffraction limit by operating in the extreme near‐field. This 2nd edition of Acoustic Microscopy has a major new chapter on the technique and applications of acoustically exited probe microscopy.

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