Stanley L. Jaki, OSB (August 17, 1924, Győr, Hungary – April 7, 2009, Madrid) was a Hungarian Benedictine priest and Distinguished Professor of Physics at Seton Hall University, New Jersey since 1975. He was a leading thinker in the philosophy of science, theology, and on issues where the two disciplines meet and diverge.
After completing undergraduate training in philosophy, theology and mathematics, Jaki did graduate work in theology and physics and gained doctorates in theology from the Pontifical Institute of Sant'Anselmo in Rome (1950), and in physics from Fordham University (1958), where he studied under the Nobel laureate Victor Hess, the co-discoverer of cosmic rays. He also did post-doctoral research in Philosophy of Science at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Princeton University and Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.
Jaki authored more than two dozen books on the relation between modern science and orthodox Christianity. He was Fremantle Lecturer at Balliol College, Oxford (1977), Hoyt Fellow at Yale University (1980) and Farmington Institute Lecturer at Oxford University (1988–1989). He was the Gifford Lecturer at Edinburgh University in 1974-75 and 1975-76. In 1987, he was awarded the Templeton Prize for furthering understanding of science and religion.
He was also among the first to claim that Gödel's incompleteness theorem is relevant for theories of everything (TOE) in theoretical physics. Gödel's theorem states that any theory that includes certain basic facts of number theory and is computably enumerable will be either incomplete or inconsistent. Since any 'theory of everything' will certainly be consistent, it must be either incomplete or unable to prove basic facts about the integers.
|“||It is on the ultimate success of such a quest [for a TOE] that Gödel's theorem casts the shadow of judicious doubt. It seems on the strength of Gödel's theorem that the ultimate foundations of the bold symbolic constructions of mathematical physics will remain embedded forever in that deeper level of thinking characterized both by the wisdom and by the haziness of analogies and intuitions. For the speculative physicist this implies that there are limits to the precision of certainty, that even in the pure thinking of theoretical physics there is a boundary present, as in all other fields of speculations.||”|
—(1966). The Relevance of Physics. Chicago Press. p. 129.
Jaki died on April 7, 2009 in Madrid (Spain) following a heart attack. He was in Spain to visit friends on his way back to the USA, after delivering lectures in Rome, for the Master in Faith and Science of the Pontificio Ateneo Regina Apostolorum.
- 1966. The Relevance of Physics. University of Chicago Press.
- 1969. Brain, Mind and Computers. Herder & Herder.
- 1969. The Paradox of Olbers' Paradox. Herder & Herder.
- 1973. The Milky Way: an Elusive Road for Science. New York: Science History Publications.
- 1974. Science and Creation: From Eternal Cycles to an Oscillating Universe. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.
- 1978. Planets and Planetarians. A History of Theories of the Origin of Planetary Systems. John Wiley & Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.
- 1978. The Road of Science and the Ways to God. Univ. of Chicago Press, and Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. ISBN 0-226-39145-0
- 1978. The Origin of Science and the Science of its Origins. Scottish Academic Press.
- 1980. Cosmos and Creator. Scottish Academic Press. ISBN 0-7073-0285-4
- 1983. Angels, Apes and Men. La Salle IL: Sherwood, Sugden & Co. ISBN 0-89385-017-9
- 1984. Uneasy Genius. The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem. The Hague: Nyhoff.
- 1986. Chesterton, a Seer of Science. University of Illinois Press.
- 1986. Lord Gifford and His Lectures. A Centenary Retrospective. Edinburgh: Scottish Academis Press, and Macon, GA.: Mercer University Press.
- 1986. Chance or Reality and Other Essays. Lanham, MD: University Press of America & Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
- 1988. The Absolute Beneath the Relative and Other Essays. Lanham, MD: University Press of America & Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
- 2000 (1988). The Savior of Science. W. B. Eerdmans. ISBN 0-8028-4772-2
- 1989. Miracles and Physics. Front Royal. VA.: Christendom Press. ISBN 0-931888-70-0
- 1989. God and the Cosmologists. Regnery Gateway Inc.; Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.
- The Purpose of it All (alternate title for God and the Cosmologists)
- 1990. The Only Chaos and Other Essays. Lanham MD: University Press of America & Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
- 1991. Scientist and Catholic, An Essay on Pierre Duhem. Front Royal VA: Christendom Press.
- 1998 (1992) Genesis 1 Through the Ages. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.
- 1996. Bible And Science. Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press. ISBN 0-931888-63-8
- 1999. God and the Sun at Fatima. Royal Oak, MI: Real View Books. ISBN 1-892548-C4-6
- 2000. The Limits of a Limitless Science and Other Essays. Intercollegiate Studies Institute. ISBN 1-882926-46-3
- 2000. Christ and science. Real View Books.
- 2001. Praying the Psalms, A Commentary, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 2001), ISBN 978-0802847713
- 2002. A Mind's Matter: An Intellectual Autobiography. Eerdmans: Grand Rapids. ISBN 0-8028-3960-6
- 2004. And On This Rock: Witness Of One Land & Two Covenants. Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press. ISBN 0-931888-68-9
- 2008. Hail Mary, full of grace: A Commentary. New Hope, KY: Real View Books. ISBN 978-1-892539-06-9
- Weber, Bruce (April 12, 2009). "The Rev. Stanley L. Jaki, Physicist and Theologian, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
- Cf. Jaki's "A Late Awakening to Gödel in Physics"
- Death of Rev. Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B.
- A selection re Jaki from Haffner, Paul, 1996 (Spring), "The Pope's Physicist," Sursum Corda 66-73.
- Web page maintained by Father Jaki's publisher.
- Website devoted to Jaki's work.
- Archive of Stanley Jaki articles at Intercollegiate Studies Institute"
- "Brain, Mind and Computers". Stanely L. Jaki. JASA 24 (March 1972): 12-17. (Peer-review commentary from Richard H. Bube).
- "No Other Options". Stanely L. Jaki. JASA 24 (September 1972): 127. (Response to R.H.Bube's commentary.)