Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 September 2004
In this paper I address C. A. Coulson's teaching activities, writing textbooks and delivering popular science lectures, as well as his popular lectures on religion and the ‘scientific’ sermons delivered in his capacity as a lay preacher of the Methodist Church. I will pay particular attention to his thoughts on science. His commitment to forging a way to reconcile science and religion was built upon a reflection on the aims and methods of science within the broader framework of science's role in post-Second World War society. By noting that Coulson valued chemistry, mathematics and science in general, as a kind of religious activity, I argue that he wrote masterful textbooks and delivered popular science lectures as lay sermons. These were activities which Coulson pursued energetically to build a community of science adepts and proselytes. And winning young, and indeed not so young, people to science meant teaching them one of the languages that could be used to reach God. In the same way, I extend my argument to his popular lectures on religion and his ‘scientific’ sermons and claim that they should be viewed as popular science lectures addressed to an audience that was often ignorant, or even suspicious, of science.