This term sees Gopal Gupta from Boise Idaho, USA, arriving at OCHS to pursue an MSt in Science and Religion. In recognition of his excellent work to date, the University of Oxford have awarded him a full Clarendon Fund Scholarship to support his studies at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. The highly sought-after Clarendon Scholarship, which is given to encourage scholarship in important and often ground-breaking fields, covers the fees for Gopal's Masters and Doctoral degrees in the emergent field of Science and Hinduism.
Gopal comes to Oxford fresh from having completed BA and MA degrees at Boise State University, Idaho at the age of 19. Achieving straight A's there, his Master's work focused primarily on Artificial Intelligence, winning him the United States Achievement Academy National Engineering Collegiate Award. But throughout that period, in addition to excelling in the area of Engineering, in his own time Gopal has kept up extensive studies in Hindu theology and philosophy. Not surprisingly given his eclectic background, he developed an interest in the relationship between Science and contemporary Hindu thought.
"There are two great forces that influence people," says Gopal, "science and religion". "These two disciplines have inspired the world's greatest individuals, events, and architecture. It behooves us to see how they work together. The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies is a wonderful asset to the field. One of the most fascinating and enduring issues in the modern world, is the relationship between scientific thought and religious belief. The Centre provides me with an opportunity to explore the relationship between science and religion in ancient and contemporary India."
"Hinduism's wisdom in science and cosmology are largely hidden to the world. Yet Hinduism's contributions to science are magisterial in scope, rich in detail and intellectually stimulating. I hope that my time here at Oxford will provide me an opportunity to delve deeper into this subject and make it more accessible to the modern world."
Gopal is following in the footsteps of his brother Ravi Gupta, who graduated from Oxford and the OCHS two years ago. He is now teaching Hinduism at the University of Florida and looking forward to the publication of his thesis in the OCHS Routledge Hindu Studies book series. We look forward to discovering the insights about Hindu culture that both Gopal and Ravi will have to share with us in the coming years.