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Adventures of a Vatican Scientist

Saturday, September 22, 2018
10:00am to 11:30am
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What does a scientist's work represent: objectivity, intuition or another all-too-human foible? Both a Jesuit brother and a planetary scientist, Br. Guy Consolmagno, the director of the Vatican Observatory, explores the connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies, while purposefully reflects on the human dimension of his scientific work. His research and Vatican affiliation have sent him around the world several times to dozens of countries and every continent (including a meteorite hunting expedition to Antarctica). In this talk, he will share some of those adventures, and reflect on the larger meaning of our common experience as scientists... not only what we do, but why we do it.

The event will begin with the talk by Br Consolmagno followed by an extended Q/A session with the audience. Light refreshment will be provided after the program. 


Speaker Bio:
Guy Consolmagno SJ is a brother in the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus, working since 1993 as an astronomer and meteorite specialist at the Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory), located in the Papal summer gardens outside Rome. Since 2014 he has been president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, which supports the work of the Observatory and especially its 1.8 meter Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) in Arizona, and in September, 2015 he was named Director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope Francis.

Consolmagno's research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of a number of popular books including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis), and most recently, Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (with Paul Mueller). He also has hosted science programs for BBC Radio 4, been interviewed in numerous documentary films, and writes a monthly science column for the British Catholic magazine, The Tablet.

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Consolmagno earned two degrees from MIT and a doctorate in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona, was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps (Kenya), and taught university physics at Lafayette College before entering the Jesuits in 1989. He has served as chair of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences (AAS/DPS) and on the planetary surfaces nomenclature committee of the International Astronomical Union (IAU); asteroid 4597 Consolmagno was named in recognition of his work. In 2014 he won the Carl Sagan Medal for public outreach by the AAS/DPSs.


For more information, please contact Graduate Christian Fellowship by phone at 6263956974 or by email at [email protected].