Episode: Episode 2: Br. Guy Consolmagno: The Vatican Astronomer


STEM-Talk Logo
Subscribe
Episode 2: Br. Guy Consolmagno: The Vatican Astronomer

Guy Consolmagno is not your typical scientist. The director of Vatican Observatory is also a Jesuit Brother, astronomer extraordinaire, MIT graduate, former Peace Corp volunteer and self-described science fiction geek.

The second-generation Italian-American, born in Detroit, now divides his time between the Vatican Observatory in Italy and the Mount Graham International Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.

In 2014, Brother Guy received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society for his unique position as a scientist and man of faith, and he believes firmly that the scientific and spiritual inquiry are more complementary than conflictual.

Consolmagno is the author of several books about astronomy, and science and faith, including most recently, “Would You Baptize an Extra-terrestrial?” He also authored “God’s Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion,” and gave a lecture at IHMC on that topic. That lecture can be found on YouTube at https://youtu.be/MJGsdY2bcsk

In another IHMC lecture, Brother Guy discusses “Discarded Worlds: Astronomical Ideas that Were Almost Correct”: https://youtu.be/Gr0R5oiIoak

Brother Guy writes for a blog called the Catholic Astronomer, which can be found at www.vofoundation.org/blog

STEM-Talk co-host Tom Jones, a former NASA astronaut who shares Brother Guy’s love of astronomy—as well as the same MIT thesis advisor, John Lewis—interviews Brother Guy about his life-long journey to understand the universe and the role of faith in that pursuit.

Introducing this podcast episode is host Dawn Kernagis and IHMC CEO Ken Ford.

1:15: The Vatican Observatory is in a town outside of Rome called Castel Gandolfo, which is also the Pope’s summer residence. Ford and his wife Nancy first met Brother Guy there a few years ago.

3:52: A day in the life of Brother Guy in Rome: after his 6 a.m. wake-up call, he works until the Italian coffee break at 10 a.m., then goes back to work until the big meal of the day at 1:30 p.m., which is followed by an afternoon siesta. In late afternoon, he spends an hour of prayer walking in the gardens, followed by Mass. Then he works again until 9 or 10 p.m., responding to emails from America.

4:44: “It’s a full day, but it’s almost like getting two days of work in,” Brother Guys says of his daily routine. “It’s exhilarating because it reminds me of all the different worlds I get to live in.”

5:07: A “Sputnik kid,” Brother Guy was in kindergarten when the Soviets launched the first satellite into the earth’s orbit. He was a high school senior when NASA astronauts landed on the moon. “How could you not be crazy about astronomy and science?”

6:18: Brother Guy followed his best friend to MIT for college. “I discovered MIT had weekend movies, and pinball machines, and the world’s largest collection of science fiction, and I knew I had to go there.”

6:55: At MIT, he studied geology, quickly discovering meteorites. “From then on meteorites were where my heart was. I never looked back.”

7:36: Astronomy reminded Brother Guy about “bigger things than what’s for lunch”; and also our human intellectual capacity to puzzle about these things.

7:52: Since the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church has backed the study of astronomy at universities, Brother Guys says. “In those days, understanding how universe works was a way of understanding how the creator works.”

9:01: In 1891, Pope Leo XIII established the Vatican Observatory to show that the church supported science. This came during a politically-charged atmosphere of anti-clericalism in France and Italy, based in part on the church’s opposition to the fashionable science of eugenics.

9:45: “You can’t do science without faith,” Brother Guy says. This means that you must have a positive world view to sustain scientific inquiry—in other words, “not think people are inherently evil.”



STEM-Talk
Users who viewed this episode also viewed...

STEM-Talk > Episode 20: Dr. Alessio Fasano discusses the gut microbiome and how it affects our health

When Alessio Fasano entered medical school at the University of Naples (Italy) School of Medicine, his goal was to eliminate childhood diarrhea. Working with a mentor who’d studied the physiology of the gut, Fasano decided to focus on the microorganisms that cause diarrhea. That opened up his world to specialize in overall gut health, and Fasano became a leading expert in celiac disease and gluten-related disorders...

STEM-Talk > Episode 2: Br. Guy Consolmagno: The Vatican Astronomer

Guy Consolmagno is not your typical scientist. The director of Vatican Observatory is also a Jesuit Brother, astronomer extraordinaire, MIT graduate, former Peace Corp volunteer and self-described science fiction geek. The second-generation Italian-American, born in Detroit, now divides his time between the Vatican Observatory in Italy and the Mount Graham International Observatory in Tucson, Arizona...

STEM-Talk > Episode 16: Joan Vernikos discusses the effects of gravity on humans in space and on earth.

If you want to feel like an astronaut, lie in bed all day. That may seem counter-intuitive, but the body experiences the two scenarios in a similar way. The absence of gravity in space mimics the affects of lying down flat—and not using gravity to our physiological advantage. Gravity expert Joan Vernikos talked about this and other insights on how gravity affects us, in this episode of STEM-Talk, hosted by Dawn Kernagis and Tom Jones...
Comments (0)

Login or Sign up to leave a comment.

Log in
Sign up

Be the first to comment.