Vatican Astronomer to Speak at SHU

News Story: March 30, 2007

Guy J. Consolmagno Reaches for Stars and Deeper Understanding of Life

A Vatican astronomer who explores connections between meteorites, asteroids and the origin and evolution of small solar system bodies will bring his expertise to the Sacred Heart University campus on Wednesday, March 21st.

Guy J. Consolmagno, S.J., a Jesuit brother who believes in the need for science and religion to work alongside one another rather than as competing ideologies, will deliver a lecture titled “Astronomy, God and the Search for Elegance,” at 3:30 p.m. in University Commons. The event is presented by the University’s Hersher Institute for Applied Ethics and is open to the public free of charge.

“By looking closely at a handful of images, we’ll explore the way that one proceeds from an emotional appreciation of the beauty of the stars and planets to a deeper understanding that satisfies both reason and emotion,” said Consolmagno, a research astronomer and planetary scientist who has worked at the Vatican Observatory since 1993.

Consolmagno serves as curator of the Vatican meteorite collection, one of the largest in the world. Among his publications are four books: a popular telescope guide, Turn Left at Orion (with Dan M. Davis; Cambridge University Press, 1995); a planetary sciences textbook, Worlds Apart (with Martha W. Schaefer; Prentice Hall, 1993); a book describing modern physics for a church-going layperson, The Way to the Dwelling of Light (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998); and Brother Astronomer, Adventures of a Vatican Scientist (McGraw Hill, 2000).

Consolmagno obtained a Master of Science degree in 1975 in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in 1978. From 1978-80 he was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at the Harvard College Observatory. In 1983 he joined the U.S. Peace Corps to serve in Kenya for two years, teaching astronomy and physics.
Consolmagno, who has also studied philosophy and theology, divides his time between Tucson, Arizona, and Italy, observing asteroids and Kuiper Belt comets with the Vatican's 1.8 meter telescope.