Planetary Scientist and Papal astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno sj will visit Brisbane from October 13 – 17 on a lecture tour.
The American born Jesuit joined the Vatican Observatory in 1993 and has since balanced observational work, travel and lecture tours in between co-writing six books, the latest being “Would you baptize an extra-terrestrial?”
Before joining the Jesuits he completed undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Science and the Earth and Planetary Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A further PhD from University of Arizona equipped him with the credentials to lecture at Harvard and take up prestigious Chairs at Fordham University in New York and Loyola University campuses in Chicago and Baltimore.
The recent recipient of the 2014 Carl Sagan Award from the American Astronomical Society, he sits comfortably as both a man of faith and science.
In the citation for the Sagan Award the AAS said Br Consolmagno occupied a unique position within the profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief.
“As a Jesuit Brother, Guy has become the voice of the juxtaposition of planetary science and astronomy with Christian belief, a rational spokesperson who can convey exceptionally well how religion and science can co-exist for believers,” the AAS said.
It’s a belief Br Consolmagno himself has long adhered to.
Speaking to Astrobiology editor Henry Bortman in 2004 he indicated the church and science were not involved in a zero sum game.
“There’s also a sense that the Church, in modern times, wants to show the world that it’s not afraid of science, that it supports science, that it thinks science is a wonderful thing,” Br Consolmagno said.
“Not only to reassure the scientists, but also to reassure the religious people science is a good thing.
“Don’t listen to people who say you have to choose one or the other.
“It’s one of the things that makes us human and, for me, it’s one of the things that bring me into close personal touch with God.”
Br Consolmagno will speak to Assembly of Catholic Professionals at a CBD luncheon on Thursday 16th October, as well as presenting a free public lecture at QUT Kindler Theatre from 3.30pm on Friday 17th October.
The Assembly of Catholic Professionals can be contacted on 3324 3201.
Attendees to the QUT event should register before October 14 at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/brother-guy-consolmagno-galileo-and-galaxies-a-history-of-the-vatican-observatory-tickets-13061339819