Monday, November 17, 2014

The Pope's Astronomer

From Aleteia:
This week at the 46th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Scientists in Tucson, Arizona, Brother Guy Consolmagno will receive one of planetary science's most prestigious awards, the Carl Sagan Medal.  The award was created in 1998 in commemoration of astronomer Carl Sagan, whose popular TV series “Cosmos” helped to generate enthusiasm for science and for space travel.  The Sagan Medal “recognizes and honors outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public, and is awarded to scientists whose efforts have significantly contributed to a public understanding of, and enthusiasm for, planetary science.”

Brother Guy is the first religious brother to receive the Sagan Medal.  The American Astronomical Society, in announcing the award last July, said that Consolmagno "occupies a unique position within our profession as a credible spokesperson for scientific honesty within the context of religious belief."

Consolmagno is one of twelve Vatican astronomers. For two decades, he has served as curator of the Vatican's extensive meteorite collection.  He's been a worldwide lecturer, and is one of four Jesuits in history to have had an asteroid named after them—4597 Consolmagno, also known to scientists as “Little Guy.”

Consolmagno has authored or co-authored several books, including his most recent "Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial" as well as "Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope—And How to Find Them," "God's Mechanics: How Scientists and Engineers Make Sense of Religion," "The Heavens Proclaim: Astronomy and the Vatican," and "Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist." (Read more.)

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