The Vatican’s chief astronomer is to deliver the 2023 Heriot-Watt University Chaplaincy Annual Public Lecture at the university’s Riccarton campus in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Brother Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory, will deliver the free lecture entitled, “From Peru to Mars: New Worlds and Jesuit Science” on Monday 6 February, from 7pm-9pm at the James Watt Centre at Heriot-Watt University.
The Vatican Observatory, which is based near Rome in the village of Castel Gandolfo, is one of the world’s oldest active astronomical observatories, with its roots going back to 1582. It operates its own state-of-the-art telescope; has one of the world’s largest meteorite collections and has been making important contributions to science and astronomy for 400 years.
Faith and science are often seen as polar opposites – but scientists in the church have played an important role in bringing the two together.
Brother Guy has degrees in planetary science from the University of Arizona and Massachusetts Institute of Technology and leads a team of 12 astronomers from four continents. Brother Guy and many of his team are Jesuits, a religious order of priests and brothers in the Catholic church who work in areas including education and research.
In the Heriot-Watt Chaplaincy lecture, Brother Guy will explore the work of Jesuit scientists through history, including José de Acosta – a 16th century Spanish Jesuit missionary and naturalist who wrote one of the first detailed studies of Latin America – and Angelo Secchi, a 19th century Jesuit scientist who built the first electromechanical device to automatically record meteorological data.
Brother Guy said: “We will explore what these Jesuit scientists did and why – up to modern research at the Vatican Observatory. Faith and science are often seen as polar opposites – but scientists in the church have played an important role in bringing the two together.”
Reverend Jane Howitt, University Chaplain at Heriot-Watt, said: “We are thrilled that Brother Guy can join us for our annual Chaplaincy lecture to share some of the fascinating science and history behind the Vatican Observatory.”
The Chaplaincy on Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Campus exists to promote spiritual and social wellbeing. It is open to everyone – both students and staff – from all backgrounds and cultures. People of all faiths and no religious faith are welcome.
The Chaplaincy Annual Public Lecture is one of the main events in the Heriot-Watt University calendar.
The lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served from 1815.
This lecture will be interpreted into British Sign Language (BSL)
To attend this event in person, please register via Eventbrite by Thursday 2 February 2023: