It’s not every day that the Pope’s astronomer comes to UVa-Wise, but when he does, it’s an opportunity to hear him lecture about baptizing extraterrestrials that one cannot afford to miss.
Brother Guy Consolmagno, director of the Vatican Observatory, will discuss on March 31 the importance of creating a duality between science and faith and reasoning that people of faith can believe in science.
The lecture will be based from the book “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?” that he coauthored with Vatican scientist Father Paul Mueller.
The idea of the book was inspired by a question Pope Francis asked in order to evoke a deeper thought process on the inconclusiveness and diversity of the Church; “Imagine if a Martian showed up, all big ears and big nose like a child’s drawing, and he asked to be baptized. How would you react?”
The book has been praised for allowing readers the ability to process and interpret intricate information and theories of faith and science in a direct, easily understandable form.
Consolmagno graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the age of 23 with a master’s degree in planetary science. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in 1978.
Along with three degrees in planetary science, Consolmagno has also studied theology and philosophy.
In 1983, after teaching at Harvard College Observatory and MIT, Consolmagno joined the Peace Corps and taught astronomy and physics in Kenya for two years. In 1991 he vowed as a Brother for the Society of Jesus and was assigned to be an astronomer for the Vatican Observatory.
Pope Francis named him the director of the Vatican Observatory in Sept. 2015.
Consolmagno’s lecture – part of the Colgate Darden Lecture Series – will be in the David J. Prior Convocation Center on March 31 at 7 p.m.