February 22, 2010


Vatican astronomer on God and Galileo

Emory celebrated Galileo’s birthday Feb. 15 with a talk by Vatican astronomer Brother Guy Consolmagno. He discussed the circumstances leading up to Galileo’s trial by the Catholic Church, for championing the idea of a sun-centered solar system.

Consolmagno said he does not see a conflict between his roles as a scientist and a cleric. “God invites me to play in the universe,” he explained. “He sets up a puzzle, and I play the game by solving the puzzle, and then he sets up another one.”

Today’s powerful telescopes gives us stunning images from deep space, but many people have not experienced the wonder of taking in the night sky in all its detailed glory, Consolmagno said. “Because of light pollution, I suspect many of the undergraduates in this room have never seen the Milky Way, which is a real tragedy.”

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