The Pope’s chief star gazer is coming to Tayside to consider the astronomical proportions of the heavens.
Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Brother Guy Consolmagno is a Jesuit and the lead astronomer at the Vatican Observatory.
Known fondly as the ‘The Pope’s Astronomer’, Brother Consolmagno’s life and work are built on faith, yet he is happy to acknowledge “religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and close to reality”.
In 1989 he entered the Society of Jesus, and took vows as a brother in 1991.
On entry into the order, he was assigned as an astronomer to the Vatican Observatory, where he also serves as curator of the Vatican Meteorite collection, a position he has held since then.
He was named by Pope Francis as Director of the Vatican Observatory in September 2015.
Brother Consolmagno will lead a senior school event in the afternoon and speak at an evening event in the Dundee Science Centre on November 1.
The talk is being organised by Grasping the Nettle which was founded in 2015 with the stated aim of promoting respectful dialogue within the church and society at large about belief in God, particularly in relation to science.
Steering member Rev Martin Fair of St Andrew’s Church in Arbroath said: “Within that, our purpose is to challenge the myth that science and faith are incompatible and that science now answers all the ‘big questions,’ meaning that there is no further need for a religious faith perspective.
“The title of Brother Consolmagno’s talk is The History of Strange Ideas (including God?).
“It’s a talk designed to engage with those who exercise religious faith and with those who are unsure, or express no faith at all but are fascinated by the cosmos and the fundamental questions it causes us to ask.
“To date, much of what Grasping the Nettle has done has been based in the central belt.
“I have personally pushed for geographical expansion and so am delighted that Brother Consolmagno will be coming to Tayside.”
Brother Consolmagno trained at MIT and gained his PhD at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
He has taught at Harvard and alongside his work in astronomy has completed studies in philosophy and theology.
In 2014, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal by the American Astronomical Society for outstanding communication of planetary science to the public.
Tickets for the Dundee event can be booked online at www.graspingthenettle.org/dundee or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or 01241 431135.