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Vatican Astronomer Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Next Speaker in Saint Vincent College Threshold Series March 11

Public Relations
Posted: Wednesday Feb 6, 2013

Feb. 6, 2013

Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J., the official Vatican astronomer and curator of the Vatican’s extensive meteorite collection in Castel Gandolfo, will be the next presentation in the Saint Vincent College Threshold Series at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 11 in the Performing Arts Center of the Robert S. Carey Student Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College.

The lecture will be introduced by Dr. John Smetanka, professor of astronomy and vice president for academic affairs.

In conjunction with the lecture, an open house will be held in the newly-completed Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion from 4 to 7 p.m. Visitors are welcome to come to campus early and tour the classroom, laboratories and offices of the $39 million pavilion which houses the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing. A special presentation will be given in the Angelo Taiani Planetarium and Astronaut Exhibit. Complimentary snacks and beverages will be available in the Atrium.

Admission is free to both the lecture and the open house but reservations are required. Persons requesting tickets should send their name, address, daytime phone (include area code) and number of tickets requested for the open house or the lecture to the Threshold Box Office at threshold@stvincent.edu. All reservations will be confirmed by return email. Please note that tickets will be held at the box office for pickup upon arrival for the presentation; no tickets are mailed in advance.

Br. Guy’s research explores the connections between meteorites and asteroids, and the origin and evolution of small bodies in the solar system. In 1996, he spent six weeks collecting meteorites with an NSF-sponsored team on the blue ice of Antarctica, and in 2000 he was honored by the IAU for his contributions to the study of meteorites and asteroids with the naming of Asteroid 4597 Consolmagno.

Br. Guy was born in 1952 in Detroit, Michigan. He obtained his bachelor of science degree in 1974 and master of science degree in 1975 in earth and planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in planetary science from the University of Arizona in 1978. From 1978-80 he was a post-doctoral fellow and lecturer at the Harvard College Observatory, and from 1980-1983 continued as post-doc and lecturer at MIT.

In 1983 he left MIT to join the U.S. Peace Corps, where he served for two years in Kenya teaching physics and astronomy. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1985 he became an assistant professor of physics at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he taught until his entry into the Jesuit Order in 1989. He took vows as a Jesuit brother in 1991 and studied philosophy and theology at Loyola University, Chicago, and physics at the University of Chicago before his assignment to the Vatican Observatory in 1993.

In spring 2000 he held the MacLean Chair for Visiting Jesuit Scholars at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, and in 2006-2007 held the Loyola Chair at Fordham University, New York. He has also been a visiting scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center and a visiting professor at Loyola College, Baltimore, and Loyola University, Chicago.

Br. Guy has served on the governing boards of the Meteoritical Society; the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Division III, Planetary Systems Science (secretary, 2000 - present) and Commission 16, Moons and Planets (president, 2003-2006); and the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (chair, 2006-2007).

He has co-authored five astronomy books: Turn Left at Orion (with Dan M. Davis; Cambridge University Press, 1989); Worlds Apart (with Martha W. Schaefer; Prentice Hall, 1993); The Way to the Dwelling of Light (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998); Brother Astronomer (McGraw Hill, 2000); and God's Mechanics (Jossey-Bass, 2007). He also edited The Heavens Proclaim (Vatican Observatory Publications, 2009).

Saint Vincent College established the Threshold Lecture Series in 1981 when the Kennametal Foundation of Latrobe made a substantial grant to the College for the creation of an ongoing series of lectures and cultural events.

Previous Threshold speakers have included Carl Sagan; a Time magazine panel consisting of Hugh Sidey, Strobe Talbott and John Stacks; Amitai Etzioni; Alvin Toffler; Dixy Lee Ray; Donald Johanson; Isaac Asimov; Claire Bloom; Lawrence Stone; Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.; Alex Haley; Robert Claiborne; Arthur B. Laffer; Richard E. Morley and William A. Taylor; May Sarton; Mark Littman; Jehan Sadat; Tom Wolfe; Michael Kammen; Martin E. Marty; Lt. General James A. Abrahamson; Seymour M. Hersh; Stephen F. Cohen; Joyce Carol Oates; Estelle R. Ramey; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick; Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B.; Ralph Nader; Daniel Callahan; Robert Jarvik; John E. Chubb; John Noble Wilford; Ronald A. Morse; Thomas Sowell; Michael Medved; Jane Bryant Quinn; Harold S. Kushner; James Q. Wilson; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.; James Burke; Bernard S. Siegal; Peter B. Dervan; Milton Katselas; Bill Moyers; Peter Stearns; Dean Ornish; Mary Pipher; Robert Munsch; Herbert S. Benson; Michael Turner; Susan Stamberg; Mike Jensen; Archduke Rudolph of Austria; Roger Cossack; Stanley Hauerwas; Regina Carter; Heinz-Joachim Fischer; Jonathan Kozol; Gilbert Meilaender; John Haught; Richard Louv; Steven Strogatz; Robert Putnam; Jerome Oetgen; Benjamin Zander; Colleen Carroll Campbell; Neil deGrasse Tyson; Arthur T. Downey; Jere Longman; Douglas A. Anderson and John Spike.

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Photo: Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J. 

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