Vatican’s Planetary Scientist to Visit Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Jameson Pietrowski clearly remembers his parents taking him to the Cranbrook Science Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan as a young boy. He’d place his eye in the lens of the telescope and gazed into the night sky to see the glow of Mars and Jupiter’s Galilean moons.

Jameson Pietrowski clearly remembers his parents taking him to the Cranbrook Science Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan as a young boy. He’d place his eye in the lens of the telescope and gazed into the night sky to see the glow of Mars and Jupiter’s Galilean moons. This is when his love for astronomy began. On one of Pietrowski visits, a Vatican scientist named Brother Guy Consolmagno discussed his profession as a scientist and sold copies of his book “Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist.

“It was not until my freshman year of college that I actually read my copy of ‘Brother Astronomer,’” said Pietrowski, a senior at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach. Pietrowski is majoring in Mechanical Engineering. “I enjoyed reading the book. It certainly planted a seed; the thought of finding God in my everyday life.”

Now years later, Pietrowski will have another opportunity to see Brother Consolmagno again. The Jesuit brother is known as “The Pope’s Astronomer” and was named by Pope Francis to be the Director of the Vatican Observatory in September 2015. He will be the keynote speaker at an event on March 2 at 7 p.m. at Embry-Riddle titled “Cosmology, Science and Faith.” Brother Consolmagno is a planetary scientist who studies meteorites and asteroids. He has worked as an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory since 1993.

“It is a perfect fit to have Brother Guy on our campus,” said Reverend David Keck, a Presbyterian Minister who is a Campus Minister at ERAU. “Many of our students struggle with how to be both a believer and a scientist. For a number of reasons, Christians probably have the greatest problem reconciling their science and their faith. Catholic teaching is very helpful in this regard, especially given the Church’s emphasis on natural law.”

Keck says he is delighted to have Brother Consolmagno since it will give an opportunity to learn more about a distinctive Catholic perspective and give a broader approach on faith that is common to all Christians. 

With over 200 scientific publications, Brother Consolmagno is also the author of “Turn Left at Orion” and his most recent “Would you baptize an Extraterrestrial?”
For Pietrowski, reading Brother Consolmagno’s “Brother Astronomer” influenced his perspective on life and faith.

“When I was a freshman questioning everything from my faith to my major was constant. But there was some peace in realizing God could not only be in our campus’ Tabernacle, but part of the revelations in the classrooms and lab,” said Pietrowski. “In ‘Brother Astronomer,’ Consolmagno makes this case that Science and Religion are not adversaries, but companions; and the act of these discoveries, is also the act of furthering our look into God’s Creation. Looking into God’s creation can be another form of Prayer.”

“Cosmology, Science and Faith” is part of the Embry-Riddle Speaker Series. Reverend Keck will also speak and will present an ecumenical perspective on glorifying God by understanding God’s creation.

EVENT DETAILS

WHAT:

“Cosmology, Science and Faith” a Catholic perspective by Brother Guy Consolmagno, Director of the Vatican Observatory and an ecumenical perspective by Presbyterian minister Reverend David Keck

WHEN: Wednesday, March 2 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m

WHERE: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Willie Miller Instructional Center, Gale Lemerand Auditorium, Daytona Beach Campus, 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach.

Event is free. For more information www.erau.edu/speakers