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Director of the Vatican Observatory U.S. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno to Speak at King University and St. Anne Catholic Church on Nov. 16

BRISTOL, Tenn., Nov. 3, 2015 – On Monday, Nov. 16, the King University Institute for Faith and Culture will welcome U.S. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, newly appointed director of the Vatican Observatory. Brother Consolmagno will begin the day by speaking in King University’s Memorial Chapel at 9:15 a.m., in Bristol, Tenn. He will then speak at 7 p.m. in St. Anne Catholic Church located in Bristol, Va. The event is co-sponsored by the Bristol Herald Courier.

“We are excited to have Brother Guy Consolmagno as one of this year’s King Institute speakers, as he has promoted the conversation between faith and culture in innovative and intriguing ways not seeing science and Christianity opposed to one another, but in concert together,” says Shannon Harris, interim director of the King University Institute for Faith and Culture.

Brother Guy J. Consolmagno’s appointment as the new director of the Vatican Observatory was announced by the Vatican on Sept. 18, 2015. He is a planetary scientist who has studied meteorites and asteroids as an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory since 1993. In an article in America Magazine, The National Catholic Review, Pope Francis commented how “[Brother Consolmagno] . . . recognized the importance of communicating with the rest of the world how the church and its priests ‘embrace, encourage, and promote authentic science,’ adding that it was ‘very important’ his papal astronomers keep sharing their scientific knowledge with others, ‘freely giving that which you freely have received.’”

Dr. Ray Bloomer, professor of Physics and Astronomy Emeritus, describes Brother Consolmagno’s work. “Guy Consolmagno has established a strong publication record in the study of meteorites and planetary sciences and, at the same time, has written and spoken publically to lay audiences making astronomy more accessible and more exciting than anyone in my recent memory. As a Jesuit brother and a Ph.D. research scientist, his clear and engaging writing easily connects the spiritual and the scientific so smoothly that his writings are hard to put down.”

Brother Consolmagno received his Bachelor of Science in 1974 and Master of Science in 1975 in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona in 1978. From 1978-80, he was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at the Harvard College Observatory, and from 1980-1983 continued as postdoc and lecturer at MIT. Brother Consolmagno also served in the U.S. Peace Corps, teaching physics at the University of Nairobi; and was a physics professor at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, before entering the Jesuits as a Brother in 1989.

Since 1993, Brother Consolmagno has served at the Vatican Observatory as an astronomer and curator of meteorites, and in September 2014, he became president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. In addition to his continuing professional work in planetary science, he has also studied theology and philosophy. As Dr. Bloomer points out, “the American Astronomical Society recently awarded Guy the Sagan Medal (November 11, 2014). They recognized his ‘outstanding communication by an active planetary scientist to the general public.’ His service as president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation and now director of the Vatican Observatory is because of his excellent science and his great faith. Few have made the connection so vividly.”

Brother Consolmagno has written numerous books including the popular “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?: . . . and Other Questions from the Astronomers' In-box at the Vatican Observatory” (Image, Oct. 2014), which he co-authored with Paul Mueller, SJ. Other books Consolmagno authored include “Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them” (Cambridge University Press, 4th Edition, Nov. 2011), and “Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist” (McGraw-Hill, 1st Edition, Feb. 2000).

Brother Guy Consolmagno will speak in King University’s Memorial Chapel at 9:15 a.m. in Bristol, Tenn., and again that evening at 7 p.m. at Saint Anne Catholic Church in Bristol, Va. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://faithandculture.king.edu or contact Dr. Shannon Harris at svharris@king.edu, 423-652-4836, or 423-747-3524.

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