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The Ebor Lectures 2019: Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ
Astronomy, God and the search for elegance
Wednesday 21 August
7.00pm in the Chapter House (South doors open at 6.15pm)
Costs: Free – booking required here
Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ – a Jesuit brother, Director of the Vatican Observatory and the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation – delivers a lecture discussing how scientific theories must do more than merely satisfy the data; they must do so in a way that is (to use a term much favored by mathematicians) “elegant.”
Kepler, Maxwell, and Einstein are examples of scientists who found that a sense of aesthetic “rightness” helped them to direct their scientific intuition toward theories that could then be expressed rationally, mathematically; theories that could then be tested against nature. By looking closely at a handful of astronomical images we’ll explore the way that one proceeds from an emotional appreciation of the beauty of the stars and planets, to a deeper understanding that satisfies both reason and emotion. Ultimately, this link between “elegance” and rational truth has profound theological implications
Brother Guy Consolmagno’s research studies meteorites and asteroids. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of six popular astronomy books. In 2014 he received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences.
The lecture is part of the 2019 Ebor Lecture series – see the full programme here.
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