Br Guy Diary: February 7

It's been a busy three weeks since my last diary...

Since my last diary entry, we had the Faith and Astronomy workshop; I've posted about that and I plan to have another post on the topic Real Soon Now.

The week of the FAW, I came down with that cold that's been going around, so that by Friday I was threatened with laryngitis and saw a doctor... because I had a big talk to give on the following Monday. As a result, I really was giving a talk on steroids! It was the opening lecture of the University of Arizona's College of Science annual series, this year on Life in the Universe. A link to my talk can be found here... I am told that eventually it will be uploaded to YouTube, with links to the podcasts on our lecture series website, Facebook, etc.

Apparently they had a crowd of 800... in the overflow room! And another 2300 folks at Centennial Hall. Pretty good turnout, I guess.

Following up on that talk, I spoke at the U of Arizona Newman Center on Wednesday evening and then prepared to hear the preview of Brian Enquist's talk, which will be given on February 9.

Sunday, I spoke to a crowd of about 300 at St. Thomas the Apostle parish in Tucson. Monday, I flew to Charlotte, and Tuesday spoke at the local Synagogue's annual interfaith series, whose topic this year was Faith and Science. Wednesday I flew to Cleveland, drove to Erie, spoke at Gannon University. Thursday I drove to Akron and spoke at Walsh Jesuit High School; Friday's talk was at the Akron First Friday Club; and I got back to Tucson on Saturday, just in time to have dinner with friends in town here for the annual Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.

All the talks went well, all the snowstorms (I dodged three) managed to occur at times that did not disrupt my travel. And the various honoraria I received raised a nice lump of cash for the Foundation. (If only I could do that well every week...)

On the other hand, I realized as I spoke to the class of 2015 at Walsh Jesuit High School, that my presence to them would have been like having at my senior class of 1970 U of Detroit Jesuit High, someone speaking from the class of 1925. Ouch.

Br. Guy Consolmagno

About Br. Guy Consolmagno

Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ is Director of the the Vatican Observatory and President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. A native of Detroit, Michigan, he earned undergraduate and masters' degrees from MIT, and a Ph. D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona; he was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps (Kenya), and taught university physics at Lafayette College before entering the Jesuits in 1989.

At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, his research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies, observing Kuiper Belt comets with the Vatican's 1.8 meter telescope in Arizona, and applying his measure of meteorite physical properties to understanding asteroid origins and structure. Along with more than 200 scientific publications, he is the author of a number of popular books including Turn Left at Orion (with Dan Davis), and most recently Would You Baptize an Extraterrestial? (with Father Paul Mueller, SJ). He also has hosted science programs for BBC Radio 4, been interviewed in numerous documentary films, appeared on The Colbert Report, and for more than ten years he has written a monthly science column for the British Catholic magazine, The Tablet.

Dr. Consolmagno's work has taken him to every continent on Earth; for example, in 1996 he spent six weeks collecting meteorites with a NASA team on the blue ice regions of East Antarctica. He has served on the governing boards of the Meteoritical Society; the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (of which he was chair in 2006-2007); and IAU Commission 16 (Planets and Satellites). In 2000, the small bodies nomenclature committee of the IAU named an asteroid, 4597 Consolmagno, in recognition of his work. 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.

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