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News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — The Vatican is celebrating the big-bang theory. That's not as out of this world as it sounds. The Vatican Observatory has invited some of the world's leading scientists and cosmologists to talk black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities as it honors a Jesuit cosmologist considered one of the fathers of the idea that the universe began with a gigantic explosion. The May 9-12 conference honoring Monsignor George Lemaitre is being held at the Vatican Observatory, founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to help correct the notion that the Roman Catholic Church was hostile to science. The perception has persisted in some circles since Galileo's heresy trial 400 years ago. The head of the observatory, Brother Guy Consolmagno, says you can believe in both God and the big-bang theory.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

FILE - In this April 15, 2011 file photo, Brother Guy Consolmagno, a Jesuit astronomer at the Vatican's Observatory, right, shows to visitors the Globe of planet Mars from the collection of the Specola Vaticana. The Vatican Observatory has invited leading scientists and cosmologists to talk black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities as it honors Monsignor George Lemaire, a Jesuit cosmologist considered one of the fathers of the idea that the universe began with a gigantic explosion. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is celebrating the big-bang theory. That's not as out of this world as it sounds. The Vatican Observatory has invited leading scientists and cosmologists to talk black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities as it honors the late Jesuit cosmologist considered one of the fathers of the idea that the universe began with a gigantic explosion. The Tuesday-Friday conference honoring Monsignor George Lemaitre is being held at the Vatican Observatory, founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to help correct the notion that the Roman Catholic Church was hostile to science. The perception has persisted in some circles since Galileo's heresy trial 400 years ago, even though the observatory and Catholic universities around the globe have produced top-notch science over the centuries. In 1927, Lemaitre was the first to explain that the receding of distant galaxies was the result of the expansion of the universe, a result he obtained by solving equations of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Lemaitre's theory was known as the "primeval atom," but it is more commonly known today as the big-bang theory. "He understood that looking backward in time, the universe should have been originally in a state of high energy density, compressed to a point like an original atom from which everything started," according to a press release from the Observatory. The head of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, says Lemaitre's research proves that you can believe in God and the big-bang theory. "Lemaitre himself was very careful to remind people — including Pope Pius XII — that the creative act of God is not something that happened 13.8 billion years ago. It's something that happens continually," Consolmagno said Monday. Believing merely that God created the big bang means "you've reduced God to a nature god, like Jupiter throwing lightning bolts. That's not the God that we as Christians believe in," he said. Christians, he said, believe in a supernatural God who is responsible for the existence of the universe, while "our science tells us how he did it."


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is celebrating the big-bang theory. That's not as out of this world as it sounds. The Vatican Observatory has invited leading scientists and cosmologists to talk black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities as it honors the late Jesuit cosmologist considered one of the fathers of the idea that the universe began with a gigantic explosion. The Tuesday-Friday conference honoring Monsignor George Lemaitre is being held at the Vatican Observatory, founded by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to help correct the notion that the Roman Catholic Church was hostile to science. The perception has persisted in some circles since Galileo's heresy trial 400 years ago, even though the observatory and Catholic universities around the globe have produced top-notch science over the centuries. In 1927, Lemaitre was the first to explain that the receding of distant galaxies was the result of the expansion of the universe, a result he obtained by solving equations of Einstein's theory of general relativity. Lemaitre's theory was known as the "primeval atom," but it is more commonly known today as the big-bang theory. "He understood that looking backward in time, the universe should have been originally in a state of high energy density, compressed to a point like an original atom from which everything started," according to a press release from the Observatory. The head of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, says Lemaitre's research proves that you can believe in God and the big-bang theory. "Lemaitre himself was very careful to remind people — including Pope Pius XII — that the creative act of God is not something that happened 13.8 billion years ago. It's something that happens continually," Consolmagno said Monday. Believing merely that God created the big bang means "you've reduced God to a nature god, like Jupiter throwing lightning bolts. That's not the God that we as Christians believe in," he said. Christians, he said, believe in a supernatural God who is responsible for the existence of the universe, while "our science tells us how he did it."


SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will be the featured speaker at Santa Clara University’s 166th undergraduate commencement ceremony. Undergraduate commencement will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 17, at Santa Clara University’s Buck Shaw Stadium. Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California’s Poet Laureate, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown. As the state Poet Laureate, Herrera created the i-Promise Joanna Project, an anti-bullying poetry project inspired by an elementary school girl who was bullied and killed in an after-school fight in Long Beach, California. "By honoring Mr. Herrera, we celebrate how the arts enrich the spirit and express our desires for justice. Mr. Herrera has emphasized the need to speak boldly, in aesthetic terms, of our search for that justice in a world torn by injustice. His life and work are profound expressions that call for the inclusion of those who are on the margins of society,” said Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh, S.J. Herrera writes passionately about social issues and is a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth. His work has been known to cross genres, even into opera and dance theatre. “Back in 1962, as a beginning middle-schooler, I visited the campus of Santa Clara University with Padre Rasura from Logan Heights Barrio in San Diego. It was an idyllic paradise, palms and skies and adobe-colored, cinnamon-scented structures,” said Juan Felipe Herrera. “For decades I recalled it and mused over its magic, a tender time of discovery. Soon, I will return, more than half a century later, and offer words of gratitude and celebration for the next generation, designers of new skies, the poetic kind, filled with heart, the kind that moves you forward to continue with joy for all.” Herrera is the author of 30 books, including collections of poetry, prose, short stories, young adult novels and picture books for children. Born in Fowler, California in 1948 to migrant farmworker parents, he moved around often, living in tents and trailers along the road in Southern California, and attended school in a variety of small towns from San Francisco to San Diego. In 1972 Herrera graduated from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology, then attended Stanford University, where he received a master’s degree in social anthropology. He later pursued a Master’s of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1990. Herrera has received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, the University of California at Berkeley, the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, the Stanford Chicano Fellows Program, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2016, he was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement. He has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and served as chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at CSU-Fresno. He recently retired from the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside, and lives in Fresno, California with his partner, the poet and performance artist, Margarita Robles. At the undergraduate commencement, the University will confer an honorary degree on Herrera as well as on Mike and Mary Ellen Fox, dedicated Catholic philanthropists, and Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., director of the Vatican Observatory. Santa Clara University School of Law will hold its 2017 commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 20 at 9:30 a.m. in the University’s Mission Gardens. Leon Panetta, who served as United States Secretary of Defense, CIA director and an eight-term member of Congress during his 50-year career, will be the featured speaker. A separate commencement ceremony for students receiving advanced degrees from Santa Clara University’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries; the School of Engineering; the Leavey School of Business, and the School of Education and Counseling Psychology will be held Friday, June 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Buck Shaw Stadium. Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.


News Article | January 30, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

ROME—If you think faith and science can’t share common ground, think again. Experts in both realms met last week at the Vatican Observatory to prove their theory that you can’t have one without the other. “If you have no faith in your faith, that is when you will fear science,” said Brother Guy Consolmagno the Vatican’s chief astronomer, whose works include such titles as “Would you Baptize an Extraterrestrial?” Brother Consolmagno led the three-day conference called Black Holes, Gravitational Waves and Spacetime Singularities at the Vatican Observatory’s Castel Gandolfo labs outside of Rome, the former papal summer residence that is remote enough to allow for clear stargazing with minimal light pollution. He challenged astronomers, cosmologists. and other experts in the field who also believe in God to “come out” and talk about the intersection of faith and fact. What he ended up with are talks like, “The Internal Structure of Spinning Black Holes” and “The Big Bang and its Dark-Matter Content: Whence, Whither, and Wherefore.” Not once in the whole program does the word “God” or “religion” even appear, which is rare for a conference sponsored by the Vatican. The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences is also absent from the scene, although it has sponsored similar events in the past to try to sort out the murky waters between hard facts and blind faith. The academy’s chancellor, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, told The Daily Beast in 2013 that the two are not mutually exclusive. “If we don't accept science, we don't accept reason,” said Sánchez, “and reason was created by God." On the question of climate science and climate change, Pope Francis is not only convinced, he’s vehement. After the election of Donald Trump’s climate-change-skeptic administration last year, the pope noted that politicians had “reacted weakly” to the needs of humanity on this score and deplored “the ease with which well-founded scientific opinion about the state of our planet is disregarded.” Clearly, the Church has come a long way since it condemned Galileo as a heretic during the Inquisition. Pope Francis is not the hard-core creationist some of his predecessors were (and many Evangelicals in America are). In 2014, he told a Pontifical Academy of Sciences conference not to always take the Bible literally. “When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magician, with a magic wand able to make everything,” Francis said. “But it is not so.” “The Big Bang, which nowadays is posited as the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine act of creating, but rather requires it,” Francis said at the time. “The evolution of nature does not contrast with the notion of Creation, as evolution presupposes the creation of beings that evolve.” In fact, it was Father Georges Lemaître, a Roman Catholic priest, who is credited with coming up with the first scientific equations and the “primeval Atom” that led to what we now know as the “Big Bang Theory” in the first place. The Vatican Observatory conference also honors his legacy. Lemaître, a Belgian who moonlighted as an astrophysicist, published an article in a scientific journal in about it in 1927, two years before Edwin Hubble gained widely accepted fame for the theory. Lemaître had called his version a “cosmic egg,” which never really caught on. He was forced to straddle a tightrope in 1951 when Pope Pius XII started confusing Lemaître’s work with the Gospel, saying that the Big Bang actually represented the moment of God’s creation which, as any good Catholic knows from Catechism, took place in a matter of in six days, with God resting on the seventh day, the Sabbath, and that’s why most of us get Sundays off. Lemaître never published his research again after that that. “This fear of science people talk about is a myth,” Father Gabriele Gionti, one of the conference organizers said. “Lemaître always made a distinction between the beginnings of the universe and its origins. The beginning of the universe is a scientific question to date with precision when things started. The origin of the universe, however, is a theologically charged question that has nothing at all to do with a scientific epistemology.” Brother Consolmagno is perhaps more open to interpretation. The MIT-trained head of the Vatican Observatory believes that science and faith don’t always have to overlap. “God is not a scientific explanation,” he told Religion News Service. “If you are using God instead of science to explain what happens in the world you are talking about the gods of the Romans and Greeks. We believe in a God that creates outside space and time and shows us everything he did. We experience God as a person, as a god of love.” At the end of the conference, Pope Francis told those who gathered not to fear the truth about what’s really out there. “I am deeply appreciative of your work, and I encourage you to persevere in your search for truth,” he said. “For we ought never to fear truth, nor become trapped in our own preconceived ideas, but welcome new scientific discoveries with an attitude of humility.”


News Article | October 26, 2016
Site: spaceref.com

Our Milky Way has a densely populated centre -- a feature common to many galaxies, but unique in that it is close enough to study in depth. A team led by Dante Minniti (Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile) and Rodrigo Contreras Ramos (Instituto Milenio de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile) used observations from the VISTA infrared survey telescope, as part of the Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) ESO public survey, to carefully search the central part of the Milky Way. By observing infrared light, which is less affected by cosmic dust than visible light, and exploiting the excellent conditions at ESO's Paranal Observatory, the team was able to get a clearer view of this region than ever before. They found a dozen ancient RR Lyrae stars at the heart of the Milky Way that were previously unknown. Our Milky Way has a densely populated centre -- a feature common to many galaxies, but unique in that it is close enough to study in depth. This discovery of RR Lyrae stars provides compelling evidence that helps astronomers decide between two main competing theories for how these bulges form. RR Lyrae stars are typically found in dense globular clusters. They are variable stars, and the brightness of each RR Lyrae star fluctuates regularly. By observing the length of each cycle of brightening and dimming in an RR Lyrae, and also measuring the star's brightness, astronomers can calculate its distance [1]. Unfortunately, these excellent distance-indicator stars are frequently outshone by younger, brighter stars and in some regions they are hidden by dust. Therefore, locating RR Lyrae stars right in the extremely crowded heart of the Milky Way was not possible until the public VVV survey was carried out using infrared light. Even so, the team described the task of locating the RR Lyrae stars in amongst the crowded throng of brighter stars as "daunting". Their hard work was rewarded, however, with the identification of a dozen RR Lyrae stars. Their discovery indicate that remnants of ancient globular clusters are scattered within the centre of the Milky Way's bulge. Rodrigo Contreras Ramos elaborates: "This discovery of RR Lyrae Stars in the centre of the Milky Way has important implications for the formation of galactic nuclei. The evidence supports the scenario in which the bulge was originally made out of a few globular clusters that merged." The theory that galactic bulges form through the merging of globular clusters is contested by the competing hypothesis that these bulges are actually due to the rapid accretion of gas. The unearthing of these RR Lyrae stars -- almost always found in globular clusters -- isvery strong evidence that the Milky Way bulge did in fact form through merging. By extension, all other similar galactic bulges may have formed the same way. Not only are these stars powerful evidence for an important theory of galactic evolution, they are also likely to be over 10 billion years old -- the dim, but dogged survivors of perhaps the oldest and most massive star cluster within the Milky Way. [1] RR Lyrae stars, like some other regular variables such as Cepheids, show a simple relationship between how quickly they change in brightness and how luminous they are. Longer periods mean brighter stars. This period-luminosity relationship can be used to deduce the distance of a star from its period of variation and its apparent brightness. This research was presented in a paper to appear in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The team is composed of D. Minniti (Instituto Milenio de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile; Departamento de Física, Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile; Vatican Observatory, Vatican City State, Italy; Centro de Astrofisica y Tecnologias Afines - CATA), R. Contreras Ramos (Instituto Milenio de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Instituto de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile), M. Zoccali (Instituto Milenio de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Instituto de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile), M. Rejkuba (European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, Germany; Excellence Cluster Universe, Garching, Germany), O.A. Gonzalez (UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, UK), E. Valenti (European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, Germany), F. Gran (Instituto Milenio de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile; Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Instituto de Astrofísica, Santiago, Chile) ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world's most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It is supported by 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope, the world's most advanced visible-light astronomical observatory and two survey telescopes. VISTA works in the infrared and is the world's largest survey telescope and the VLT Survey Telescope is the largest telescope designed to exclusively survey the skies in visible light. ESO is a major partner in ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre European Extremely Large Telescope, the E-ELT, which will become "the world's biggest eye on the sky". * Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) - https://vvvsurvey.org/ ESO public survey Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.


Macke R.J.,University of Central Florida | Consolmagno G.J.,Vatican Observatory | Britt D.T.,University of Central Florida | Hutson M.L.,Portland State University
Meteoritics and Planetary Science | Year: 2010

As part of our continuing survey of meteorite physical properties, we measured grain and bulk density, porosity, and magnetic susceptibility for 41 stones from 23 enstatite chondrites (ECs), all with masses greater than 10-g, representing the majority of falls and a significant percentage of all available non-Antarctic EC meteorites. Our sampling included a mix of falls and finds. For falls, grain densities range from 3.45 to 4.17-g-cm -3, averaging 3.66-g-cm -3; bulk densities range from 3.15 to 4.10-g-cm -3, averaging 3.55-g-cm -3; porosities range from 0 to 12% with the majority less than 7%, and magnetic susceptibilities (in log units of 10 -9-m 3-kg -1) from 5.30 to 5.64, with an average of 5.47. For finds, weathering reduces both grain and bulk densities as well as magnetic susceptibilities. On average, finds have much higher porosity than falls. The two EC subgroups EH and EL, nominally distinguished by total iron content, exhibit similar values for all of the properties measured, indicating similar metallic iron content in the bulk stones of both subgroups. We also observed considerable intra-meteorite variation, with inhomogeneities in bulk and grain densities at scales up to approximately 40-g (approximately 12-cm 3). © The Meteoritical Society, 2010.


Heller M.,The Interdisciplinary Center | Heller M.,Vatican Observatory
Annalen der Physik (Leipzig) | Year: 2010

The closed Friedman cosmological model, based on noncommutative geometry, is presented. Two global effects exhibited by the model are discussed. The first effect is the "generation of matter out of geometry". Gravitational field equation in this model has the form of the eigenvalue equation for the Einstein operator.It turns out that the eigenvalues of this operator reproduce components of the energy-momentum tensor. Thesecond effect concerns the existence of the initial and final singularities. Because of the strongly probabilistic character of the noncommutative dynamics on the fundamental level, although singularities do exist, they are probabilistically irrelevant. © 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co.


Romanishin W.,University of Oklahoma | Tegler S.C.,Northern Arizona University | Consolmagno G.J.,Vatican Observatory
Astronomical Journal | Year: 2010

We present new optical broadband colors, obtained with the Keck 1 and Vatican Advanced Technology telescopes, for six objects in the inner classical Kuiper Belt. Objects in the inner classical Kuiper Belt are of interest as they may represent the surviving members of the primordial Kuiper Belt that formed interior to the current position of the 3:2 resonance with Neptune, the current position of the plutinos, or, alternatively, they may be objects formed at a different heliocentric distance that were then moved to their present locations. The six new colors, combined with four previously published, show that the ten inner belt objects with known colors form a neutral clump and a reddish clump in B-R color. Nonparametric statistical tests show no significant difference between the B-R color distribution of the inner disk objects compared to the color distributions of Centaurs, plutinos, or scattered disk objects. However, the B-R color distribution of the inner classical Kuiper Belt Objects does differ significantly from the distribution of colors in the cold (low inclination) main classical Kuiper Belt. The cold main classical objects are predominately red, while the inner classical belt objects are a mixture of neutral and red. The color difference may reveal the existence of a gradient in the composition and/or surface processing history in the primordial Kuiper Belt, or indicate that the inner disk objects are not dynamically analogous to the cold main classical belt objects. © 2010. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Kiefer W.S.,Lunar and Planetary Institute | MacKe R.J.,University of Central Florida | MacKe R.J.,Boston College | Britt D.T.,University of Central Florida | And 2 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2012

Accurate lunar rock densities are necessary for constructing gravity models of the Moon's crust and lithosphere. Most Apollo-era density measurements have errors of 2-5% or more and few include porosity measurements. We report new density and porosity measurements using the bead method and helium pycnometry for 6 Apollo samples and 7 lunar meteorites, with typical grain density uncertainties of 10-30kgm -3 (0.3-0.9%) and porosity uncertainties of 1-3%. Comparison between igneous grain densities and normative mineral densities show that these uncertainties are realistic and that the helium fully penetrates the pore space. Basalt grain densities are a strong function of composition, varying over at least 3270 kg m -3 (high aluminum basalt) to 3460 kg m -3 (high titanium basalt). Feldspathic highland crust has a bulk density of 2200-2600 kg m -3 and porosity of 10-20%. Impact basin ejecta has a bulk density of 2350-2600 kg m -3 and porosity of ∼20%. Copyright 2012 by the American Geophysical Union.

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