Father Coyne, Renowned Astronomer, to Speak at CBU

Father George V. Coyne, S.J.Memphis- Father George V. Coyne, S.J., Director Emeritus of the Vatican Observatory and current President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, will present “The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace” on Friday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the University Theater at Christian Brothers University (CBU).

Coyne has been active in promoting the dialogue between science and religion in the continuing debate about the religious implications of scientific evolution. Coyne’s lecture will continue this dialogue. “Did we come about by chance or by necessity in the evolving universe? The first thing to be said is that the problem is not formulated correctly” stated Coyne. “It is not just a question of chance or necessity because, first of all, it is both. Furthermore, there is a third element here that is very important. It is what I call the “fertility” of the universe. This is the dance of the fertile universe, a ballet with three ballerinas: chance, necessity and fertility. What this means is that the universe is so fertile in offering the opportunity for the success of both chance and necessary processes that such a character of the universe must be included in the search for our origins in the universe. In this light, I am going to try to present in broad strokes what I think is some of the best of our modern scientific understanding of the universe, and then ask the question: Did God do it?”

A member of the Society of Jesus, Coyne is also a noted astronomer. He was appointed the first American Director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope John Paul I in 1978 and remained in the position until his retirement in 2006. As Director, Coyne was a driving force in several new educational and research initiatives. The Vatican Observatory is the only scientific research institute sponsored by the Holy See. Coyne still serves on the Board and is the Director Emeritus of the Vatican Observatory.

In addition, he is the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, which helps fund the upkeep of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) which is considered one of the best observing facilities in the world and has locations in Italy and Arizona, USA.  Coyne has the distinction of having Asteroid 14429 Coyne named in his honor.

Coyne is an adjunct professor in the University of Arizona Astronomy Department. He earned his PhD in astronomy from Georgetown University, Licentiate in sacred theology from Woodstock College, and his BA in mathematics and licentiate in philosophy from Fordham University. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1965.

Coyne’s lecture is free and open to the public. For more information contact Brother Kevin Ryan, FSC at (901) 321-3444 or kryan@cbu.edu. ###

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