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Guy Consolmagno  

Astronomer, Director of the Vatican Observatory & President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation

Guy Consolmagno is the Director of the Vatican Observatory and President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. He is an astronomer and researches primarily on asteroids and meteorites. Consolmagno is also a Jesuit religious brother. Known as "The Pope's Astronomer," he was named by Pope Francis to be the Director of the Vatican Observatory in September 2015.

Consolmagno SJ was born in 1952 in Detroit, Michigan. He obtained his Bachelor of Science in 1974 and Master of Science in 1975 in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 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.

In 1983 he left MIT to join the US Peace Corps, where he served for two years in Kenya teaching physics and astronomy. Upon his return to the US in 1985 he became an assistant professor of physics at Lafayette College, in Easton, Pennsylvania, where he taught until his entry into the Jesuit order in 1989. He took vows as a Jesuit brother in 1991, and studied philosophy and theology at Loyola University Chicago, and physics at the University of Chicago before his assignment to the Vatican Observatory in 1993.

In spring 2000 he held the MacLean Chair for Visiting Jesuit Scholars at St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia, in 2006-2007 the Loyola Chair at Fordham University, New York, and in fall 2009 the Lanigan Chair in Science, Medicine, and Ethics at LeMoyne College, Syracuse. He has also been a visiting scientist at the Goddard Space Flight Center and a visiting professor at Loyola College, Baltimore, and Loyola University, Chicago.

Br. Consolmagno has served on the governing boards of the Meteoritical Society; the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) Division III, Planetary Systems Science (secretary, 2000 - present) and Commission 16, Moons and Planets (president, 2003-2006); and the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences (chair, 2006-2007). Since 2008 he has been a member of the IAU Working Group on Planetary System Nomenclature and the Mars Nomenclature Task Group; in 2015 he became chair of the Mars TG.

He has coauthored two astronomy books: Turn Left at Orion (with Dan M. Davis; Cambridge University Press, 1989) and Worlds Apart (with Martha W. Schaefer; Prentice Hall, 1993). He is the author or co-author of four books exploring faith and science issues, including The Way to the Dwelling of Light (U of Notre Dame Press, 1998); Brother Astronomer (McGraw Hill, 2000); God's Mechanics (Jossey-Bass, 2007), and Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? (With Paul Mueller, Image, 2014). He also edited The Heavens Proclaim (Vatican Observatory Publications, 2009). Since 2004 he has written a monthly column on astronomy for the British Catholic periodical, The Tablet.

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