Brother Astronomer: A book interweaving science and religion

How can someone be a scientist and a Jesuit Brother?  Brother (and Dr.) Guy Consolmagno explains how is Brother Astronomer:  Adventures of a Vatican Scientist.  My co-worker lent this to me before I went to Rome for the 2010 European Planetary Science Conference.  Both he and several of my co-workers know Consolmagno, and going to the home of the Vatican while listening to amazing science all week was a great gift!  I started reading the book on the way there, and it provided the perfect travel/ book combination.


"Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist"


While I have never understand the conflict between having a strong faith and believing in science, it certainly is a hot topic. ¬†I work in the science field and live in the Silicon Valley, and many in particularly intellectual crowds dismiss huge portions of religious folks, with all religious folks being cast as “fundamentalists”.

Consolmagno delves into the subtleties of these issues, instead of broad generalizations about religious zealots OR the atheist scientist.  If one is very fundamentalist in their belief of religion or science, that person may not be swayed by this book (but who knows?!)  I do think this is a great book that articulates a few key points:

  • Science is often like faith in God: ¬†it can be misconstrued and made a zealot religion, but it can also be a gateway to service
  • Science is a way to uncover the mysteries of God’s creations
  • Brother Guy is a person like anyone else! ¬†He has some comical tales of field science, and is human in his frustrations and (comical) interpersonal relations

Overall, the book reads very well and I would recommend it to those who have a foot in both science and religion, but have never stood in them with unified belief. ¬†The book really integrates the two, and reveals both how science is done and a bit of the religious lifestyle as well. ¬†It does include some fun science gathered from meteorites, which lovers of science will enjoy. ¬†The ending is slightly abrupt… but it leaves the reader wanting to hear what of “adventures” this Vatican astronomer has had.

Why I love airports

This post will be quickРboarding a flight to DC in a few minutes!  I am reminded sometimes of how my life does (and sometimes does not) live up to my childhood visions of a glamourous adulthood.  I envisioned my grown-up self traveling internationally for business, and here I am:  San Francisco, to Washington D.C., to Rome, to Prague.  I must confess, it does not feel as exciting as it soundsРthis is definitely a big, long trip for work!  But I still can be romanced by it all.

Flying to me continues to be romantic, and not solely in the love sense of the world.  More of that sense of time and place.  Airports are amazing to me because they have people of all types, hometowns, and destinations, all crossing paths in their exciting adventures.  There is a sense of destiny uniting these people to intersect.

Okay, I have to board soon, but I would love to hear others thoughts on the romance of travel. ¬†Yes, airport security, mediocre food, and other silly things get in the way, but really: ¬†what is more exciting than traveling on the road of life? ¬†ūüôā

Oaxaca vacation

dsc00924This week I leave for a one-week vacation to the Mexican state of Oaxaca, basing my trip out of the capital city of Oaxaca.  I chose this location because it is exotic, warm, not too touristy, the tickets were affordable, and something about it just appealed to my sense of wanderlust.  There is a real sense of adventure to this tripРI planned it quickly, booked it without thinking too much, and it is the first time I will be alone in a foreign country where English is not the predominant language (hence the major refresh on Spanish!!)  While I love traveling with friends, I needed to take the trip this month and fellow travelers were not available.  I see this trip as a chance to relax, reflect, and enjoy the unpredictable adventurous experiences that may arrive.  I also have been a bit bummed recently, and want to be in a fantastic place in January (more news on why soon), so this trip will hopefully provide a life reboot!

I’m picking out cool places to visit and things to do, but am not over planning much.¬† I am staying in a hostel in the hopes of interacting with fellow traveling adventurers.¬† For me, part of travel is to relax, a.k.a.¬† no over pre-planning and rushing around the whole time!¬† I also like to just let things happen, which is how some of the best experiences occur, which is much better when it is not all laid out before I even get there.

I’m interested in hearing what motivates others to travel and their travel style.¬† Please share!

Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.

Credit: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.