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The Vatican's Astronomer
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Father George Coyne. S.J., Ph.D.

Father George Coyne. S.J., Ph.D. the McDevitt Chair of Religious Philosophy at the McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation of Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York will present the annual Fr. Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B. Distinguished Lecture of the Department of Physics at Seton Hall University on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 6 p.m. The special lecture will be held in the Jubilee Hall Auditorium in Jubilee Hall on Seton Hall’s South Orange campus and is part of the President's Advisory Council Distinguished Guest Lecturer Series sponsored by the President’s Advisory Council members.

George Coyne is a Catholic priest, member of the Society of Jesus or Jesuits, and a world renowned astronomer. Father Coyne served as the Director of the Vatican Observatory from 1978 to 2006, and is currently President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. He is considered to be one of the leading intellectuals on the topics of the interaction between science and religion.

Fr. Coyne’s lecture entitled “The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace” will explore the immense quantity and variety in the universe which contains about 100 billion galaxies each of which contain on the average 200 billion stars. The lecture will focus on the scientific explanation of how the life and death of stars have provided the building blocks necessary for the evolution of life. There will then be a reflection on the question, if human life came about by chance or by necessity? The lecture will further reflect on the vast "fertility" of the universe surveyed from the aspect of the best of modern scientific understanding. A final reflection will be provided on the question: Did God do it? In his attempt to answer this question Father Coyne shall discuss how important it is to respect the richness of both religious faith and of scientific research.

Prior to the 2012 Jaki Lecture, there will be a small discussion meeting with Father Coyne in the Dean’s Conference Room on the 2nd Floor of the Walsh Library at 4 PM. The discussion will be a dialogue on the interplay between science and religion and is sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies. Space is limited to 20 members of the Seton Hall community, anyone interested in participating in this event should RSVP by sending an email to Professor Jose L. Lopez.

The Department of Physics Distinguished Lecture is name in remembrance and honor of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B., who was a world-renowned author, physicist, science historian, philosopher, and theologian, who served as a faculty member in the Department of Physics of Seton Hall University where he attained the rank of Distinguished University Professor of Physics. In 1987 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for “his immense contribution to bridging the gap between science and religion, and his making room, in the midst of the most advanced modern science, for deep and genuine faith.” He was appointed by Pope John Paul II an honorary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. On April 7, 2009 a few days after having presented a lecture at the Casina of Pope Pius IV, the headquarters of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Fr. Jaki passed away.

This event is sponsored by the Department of Physics, the Center for Catholic Studies and the President's Advisory Council of the College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information please contact:
Jose Lopez
(973) 761-9057


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