Peering into an Elegant Universe, Finding God

“With an MIT ring and my collar, I prove that it’s possible to be both a fanatic and a nerd at the same time,” said Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Ph.D., an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory, Castel Gandolfo, Italy, and the Vatican Observatory Research Group (VORG) in Tucson, Arizona. Consolmagno delivered the inaugural Bishop Donald Trautman Lecture in Catholic Theology in February.

“Science books go out of date really fast, which says a lot about people who want to make the Bible a science book. So maybe a book that doesn’t go out of date is not a science book.”

The lecture was entitled "God, Astronomy and the Search for Elegance" but while the first two terms have an obvious connection, you might ask how elegance fits in.

Like a Jesuit Neil deGrasse Tyson, Consolmagno addressed that point with wit, erudition and provocative observations. Here are some of them:

“Mathematics deals in proof. Science describes. A significantly long string of coincidences is what science thinks of as proof.”

“If you believe in science but don’t ask, 'Why is this thing I’m studying so wonderful?' you don’t know much about the thing you’re studying.”

“The universe is not only based on rationality, but also on beauty, and that tells you a lot about who is responsible for that universe.”

For Brother Guy Consolmagno, the beautiful universe points directly back to its Creator.

His stimulating talk was an elegant beginning to what should become a much-anticipated tradition of lectures.