In anticipation of next year’s total solar eclipse, Lyon College will host Brother Guy Consolmagno, SJ, director of the Vatican Observatory, for a spring convocation presentation entitled “Science, Religion and the Art of Storytelling” on Thursday, March 9, at 4 p.m. in the Nucor Auditorium of the Lyon Business and Economics Building on the Lyon College campus, 2300 Highland Rd., Batesville.
The lecture is free and open to the public.
“What do astronomy, religion and science fiction all have in common? They are all interested in the big questions; and they also all depend on the art of storytelling to present their strange and wonderful ideas in ways that people can understand, appreciate and evaluate,” said Dr. Consolmagno in describing the lecture. “In this talk, we'll examine why stories are fundamental to our understanding of religion; when being a good storyteller is essential in doing science; and how the way we tell these stories influences how we think about the big ideas.”
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Dr. Consolmagno earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard and MIT, served in the US Peace Corps (Kenya), and taught university physics at Lafayette College before entering the Jesuits in 1989. At the Vatican Observatory since 1993, Pope Francis appointed Dr. Consolmagno director of the Observatory in 2015.
Dr. Consolmagno’s research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids and the evolution of small solar system bodies. He has observed Kuiper Belt objects with the Vatican’s 1.8-meter telescope in Arizona, and measured meteorite physical properties to understand asteroid origins and structure. Along with more than 250 scientific publications, he is the author of a dozen popular books including “Turn Left at Orion” (with Dan Davis) and “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?” (with Paul Mueller). In 2000, the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 4597 Consolmagno in recognition of his work. In 2014, he received the Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society Division for Planetary Sciences for excellence in public communication in planetary sciences.
"Brother Guy is an internationally known astronomer and a serious thinker about the interactions between science and religion,” said Dr. Barry Gehm, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry and member of the Lyon College Convocation Committee. “He is also an outstanding speaker who never fails to fascinate. We are very lucky to have him speaking at Lyon College."
Lyon College students, faculty, staff and guests gather regularly for academic convocations and lectures on issues relevant to Lyon College, the community or society at large.
Those who are unable to attend in person are invited to view the lecture online at
For more information about the presentation, please contact Dr. Barry Gehm at Barry.Gehm@lyon.edu.