The Magi Project: Science and Theology
Exoplanets, Extraterrestrials & The Wonders of Creation
Fall 2019 Magi Project Lecture
November 21, 2019
We inhabit a new cosmology where every star is a stellar system, with planets of its own. Some of these new-found worlds are similar enough to Earth that they may be hospitable to extraterrestrial life. In this lecture, Karin Öberg, Professor of Astronomy and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University, will introduce the latest science on exoplanets, on what constraints we have of their composition, including their likelihood of having water and organics, and how we can use this data to speculate about the likelihood of extraterrestrials. She will further meditate on what the existing discoveries are teaching us about creation and the Creator, as well as how the potential future discovery of extraterrestrials could affect our understanding of our relationship with God and of the Incarnation.
MAGI PROJECT PROGRAMS
About the Magi Project
Physical science, which is ordered towards the exploration of the physical world, can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, who is pure spirit. However, contemplation of the physical Universe can lead people to ask deeper questions about meaning and human existence which can lead them to think deeply about the existence of God and the spiritual life. Contemplation of the Universe can also lead them to develop ideas about God based on their experiences of the physical Universe.
The above idea is highly divisive. Many people believe that modern astrophysical discoveries and ideas about the origin of the Universe exclude the possibility of God. Others cling desperately to a literal interpretation of Genesis and refuse to believe anything of modern science. Somewhere in between is the via media, which embraces both the physical and spiritual realities, which recognizes the distinct, proper contributions, importance and limitations of both.
The Magi Project delivers courses, workshops, lectures and seminars on science and religion.
For more information on the Magi Project Initiatives, please visit new website:
The Magi Project welcomes inquiries about science and religion, to get in touch, to discuss an idea for collaboration or to discuss the possibility of hosting a talk or lecture series on science and religion at your institution, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Magi Project was established under the direction of Dr. Marisa March. For her academic background, please see Here.
SPACE, TIME, AND ETERNITY: AN INTERDISCIPLINARY INQUIRY
2019 MAGI PROJECT SUMMER SEMINAR
DATE | June 17th–June 21st, 2019
This week-long graduate student Summer Seminar will be structured around the question of Space, Time and Eternity from the perspectives of physics, philosophy and theology. Readings will include extracts from St. Augustine, Stephen Hawking, Plato, Kip Thorne, St. Thomas Aquinas, Albert Einstein and others. The Seminar will welcome a small cohort of graduate students to Philadelphia for an intensive course led by eminent scholars across disciplines of physics, philosophy, and theology.
ADVENTURES OF A VATICAN ASTRONOMER
DATE | Monday February 11th, 2019
TIME | 5:30 – 7:00 PM
LOCATION | Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, University of Pennsylvania
• RECEPTION AFTER •
Join us for an evening with Br. Guy Consolmagno, head of the Vatican Observatory. Br. Guy Consolmagno is both a Jesuit brother and a planetary scientist at the Vatican Observatory, splitting his time between the meteorite collection in Rome and the Vatican telescope in Arizona. Thanks to his Vatican connections, his work has sent him around the world several times to dozens of countries and every continent (including a meteorite hunting expedition to Antarctica). In this talk he will share some of those adventures, and reflect on the larger meaning of our common experience as scientists… not only what we do, but why we do it.
Br. Consolmagno studied and conducted planetary science research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Arizona, and Harvard College Observatory before taking his vows as a Jesuit brother in 1991. He has published over 40 scientific papers on meteorites, asteroids, and the origin and evolution of small bodies in our solar system. He has also authored multiple books, the latest being Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial? In 2014, he was awarded the Carl Sagan Medal for outstanding science communication by the American Astronomical Society. The following year, he was appointed by Pope Francis to be the Director of the Vatican Observatory, where he currently oversees the entirety of the Vatican’s astronomical research.
CARL SAGAN, VATICAN ASTRONOMERS AND THE SEARCH FOR ALIEN LIFE IN OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
Join us for an evening with Professor Jonathan Lunine as he shares his personal journey along the dual paths of an academic career in solar system physics to fulfill his childhood dream, and his unexpected spiritual journey to the Catholic faith.
SPEAKER: Professor Jonathan Lunine
DATE: November 8th, 2018
TIME: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: Stiteler Room B6
COFFEE FROM 6:45 PM
RECEPTION AFTER EVENT
Jonathan Lunine is David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical Sciences at Cornell University and the Director of the Cornell Center for Astrophysics and Planetary Science.
Professor Lunine’s research is focused on the formation and evolution of planets, the processes that could make environments habitable, and the exotic environments that might host a kind of chemistry sophisticated enough to be called “life”.
Professor Lunine works on the Cassini mission to Saturn and the James Webb Space Telescope, and is co-investigator on the Juno mission to Jupiter. He also is the David Baltimore Distinguished Visiting Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and in 2015 was awarded the Jean Dominique Cassini medal of the European Geosciences Union.