Jesuit Science

  • Article and Video
  • 750 words (article), 1 hour (video)
  • Level: all audiences

Br. Guy Consolmagno, S. J., an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory, discusses Jesuits and their many contributions to science in an article and in a talk (on video). Br. Consolmagno notes:

A Jesuit scientist, supported by the order, is often not tied to a three-year funding cycle or six-year tenure review. Thus we have the time – it may take decades – to catalogue double stars, seismic velocities, or patterns in climate or terrestrial magnetic fields. Jesuits, for instance, invented the basic taxonomy of the plants of India. But this sort of science often meant that their work was unappreciated by their immediate peers. Famously in the 19th century the Whig historian and politician Thomas Macaulay sneered that the Jesuits “appear to have discovered the precise point to which intellectual culture can be carried without risk of intellectual emancipation” and that being a Jesuit “has a tendency to suffocate, rather than to develop, original genius.”

Click here to read the full article on The Catholic Astronomer – the blog of the Vatican Observatory Foundation.

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