Rev. William R. Stoeger, S.J. was born in 1943 in Torrance, California and grew up in Redondo Beach, California. He was a staff scientist for the Vatican Observatory Research Group in Tucson, specializing in theoretical cosmology, high-energy astrophysics, and interdisciplinary studies relating to science, philosophy and theology.
He entered the Society of Jesus in September 1961, and in 1967 completed his bachelor’s degree with honors in philosophy from Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama. In 1969 he was awarded an M.S. in physics from UCLA. After lecturing briefly in the physics department at the University of San Francisco, he began theological studies at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California where he finished an S.T.M. and was ordained to the priesthood in 1972. Afterwards he pursued doctoral studies in astrophysics at Cambridge University, U.K., and completed his PhD in 1976. From 1976 – 1979 he was a research associate with the theoretical gravitational physics group at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland. He joined the staff of the Vatican Observatory in September 1979.
Rev. Stoeger’s research dealt with various problems connected with the physics of accretion onto black holes, and mathematical and physical issues connected with torsion and bi-metric theories of gravity, as well as the harmonic map structures contained in gravitational theories, including general relativity. More recently, he concentrated on observationally oriented projects in theoretical cosmology, attempting to build more adequate bridges between theory and cosmologically relevant astronomical observations. He also pursued some research on the physics of the central engine in active galactic nuclei and quasars.
Besides his research and writing in cosmology and astrophysics, Rev. Stoeger was active in lecturing and teaching at the University of Arizona, at the University of San Francisco, and at Vatican Observatory Summer Schools. He was a member of the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society, and the Society for General Relativity and Gravitation. He was on the Board of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), Secretary of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, and co-editor of the series “Philosophy in Science.” He was an active participant in the Vatican/CTNS workshops on “God’s Action in the World: Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action” and in the Science-Theology Consultation of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton.