We’re running a membership drive this month – our goal is 150 new members – and as a part of it we’re including this blatant clickbait series… Besides, it’s a chance to tell some of the funny stories that come up during cloudy nights at the VATT!
The old astronomer tells the tale… “It was after 9/11, about a year or two after, and we were meeting in Rome, Jesuits in science from all around Europe. France, Germany, Portugal were all represented; and of course Jesuits from Italy… not to mention us from the Vatican Observatory. After the meeting, like all good scientists, we gathered in a local bar to shoot the breeze. Of course, this being Italy, the bar was a coffee bar and we were downing espressos (at 10 pm? Hey, live dangerously!) and telling tall tales. English, of course, was the one language we all had in common.
Out of nowhere one of the Italian scientists, a master of his biology lab, launched into a caffeine-fueled screed. “I hate terrorists,” he informed us all in his thick Neapolitan accented English. That seemed like a non-sequitur, but I figured to hear him out. “Whaddaya gonna do? Arrogant, pushy, know-it-alls. Don’t know how to listen. Don’t even try to listen to anyone else. Never seem to notice when no one else give a damn, matin’ no sense, talk talk talk, making nuttin’ but noise, living in dere little own world, tinkin’ dey smarter dan da rest of us…”
It was five minutes into his rant before I realized he couldn’t pronounce the “th”.
Why should you click on our donate button and help support our site? Your money supports the work of the Vatican Observatory, including our research, our telescope, our biennial summer schools, our educational outreach… and our mission to serve as a living sign of how science and religion are not enemies but work together without preconceptions in search of the truth. About a third of our budget comes from donations. And rather than just being at the mercy of one or two big donors or foundations, we want to show that our mission has a broader appeal. So we’re asking for lots of people willing to send us $10 a month as a sign that they support our mission..and enjoy reading our stories. Can you join us?