The following reflection is by Rockhurst senior, Dylan Lawrence.
On October 2nd, 2018, a man coming all the way down from the Vatican Observatory stopped on by. His name is Father David Brown, S.J. He is a priest and an astronomer. Many people question how these two jobs work in conjunction with one another. During the presentation, he spoke about how both faith and reason work together. He is fascinated by God’s Creation and he absolutely loves understanding how this universe was created and the science behind it.
He spoke about how both faith and reason work together.
His particular field of astronomy focuses on the study of horizontal branch stars, which are stars in the stage of stellar evolution that immediately follow the red giant branch in stars whose masses are similar to the Sun’s. When asked about his most fascinating moment while working at the Vatican Observatory, he said that it was during an IAU (International Astronomical Union) meeting where he witnessed several brilliant men and women, some even sporting Nobel Peace prizes.
After the presentation, Father Brown, S.J. had lunch with a couple of teachers as well as a couple students. While Father Brown enjoyed the delicious barbecue lunch, the students asked several fantastic questions ranging from life in the universe to strange pulsating stars. Overall, the experience was amazing. Here a man who has observed the galaxy and studied the stars most of his life. Standing before us, Fr. Brown, S.J. recounted tales of astronomy and the space beyond. Father Brown, S.J. is currently situated at the Tucson VATT which is a telescope located in Arizona that is connected to the Vatican.
From the Vatican Observatory Website:
Father David Brown. S.J. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1967 and was admitted into the Society of Jesus in 1991 after studies at Texas A&M University. During his Jesuit formation, he studied at Fordham University in New York City during 1993-95, then taught physics at Jesuit High School in New Orleans from 1996 to 1999. From 1999-2002, he did his theology studies during major seminary at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, after which he was ordained a priest in 2002. Fr. Brown’s research interests in the field of stellar evolution are primarily concerned with the study of horizontal branch stars, including subdwarf B (sdB) stars.