Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist Paperback – Feb 2001

4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
CDN$ 36.77 CDN$ 65.43

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; New edition edition (February 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071372318
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071372312
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 14.1 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 953 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #900,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  •  Would you like to update product info, give feedback on images, or tell us about a lower price?

  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

It's the last two words of its subtitle that will arouse interest in this amiable book--and deservedly so. Like other Jesuit scientists before him, most notably Teilhard de Chardin, Consolmagno conveys well a passion for science wed to faith in God: two objects of devotion that, as Consolmagno realizes, many see as mutually exclusive. The triumph of his book is its persuasive argument that doing science can be a religious act--"that studying creation is a way of worshipping the creator." Regrettably, that triumph is confined to only a minor portion of the text, which overall, despite its other merits, has a ragtag feel, with Consolmagno moving from a look at his monastic-scientist's routine to discussions of his specialty, the study of meteorites; a history of Galileo's problems with the Church; a mini-autobiography; and Consolmagno's experiences hunting meteorites in Antarctica. And, in fact, the final chapter reveals that much of the book consists of reworked versions of the author's past talks and papers. Other than the brilliant defense of science's place in the religious life (and vice versa), no section of the book excels, though all are serviceable. The hard science discussions are elegant but rather technical; the Antarctic narrative, while enjoyable enough, lacks the alert wordsmithery of the practiced storyteller; and some of Consolmagno's statements, such as that all of Western science's achievements result "from the Incarnation," are so bald as to deny anyone but a devout Christian any grip. Even so, the book works, and well, for Consolmagno is a charming writer, witty, self-deprecating and, above all, genuine. There's not a whit of posturing in his words, but, instead, a sincerity and enthusiasm that are consistently congenial and infectious. 60,000 first printing; author tour. (Mar.) FYI: Brother Astronomer launches McGraw-Hill's ambitious new trade science program, which in the year 2000 will publish books by, among others, Ellen J. Prager, Alan Lightman and Joel de Rosnay.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Consolmagno, a Jesuit brother for the past ten years, has spent 25 years as an astronomer. He is now at the Vatican Observatory, where he curates one of the largest meteorite collections in the world. Consolmagno's book is an uneven mix of memoir, science, and religion; four large sections cover meteorites and comets, the perceived rift between science and theology, his life's path leading up to the decision to join the Jesuits, and his recent participation in a scientific mission to the Antarctic. The threads connecting these disparate topics are clear, deft writing and a mind at home with science and faith. However the four sections, while interesting in themselves (the last one on Antarctica is especially wonderful), do not make a cohesive whole. In addition, parts of the text were conference presentations or previously published articles, adding to the book's cut-and-paste feel. Recommended for larger collections.
-Michael D. Cramer, Cigna Healthcare, Raleigh, NC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Product Description

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
First Sentence
MY FIRST reaction on arriving at the Specola Vaticana-the Vatican Observatory-was one of stunned astonishment. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Brother Astronomer is a delightful romp into the life of a joyful and spirit-filled man. Brother Guy exemplifies the bridging of the purported gap between faith and science; in his writing and his life and his combination of these two vocations he belies the simplistic and all-too glib pronouncements so many trot out about the rift between science and religion. Whether you come to this book from the religous or scientific side, read it with an open mind and heart, the way it was written.
Brother Guy writes with considerable insight and frankness, and will certainly make some people most uncomfortable as he demonstrates some convincing parallels betweeen science and religion. Those who quickly dismiss his comments on this similarity simply reveal that they were ready to do so a priori, even before opening the pages of this book. He handles science and religion in an even-handed, balanced and refreshingly gentle manner, and I admire his intellectual and spiritual integrity, how he never forgets there is one truth underlying everything, and that this truth will be what it is, and not simply what we want it to be.
His book is undoubted going to be equally unacceptable to both scientific as well as religious fundamentalists, two groups which possess in common a remarkable ignorance of both religion and science.
As a professional academic scientist and believer in God who has never had any problem reconciling the two equally profound sides of my life, I may be prejudiced in my approach to this book. But I don't think so. So set your judgementalness aside when you pick up Brother Astronomer. Read it, enjoy it, go with the flow of the book and take delight in the time you spend with this delightful man.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
In "Brother Astronomer", Br. Guy Consolmagno describes his life and views as a Jesuit brother who is also a professional astronomer. In this book, the author (who is also the author of "Turn Left at Orion", a highly regarded handbook for amateur astronomers) covers a number of topics: how science is done, the interaction between science and religion, the often-positive role the Cathollic Church has played in the history of science, and an expedition the author made to Antarctics to gather meteriorites. The parts do not always mesh well, which is why I gave it only four of five stars; however, individual chapters are quite good. For example, the opening chapter, which traces a problem in planetary science as a case study of how science is done, would be well worth showing to any teenager who is interested in science; while the chapter on religion and science will be of interest to anyone who has an open mind on the issue of whether "Jerusalem" can have anything to do with "Athens". Well worth reading; highly recommended.
By the way, my wife and I have had the pleasure of hearing Br. Guy speak at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago on several occasions; if you get a chance to hear him speak in person, you won't be disappointed.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
(Brother)(Dr) Guy Consolmagno has given us a delightful book, obviously written by someone who has comfortably lived (and uncomfortably adventured) in the two worlds of scientific and religious inquiry. The author discusses his infectious enthusiasm for both "worlds," although he doesn't think there is an essential line between the two. During the course of this book, you will travel to the ends of the earth to look for fragments of another world, understand why serendipity (and a good high school English teacher) are often major parts of a successful big-league scientific presentation, and learn why the Vatican maintains one of the world's best meteorite collections (in a home built by the pope who helped condemn Galileo). You will also find how Dr C answered the "killer question" -- namely, why care a fiddle or a fig about the makeup of Jupiter's moons, when people are suffering on earth? (Dr C mentions he briefly gave up science, joined the Peace Corps to directly help starving people, wound up teaching science to Kenyan students, and came away convinced that scientific development can provide one of the soundest foundations for preventing ignorance and starvation. It can also provide a sound foundation for religious understanding). Dr C discusses how the established church helped found modern science and scientific thinking (Galileo's trial was a correctable aberration, just like the regrettable dark alleyways occasionally taken by scientific minds). The established church and science have traditionally been partners in seeking methodological and insightful understanding, appreciating truth in our world, and combating ignorance and superstition.Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book is an eye-opener for both true-believing religious folk who mistrust science and hard-nosed materialists who consider theological ways of thinking to have been overthrown by science. For those who already knew better, this book falls a bit short of advancing recent dialogs between religion and science. Subjective religious experiences are uncritically reported as "God's" influence with little or no reflection on the psychological nature of their origin. Further, both past "mistakes" and current dogmatic assertions of the Catholic Chursh are discussed without persuading this reader that the author has been as thoroughly honest in his pursuit of "Truth" as is claimed. But all in all, this is an enjoyable book with an entertaining exposition of meteorite hunting that constitutes an honest-to-God adventure. Well worth reading!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Report abuse