Brother Astronomer: Adventures of a Vatican Scientist Paperback – Feb 2001
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Uno pensaría que la Iglesia y principalmente sus más cercanos servidores, los sacerdotes, solo se dedican a los aspectos meramentame espirituales, que si bién... Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2000 by Dr.Felipe Flores Parkman
I was very disappointed in this book, as I expected a book with at least some insights into religion versus science Instead, we are 'treated' to someone who never found what he... Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2000 by James Nelems
Consolmagno is a good writer and has produced an entertaining account of his "adventures" as a participator in both the world of science and religion. Read morePublished on June 20 2000
Following are just some of the things this small book manages to be:
An autobiography tracing a career in science and a path toward a religious calling. Read more
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