If you’re among the millions of people who read Dan Brown’s Illuminati-vs.-Catholic Church thriller Angels & Demons, you’ll feel that the idea of the Vatican collaborating with CERN on the Large Hadron Collider project is more than a little unlikely; nonetheless, the Catholic Spirit is reporting that it’s going to happen:
The Geneva-based laboratory would like to invite an astronomer from the Vatican Observatory to collaborate on studies concerning the origin of the universe, said Ugo Amaldi, a professor of medical physics and president of the TERA Foundation, which works closely with CERN in finding ways to apply atomic research in treating cancer.
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, “is an international and European (facility), and to have the Vatican Observatory send some or one of its young scientists will be something that is extremely important,” he said.
He made his comments during a Dec. 10 Vatican press conference launching the Italian-language version of “The Heavens Proclaim,” a book about the history of the Vatican and astronomy.
The head of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Father Jose Funes, said during the book presentation that he hopes Gabriele Gionti, a young Vatican astronomer who will be ordained in June, will be involved in the CERN collaboration.
Gionti has a doctorate in physics and specializes in quantum gravity, and he is finishing his theology studies at the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences in Berkeley, Calif.
Father Funes told Catholic News Service that scientists at CERN are interested in “astroparticles — the first particles in the universe. And at the moment we don’t have anyone on our staff prepared to follow these studies. So maybe Gabriele Gionti has the background and the interest in collaborating on these topics.”…
[continues at the Catholic Spirit]