Vatican Observatory Director to Speak on Science, God at Palm Beach Atlantic

The Rev. George V. Coyne, Director of the Vatican Observatory, will speak on "Science Does Not Need God, or Does It?" on the evening of Jan. 31, 2006, in Palm Beach Atlantic University's Vera Lea Rinker Hall in West Palm Beach.

Sponsored by the University's Newman Club, the event is the annual Aquinas Lecture that commemorates the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 -1274) - a university professor and Dominican priest who organized the study of theology in the Summa Theologiae.

A distinguished astronomer, Fr. Coyne has been director of the Vatican Observatory since 1978. Under his leadership, the Vatican Observatory expanded from its traditional base at Castel Gandolfo south of Rome to a second site on Mount Graham in Arizona where the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope is located. He has been a driving force for numerous educational and research initiatives at the observatory and the University of Arizona, where he serves as an adjunct professor.

Coyne has studied the interstellar medium, stars with extended atmospheres and Seyfert galaxies by using the polarization of light from these objects. His research has been published widely in the scientific literature. He is active in several scientific professional societies, including the International Astronomical Union and the American Astronomical Society.

A member of the Society of Jesus since 1951, Coyne completed a bachelor's degree in mathematics and a licentiate in philosophy at Fordham University in 1958 and earned a Ph.D. in astronomy from Georgetown University in 1962. In 1966 he obtained a licentiate in theology from Woodstock College in Maryland. He has received honorary degrees from Saint Peter's University, Loyola University Chicago and the University of Padua in Italy.