The Pope’s Astrophysicist

MEET THE VATICAN PRIEST WHO SCANS THE HEAVENS FOR THE ORIGINS OF THE UNIVERSE.( HEY, GALILEO — Miss A JOB ?)

We have come to meet the Pope. It’s tourist season, and the Sistine Chapel is punishingly full. Guests from around the world crowd together, ogling Michelangelo’s ceiling. At the back of the chapel, our little group of scientists and theologians has reaped, a small bow trying to cohere against the jostling concourse. Our gathering with John Paul is the culmination of a weeklong meeting on science and religion assembled by the Vatican Observatory. Host and steer Father George Coyne glimpses nervously at his watch, then shepherds us through a veiled doorway and into a private chamber beyond — backstage at the Vatican.

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Richard Ballard
Father George Coyne, head of the Vatican Observatory Research Group.

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