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Meet a study by the Indian Catholic priest about the "sibling" galaxy of the Milky Way



The forty-year-old Fr D & # 39; Souza has an Indian connection. He is from Goa and grew up in Kuwait. After joining the Jesuit, he began his college education at St Xavier's College in Mumbai, which eventually led him to graduate 2016 at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich with a doctorate in astronomy. P. D & # 39; s Souza, who works with the Vatican Observatory, is currently pursuing his postdoctoral studies in Michigan. In the following, D & # 39; Souza gives insights into his work, motivating him and the science-belief debate.

01. August 2018

By Justin Paul George
Space: the last limit … more than immortalized As the opening monologue of Star Trek by William Shatner, these four words also describe one of the fiercest battlefields between the worlds of faith and reason , The unknown vastness of the cosmos and its origins have long fascinated mankind, fascinated and terrified, and often placed the clerics against the rationalist.

The rationalism of rationalist critique of religion, however, loses the fact that several clerics have taken leading roles in the exploration of the unknown. The Belgian Catholic priest and astronomer Georges Lemaitre, for example, was the first to introduce the "Big Bang Theory" when he earned his doctorate in the 1

920s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And one of the people who originally opposed Lemaitre's theory of expansion of the universe was a certain Albert Einstein!

Now, a Jesuit priest, Richard D & # 39; Souza, may be the next following the path of Lemaitre. P. D & # 39; Souza, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, recently made headlines when he was the lead author of a study that sheds light on our galaxy, The Milky Way, with a "long-lost sibling" galaxy. This sibling galaxy was "devoured" about 2 billion years ago by Andromeda, the main galaxy closest to the Milky Way. The study, led by P. D & # 39; Souza, is expected to change our understanding of how a galaxy develops.

Can you explain what makes your research in astronomy?
I study the growth and evolution of galaxies. Galaxies grow either by forming their own stars or by merging with other smaller galaxies. In recent years I have concentrated on the latter process. I am especially interested in what mergers with galaxies do. Do the characteristics of the main galaxy change after impact with a smaller galaxy? Using a combination of computer models and observations, I attempted to reconstruct the fusion history of a particular galaxy.

… Why did you choose astronomy as a Catholic priest? Is it to show faith and science can be harmonious and prove that God exists?
I have always been interested in science, and as a person of faith I believe in God and His creation. For me, studying the universe helps me to learn more about its creator. Therefore, for me, the study of astronomy, stars and galaxies is a form of worship. My Jesuit superiors have always encouraged me to study astronomy and have chosen to work for the Vatican Observatory. Finally, I hope that my scientific research shows that the Catholic Church is not against science and that science and faith can complement each other.

A Vatican observatory was first established in 1774; Would you argue that his work in astronomy has helped transform the image of the Catholic Church, which has often been associated with Galileo, Copernicus and Kepler?
During the re-founding of the Vatican Observatory in 1891 Pope Leo XIII. Wanted a scientific organization that demonstrated that everyone can see clearly that the church and its pastors are not against genuine and solid science … but that they embrace it, encourage and encourage it.

Over the years, the Vatican Observatory has done so – not only in frontier research, but in our research that the Catholic Church is not against good and true science. It is rather unfortunate how things affected Galileo's life; most events were linked to power struggles within the church. It must be emphasized that Galileo remained a good Catholic and one of his daughters a nun until the end of his life.

What effect do you have on your recent find – the discovery of a long-lost brother? Galaxy of the Milky Way – will improve our understanding of the universe?
First, it's just cool to realize that there was a large galaxy, the third largest member of the Local Group after the Andromeda and Milky Way Galaxies, and we did not know anything about it. Moreover, this finding gives us the confidence that if we could solve part of the Andromeda galaxy's fusion history (for which we have the best data due to their proximity to us), we could decode the fusion history history of galaxies.

Finally, we drew some important lessons from this finding: The slice of the Andromeda galaxy has survived this massive fusion and has probably condensed. We are confident that our own galaxy, the Milky Way, will eventually survive its collision with its satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud, in about 1-2 billion years. In the future, we are confident that we will eventually find out what mergers with other galaxies do.

In which areas of astronomy would you like to go?
I would like to continue with my current research on what mergers with galaxies cause. Finally, I also want to explore our own Milky Way and understand which of the Milky Way's attributes are due to mergers and which are due to their own evolution. Finally, I would also like to examine the various physical processes that shape the growth and evolution of galaxies.

As a Catholic priest, how "different" do you feel during your peers, who are almost always perceived as rationalists / skeptics? Most scientists are often pleasantly surprised that I am a Catholic priest. This is because members of the Vatican Observatory have set a good precedent in this academic field. Wherever I go, I know that scientists know who they are [Vatican Observatory researchers] and that they are well loved and accepted. Sometimes I come across some "younger" rationalists and skeptics, but those initial feelings soon disappear when we start talking about science! And how would you answer the "believer / creationist"? Would people who believe that the Earth is shaped in six days feel at ease when a priest speaks of galaxies that were created billions of years ago? Before graduating in astronomy, I spent two years in Goa teaching Biblical theology to serve the educated layman! Most people misunderstand the teaching of the Catholic Church about the creation or position of the church in Genesis, the first book of the Bible. In fact, the earliest chapters of Genesis are one of my favorite parts of the Bible and are a rich theological source of the Christian understanding of the human person and the world. Many of our Christian ideas come from these chapters! I wish, in general, Christians, and especially those "creationists," would learn more theology than what children are taught. For this reason, Pope Leo XIII. Already in 1891, that through the research and work of the members of the Vatican Observatory, we educate both the clergy and the laity about the teaching of the Catholic Church! And, after all, you spent years in India working as a priest before starting your doctoral studies. Any plans to return? I would like to return to India. I always enjoy visiting, especially my parents in Goa. Some of my happiest years were the first to teach biblical theology to the laity in Goa. However, I am available to my Jesuit superiors. If there is an urgent need, they will bring me back to India. – The week


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