It happened on FEBRUARY 19


Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Thorn (Poland). He studied canon law in Bologna and medicine in Padua before becoming interested in astronomy. A Catholic, he became a canon with the cathedral of Frauenberg but never became a priest. The publication of On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres in 1543, the year of his death, constituted the first official presentation of the heliocentric system, which had been suggested by other thinkers prior to him. In it, the planetary orbits around the sun were considered circular not elliptical. The work was published with a preface by Osiander which, anticipating a rocky reception for the new system, explained that it provided a mathematical hypothesis that, compared to the geocentric system, made calculating the position of the planets simpler. Copernicus adopted the suggestion of placing the sun as the center with a theological analogy: “In the middle of all dwells the Sun. Who indeed in this most beautiful temple would place the torch in any other or better place than one whence it can illuminate the whole at the same time? […] We find therefore, under this orderly arrangement, a wonderful symmetry in the universe, and a definite relation of harmony in the motion and magnitude of the orbs, of a kind it is not possible to obtain in any other way” (De revolutionibus orbium caelestium, I, cap. X).

George Coyne has left us: a personal remembering

George Coyne, a Jesuit astronomer former Director of the Vatican Observatory from 1978 to 2006, left us on February 11. He died in Syracuse, New York, as a consequence of a cancer contracted years earlier. [Read more]

Interdisciplinary Encyclopedia of Religion and Science

The Encyclopedia, published by the Centro di Documentazione Interdisciplinare di Scienza e Fede operating at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, provides new, scholarly articles in the rapidly growing international field of Religion and Science (ISSN: 2037-2329).

Anthology and Documents

To emphasize and spread relevant documents within the scientific community, this section provides key materials concerning the dialogue among science, philosophy and theology.


Special Issues

We offer here a selection of comments and documents on special issues in Religion and Science, collected for anniversaries and/or for the relevance of the topics.

Theories of Evolution: the Roots of Recent Developments