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Shannon Lecture: Astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J. Sept. 13 & 14

  • Published: August 28, 2012


  • Astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J. is the first Shannon lecturer for the 2012-2013 season
  • Will speak on September 13 at 7 p.m. and September 14 at 1:30 p.m.
  • Both lectures are free and open to the public

For More Information

Christine M. Bochen at (585) 389- 2728 or at

Shannon Lecture: Astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J. Sept. 13 & 14

Astronomer George V. Coyne S.J. will begin the 2012-2013 Shannon Lecture Series with The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Chance and Destiny Embrace on Thursday, September 13 at 7 p.m. in the Otto A. Shults Community Center Forum. Coyne will present a second lecture Scientific Evolution: A Challenge to American Society on Friday, September 14 at 1:30 p.m. in the Linehan Chapel of the Golisano Academic Center. Both the Academic Center and the Shults Community Center are on the Nazareth College campus, located at 4245 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618. Both lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Christine M. Bochen at (585) 389-2728 or at

This year’s program, “Integrating Faith and Science: Dilemmas, Debates, and Decisions,” celebrates the opening of the Integrated Center for Math and Science in Peckham Hall, where Nazareth students and faculty plumb the secrets of the natural world, and, in a special way, honors the memory of our beloved William H. Shannon who died on April 29, 2012. Fr. Shannon was instrumental in promoting conversation on science and morality at the college and in the community.  Our distinguished speakers—all well versed in both science and religion, particularly the Catholic tradition—will help us continue the conversation.

Respecting “the richness of both religious faith and scientific research,” astronomer George V. Coyne, S.J., is a participant in and promoter of the dialogue between science and religion. An outspoken critic of creationism and intelligent design, he explores the implications that scientific evolution has for religion.

From 1978 to 2006, Coyne served as director of the Vatican Observatory at the University of Arizona where he taught astronomy. In 2012, Coyne was named to the McDermott Chair in Religious Philosophy at Lemoyne College where he is organizing interdisciplinary conferences exploring Scientific Perspectives in Divine Action. He is President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation.

Coyne’s research has focused on polarimetric studies of various subjects including the interstellar medium, stars with extended atmospheres, and Seyfert galaxies. Most recently he has been studying the polarization produced in cataclysmic variables, or interacting binary star systems that give off sudden bursts of intense energy. In addition to more than sixty research papers, he co-authored A Comprehensible Universe: The Interplay of Science and Theology (2010) and Wayfarers in the Cosmos: The Human Quest for Meaning (2002).

The William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies
Through a generous gift from the Chester and Dorris Carlson Charitable Trust, the William H. Shannon Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies was established at Nazareth College to assist in keeping alive and visible the Catholic intellectual tradition belonging to the Roman Catholic heritage upon which the College was founded.

The Chair in Catholic Studies honors William H. Shannon, formerly Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Nazareth College. As beloved teacher, distinguished colleague, renowned scholar, prolific author, and respected religious leader, Father Shannon has advanced the educational mission of Nazareth College and contributed significantly to Catholic intellectual life, both nationally and internationally.

Past holders of the William H. Shannon Chair include Patrick F. O’Connell, associate professor of English and theology at Gannon University; Clarke Cochran, professor of political science at Texas Tech University; and Maureen Tilley, associate professor of religious studies, University of Dayton. The Chair is currently held by Christine M. Bochen, professor of religious studies at Nazareth College.

Founded in 1924, Nazareth College is located on a close-knit, suburban campus in the dynamic, metropolitan region of Rochester, N.Y. The College offers challenging academic programs in the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs in health and human services, education, and management. Nazareth's strong cultures of service and community prepare students to be successful professionals and engaged citizens. The College enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 1,000 graduate students.

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