Vatican Observatory conference to focus on black holes and gravitational waves

The Vatican Observatory will host the Second international conference celebrating the legacy of Belgian physicist and priest, Msgr. Georges LemaƮtre, focusing on areas of research he pioneered that have led to new understanding of black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities.

Jun 12, 2024

The Vatican Observatory will host the second international conference celebrating the legacy of Belgian physicist and priest, Msgr. George LemaƮtre


By Thaddeus Jones
The Vatican Observatory will soon host a conference to discuss the latest research and discoveries regarding black holes, gravitational waves and space-time singularities. The conference workshop marks the second international conference celebrating the legacy of Belgian physicist and priest, Msgr. Georges Lemaître, who pioneered the theory of the Big Bang, influencing great thinkers of his time, including theoretical physicist Albert Einstein.

The meeting will take place from 17 to 21 June in Castel Gandolfo, just southeast of Rome where the Vatican Observatory headquarters are located. The Director of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Br. Guy Consolmagno, presented the workshop and its agenda together with members of the Scientific Organizing Committee during a press conference on 11 June at the Holy See Press Office.

The conference aims to build on the first meeting that took place in 2017 looking at the legacy of Msgr. Lemaître and how his insights are reflected in the latest research and discoveries in areas of cosmology, the enigmatic nature of spacetime singularities encompassing the Big Bang and black holes, along with the gravitational waves they produce, and complex topics regarding quantum gravity, entanglement and foundations of quantum theory. The primary goal of the meeting is to encourage discussion on the latest developments in theory and observation so that new ideas and insights can be shared.

Among the 40 participants at the meeting are Nobel Laureates Adam Riess and Roger Penrose; cosmologists and theoretical physicists Andrei Linde, Joseph Silk, Wendy Freedman, Licia Verde, Cumrun Vafa and the Fields Medal recipient Edward Witten.

The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest active astronomical observatories in the world, with its roots going back to 1582 and the Gregorian reform of the calendar. A dozen priests and brothers (Jesuits and diocesan) from four continents study the universe utilizing modern scientific methods, along with adjunct scholars (clergy and lay men and women) from various scientific disciplines, and scientists at major astronomical institutions around the world. --Vatican News

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