"We are both aiming towards the same things, we are both aiming there with many of the same tools and we both have a lot to learn from each other.”
For years, Consolmagno has heard all the arguments about science and religion. He is an astronomer and scientist. He has a masters and PhD and he has studied at MIT and Harvard. He's also a Jesuit Brother who lives in Castel Gandolfo, where the Vatican has one of its observatories. He says even though most scientists don't really talk about religion, it's usually always there, in the back of their minds.
"One of the strange things is that when I became a Jesuit, all of my scientist friends came up to me and started telling me about the churches they went to. I would say, 'I never knew you went to church' and they would say the same thing about me, because we don't talk about it.”
His office is surrounded by telescopes and pieces of meteorites. He admits scientists are hesitant to talk about their religious beliefs. But, he says time and time again, the purpose boils down to understanding something thats bigger than themselves.
"It comes out of a belief that this Universe really does obey rules, It follows the rules, It plays fair with us. That immediately tells us something about where this universe came from and the assumptions we make about where it came from.”
The latest research about the Higgs particle, which was later described as the so called 'God particle' is something he describes as 'exciting.'
"Sometimes the answers you get aren't exactly what you're expecting which is what happened with the Higgs particle. It doesn't have precisely the energy they thought it was going to have. This is exciting! It means, alright we've learned something new.”
He made a quick visit to Rome to take part in the TEDx conference on religious freedom. When it comes to religion and science he says, the best way he can describe both is with the phrase: Prepare to be surprised!