On a hot early summer afternoon the interns were saluted by the Swiss Guards as we made our way into the Vatican. With Mr Edward Davies of Eccleston Square as our escort, we were taken through the immaculately kept gardens, to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences where Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo was awaiting us. He gave us an introduction to the operations of the Academy of Sciences, which had been founded by Pius XI, with the aim of promoting the progress of the mathematical, physical and natural sciences and the study of epistemological problems. The Academy itself comprises of eighty women and men from all over the globe who have made outstanding contributions in their fields of scientific endeavour. To obtain a seat in the Academy they are nominated by the Pope after being elected by the body of the Academicians.
|Steven Hawkins is one of the members of the Academy|
We were made aware of one of the most recent works of the Academy vis-à-vis the fate of mountain glaciers in the anthropocene, a report which draws on various research sources to inform all people on the potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases. The report concluded that by acting now, in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibility, we can accept our duty to one another and to the stewardship of a planet blessed with the gift of life (to access the report click here).
|We met Archbishop Sanchez who explained what the Academy does|
During the remainder of the tour we were given a very thorough explanation of the actual building in which it is housed- the Casina Pio IV, which was built in 1561 to serve as a summer residence for Pope Pius IV. The stunning Casina is a well-preserved building, covered in sixteenth century frescoes, stucco reliefs, mosaics and fountains.