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JFRC Welcomes Fall 2019 Visiting Faculty Scholar Dr. Valente

JFRC Welcomes Fall 2019 Visiting Faculty Scholar Dr. Valente

The JFRC was delighted to welcome Dr. Ed Valente, the Visiting Faculty Scholar from the University of Portland, to campus this Fall Semester. A native of San Francisco, Dr. Valente earned his Bachelor of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Washington. He specializes in physical organic chemistry.

His first public lecture, “Faith in the Age of Science”, examined the Catholic church’s approach to Galileo Galilei. Religion reacting to science during the counter-reformation, as modernity was dawning, is an issue pertinent to our contemporary global application of Jesuit values. Galileo’s first confrontation with the Inquisition led Robert Bellarmine, a Jesuit cardinal, to warn him not to “hold or defend” the Copernican theory. However, Galileo’s curiosity and search for scientific truth compelled him to continue his studies. The audience entered into a lively debate and a book related to the subject, Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel, available in the JFRC library, was recommended. Attendees took away pointers for further reflection regarding their own beliefs as they relate to evidence-based scientific rigor and free speech.

In his second public lecture, "Life on Mars", Dr. Valente presented intriguing scientific findings that have been made on Mars. He also explored the depth of the public's interest in Mars, and why Mars has captured the public imagination even more than the moon has. Following the talk, the audience presented Valente with many questions that tackled scientic inquiry and cultural dimensions.

Dr. Valente also gave a lecture to the JFRC's Rome Start students in their UNIV 101 First Year Seminar. The lecture, entitled "Are We Alone?", touched on scientific and theological questions about life and our presence in the universe.