Wednesday, July 20, 2011

So Google asks us today why we should remember Gregor Mendel and even honors him with a Doodle. A doodle is the word Google spelled out using different themes. Anyway, Mendel was an Augustinian friar who basically discovered the concepts that lead to the science of genetics. Of course the secular world then makes the leap to Darwin and evolution. I am not sure that Friar Mendel would agree. It did make me wonder about other Catholics who have made contributions to science. It turns out that the list is enormous. Have you ever heard of Father Eugenio Barsanti? He is known for being the inventor of the internal combustion engine. It seems that he is not widely credited with this invention because his patent was misplaced somehow. What about Jean-Charles de la Faille? He was a Jesuit mathematician who determined the center of gravity of the sector of a circle for the first time. Have you ever heard of Robert Grosseteste who has been called the first man to write down a complete set of steps for performing a scientific experiment. The list goes on and on but the point is rather obvious. These great men and many more like them (including women) had deep faith. They spent many of their years on earth developing their relationship with God. Their "day job" if you will was typically about bringing the Gospel of our Lord to others so that they too would come to believe in Jesus Christ as their savior. Why don't we learn about people like this in our science courses? People of faith that also tried to understand the physical world that God has created. So if you looked at Google today, the peas were a reminder of Friar Mendel, a good Catholic who found God's wonderment so fascinating that he wanted to learn more. And in doing so, he made one of the most significant discoveries in science without compromising his faith.