Vatican Observatory Holding Its 9th Summer School

26 Scholars Will Attend Session on Astronomy and Astrophysics

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 13, 2003 ( More than half the students who will participate this year in a summer school organized by the Vatican Observatory will do so thanks to scholarships offered by the Holy See.

The 9th Vatican Observatory Summer School in Observational Astronomy and Astrophysics will take place at observatory headquarters, in Castel Gandolfo, from June 15 to July 11, according to a statement published today.

The program will focus on «Observations and Theoretical Understanding of Galaxy Evolution: From the Local Universe to the Distant Universe.»

According to a communiqué from the observatory, 26 young scholars from 20 countries will be in Rome for the summer session. The Vatican is providing the 15 students from developing countries with scholarships that cover at least 75% of the total costs of the school, including travel, room and board.

The selection for this biennial event was made by the principal faculty of the school and the observatory director from more than 200 applications.

Two lectures will be given each morning, with evening seminars by the Vatican staff and visiting astronomers. Students will present a short paper on their research or the research of their home institution.

Other activities will include laboratory exercises, image processing, and use of astronomical databases. Courses will be taught in English.

The Vatican Observatory’s origins date back to Pope Gregory XIII, who established a scientific commission to study the elements necessary to reform the liturgical calendar, which took place in 1582.

The observatory is headquartered in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome. In 1981, when the night skies of Rome became too bright for the observatory, it founded a second research center, the Vatican Observatory Research Group, in Tucson, Arizona.

In 1993, in collaboration with Steward Observatory, the Vatican Observatory completed the construction of the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope on Mount Graham, Arizona, widely considered the best astronomical site in the continental United States.

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