Father José Gabriel Funes

Fr. José Gabriel Funes, SJ, a full professor at the School of Philosophy in the Catholic University of Cordoba, Argentina, is the former Director of the Vatican Observatory and former member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He studies the scientific, philosophical, and religious implications on the search of other worlds focusing on the anthropological impact of a potential discovery of extra-terrestrial life. He also studies the future of the universe following an interdisciplinary approach.He completed his masters' degree in astronomy (licenciado en astronomía) at the National University of Cordoba in 1985, writing on the computational analysis of the photometry of eclipsing binary stars. In the same year, he entered the Society of Jesus.Fr. Funes obtained a Bachelor degree in Philosophy in 1990 at the Universidad del Salvador in San Miguel, Argentina, where in 1996 he also attained the Master in Philosophy degree (licenciado en filosofía). In his Master’s thesis he discussed Cosmology as a science from the point of view of scientific realism. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1995 after completing the Bachelor degree in Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In 2000 he obtained his Doctorate in Astronomy at the University of Padua with the study of the kinematics of ionized gas in the inner regions of 25 disk galaxies.Fr. Funes joined the Vatican Observatory Research Group as staff astronomer in March 2000 and was appointed Director of the Vatican Observatory in August 2006 by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.Fr. Funes specializes in Extragalactic Astronomy. His field of research includes the kinematics and dynamics of disk galaxies, the star formation in the local universe, and the relationship between gravitational interaction and galactic activity.