Protestant appointed After 400 Years as President of Vatican Science Academy

Nevada, Jan 16, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) A Protestant has been appointed as President of Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which is reportedly a first time for this Academy launched in 1603.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI named microbiologist Nobel Laureate Werner Arber, 81, as the new President of the Academy on April 15. Arber has been an Academy member since 1981 and is Professor Emeritus at University of Basel (Switzerland). Arber’s main scientific interests are the mechanisms which promote and which limit the spontaneous variation of genetic information in micro-organisms.

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, has described it as “a step in the right direction”.

Vatican was opening-up to non-Catholics, which was good sign for mankind as a whole, Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stated in Nevada (USA) today.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which has 80 academicians including many Nobel laureates, claims to be international in scope, multi-racial in composition, and non-sectarian in its choice of members. The work of the Academy comprises six major areas: fundamental science, science and technology of global problems, science for the problems of the developing world, scientific policy, bioethics, and epistemology.

Academy is stated to be an independent entity within the Holy See, and although placed under the direct protection of the reigning Supreme Pontiff, it is claimed to enjoy “freedom of enquiry” and “complete freedom in method and research”. Located in Vatican City, it claims to be the first exclusively scientific academy in the world.

It has six India-born academicians: astronomer Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan (Ernakulum born), Nobel laureate biochemist Har Gobind Khorana (Raipur), physicist Govind Kumar M. Menon (Mangalore), atmospheric scientist Veerbhadran Ramanathan (Chennai), chemical scientist Chintamani N.R. Rao (Bangalore), and astrophysicist Govind Swarup (Thakurdwara).

On December 18, it organized a seminar on “Water is Life, Which future for humanity?”