The STEM Pope

UPDATE: No, I’m wrong! The Pope doesn’t have a master’s in chemistry! He has a titulo, a certificate, and it’s something like a community college degree. He also worked as a chemist before entering the seminary.

Nobody’s really mentioning that Pope Francis is a chemical guy (the info says Técnico Quimico – is that a “chemical technician” or some kind of engineer?)  from his degree back in the 1950’s (I think a master’s from some kind of science/industry tech college, probably English-style where you get the master’s right after your B.A.) before entering the seminary at age 21, and taught chemistry as well as literature and other soft subjects. A Jesuit STEM guy, in fact. He’s probably the first STEM pope since the great nerd pope of the Middle Ages, Pope Sylvester II.*

I guess that might mess with the narrative about how the Catholic Church is somehow anti-science. (The Curt Jester was all over this yesterday.)

But of course, you don’t usually see Dawkins’ crowd washing and kissing the feet of sick people, either.

Here’s a nice smile picture. There’s also a pic of Bergoglio drinking yerba mate in a bad neighborhood. (I know, it looks like an oilcan, but I swear it’s a yerba mate bombillo.)

The Piedmont is the area of Italy where the Pope’s parents are from.

* Probably the first lit teacher in a while, too, but I don’t think the academic world will love him better for it.

UPDATE: Actually, Pope John XXII (that’s the one in the 1300’s) was an alchemy researcher before he became Pope. He’s best known today as an anti-chemistry pope, because he forbade alchemists to run scams or to counterfeit coins with his law Spondent pariter. Here’s my post about it.

4 Comments

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4 responses to “The STEM Pope

  1. I’m finding it more interesting that they’ve elected the first Jesuit to the papacy–that was something I hadn’t expected. Stylistically, Francis reminds me quite a bit of John Paul I; he seems to have the same natural pastoral style.

  2. That is certainly an authentic bombilla, although of the artsier kind (as is mine). The neighbourhood may not be a down-market one, as much of Buenos Aires, and shops’ metal shutters, is well-graffitied. I would also note that its graffiti and wall-paintings are generally of a very high quality.

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