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Author: Agustín Udías
After their restoration of 1814, the Jesuits made significant contributions to the natural sciences, especially in the fields of astronomy, meteorology, seismology, terrestrial magnetism, mathematics, and biology. This narrative provides a history of the Jesuit institutions in which these discoveries were made, many of which were established in countries that previously had no scientific institutions whatsoever, thus generating a scientific and educational legacy that endures to this day. The article also focuses on the teaching and research that took place at Jesuit universities and secondary schools, as well as the order’s creation of a worldwide network of seventy-four astronomical and geophysical observatories where particularly important contributions were made to the fields of terrestrial magnetism, microseisms, tropical hurricanes, and botany.
Author: Agustín Udías

Johann Georg Hagen, the first Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, carried out an abundant correspondence with other directors of Jesuit observatories between 1906 and 1930. Letters of his correspondents preserved at the Vatican Observatory and a few of his letters at other observatories provide interesting information about the work and problems of Jesuit astronomical observatories at that time. Letters survive from observatories in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. A short presentation is given concerning the relationship between Hagen and the other directors and the contents of the correspondence.

Open Access
In: Journal of Jesuit Studies

Athanasius Kircher paid special attention to magnetism, more specifically terrestrial one, in his work Magnes sive de arte magnetica. Other Jesuits of his time, such as Garzoni and Cabeo, also wrote on this subject. Kircher studied in particular magnetic declination and its possible use to determine geographical longitudes. At his time, this was an important subject for long sea journeys. First, he collected a large number of observations of magnetic declination from different sources in three tables and two lists with a total of 518 values, among them forty-three made by Jesuits. Kircher proposed that a magnetic map could be made based on these observations, but he did not do it. From Kircher’s observations a map of magnetic declination has been drawn and it is presented here. Kircher discussed the causes of declination and presented a model for the origin of the magnetic field of the Earth, which differed from that proposed by Gilbert. Kircher finally considered magnetism as a cosmic force with its origin in God.

Open Access
In: Journal of Jesuit Studies

The appearance of Jesuit scientists in science-fiction novels, often as the main characters, is an interesting and little-known fact. Some have even suggested that this feature may characterize a specific sub-genre of such novels. The quality and the themes vary greatly, and it is not clear what moves authors to include Jesuits. This article reviews ten of these novels, noting their great variety in plot and approach, as well as the frequent use of space travel and contact with intelligent aliens. In general, the presence of Jesuit characters allows the authors to introduce a religious perspective, but can also be interpreted as a recognition of the Jesuit tradition in scientific fields.

Open Access
In: Journal of Jesuit Studies
Author: Agustín Udías

Abstract

After their restoration of 1814, the Jesuits made significant contributions to the natural sciences, especially in the fields of astronomy, meteorology, seismology, terrestrial magnetism, mathematics, and biology. This narrative provides a history of the Jesuit institutions in which these discoveries were made, many of which were established in countries that previously had no scientific institutions whatsoever, thus generating a scientific and educational legacy that endures to this day. The essay also focuses on the teaching and research that took place at Jesuit universities and secondary schools, as well as the order’s creation of a worldwide network of seventy-four astronomical and geophysical observatories where particularly important contributions were made to the fields of terrestrial magnetism, microseisms, tropical hurricanes, and botany.

Open Access
In: Jesuits and the Natural Sciences in Modern Times, 1814–2014