Sept. 6, 2008 - Mendel Award Dinner for George Coyne
Ani, Coyne and Bob "Dear George,

When I arrived in Rome in 1979 as a postdoc of Remo Ruffini at the University of Rome, I could never have foreseen all the good things that would come into my life from your connection with Remo and his research group in relativistic astrophysics. As the first guest (1981 ?) of the now decades old Vatican scientific visitor program, before even the guest quarters in what used to be the old Castel Gandolfo cinema were ready. I began a period of years in which Castel Gandolfo became my summer home and I was able to get to know so many nice people living in the Castelli Romani while also developing my friendship with you.

One of the wonderful people l met in those first years while enjoying your hospitality was Rita Callegari, and I am very proud of my good fortune in being able to help her enter the life of the Specola and make an indelible mark on its atmosphere and its visitors over so many years, especially through the Summer School program that has enabled her to continue to play a role there while now living many years in the USA.

You have helped create a sense of family among a large number of people spread all over the world, a virtual community tied together through personal relationships created by the Vatican Observatory under your leadership. I want to congratulate you for the caring and thoughtful creative role you have played in making an academic endeavor so much more than the sum of its scientific activities.

With affection and the best of wishes,

Bob Jantzen "


On September 6, 2008 at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia on the 80th anniversary of the Villanova University Mendel Award, George Coyne, director emeritus of the Vatican Observatory, was presented with the 2008 Mendel Award. This award was established in honor of Gregor Mendel and given to outstanding scientists who have done much by their painstaking work to advance the cause of science, and, by their lives and their standing before the world as scientists, have demonstrated that between true science and true religion there is no intrinsic conflict.