Gerard Bodifee

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Gerard Bodifee (Mortsel, February 7, 1946) is a Belgian astrophysicist, writer, and Christian philosopher.

Education[edit]

After studying chemistry at the universities of Antwerp and Ghent, Bodifee studied astronomy, focusing on star formation. At the University of Brussels he conducted scientific research on the origin and evolution of galaxies[1] and obtained a PhD in science with a doctoral thesis titled Oscillating Star Formation and Dissipative Structures in Galaxies.

Career[edit]

As acting managing director of the National Planetarium, associated to the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels, Bodifee drew up several programmes for national education. He also presented a television series on stars and celestial phenomena on VRT, National Television Belgium. He was also a chemistry teacher at the Saint-Rita high school in Kontich.

Bodifee became a well-known writer and columnist for the weekly magazine Knack and the newspaper De Standaard. He often used irony and was inspired by Christian philosophy. His articles were often well-grounded and critical, even when related to his own scientific domain.

Currently, Bodifee writes and lectures in Belgium and abroad. He founded the House for Philosophy, and gives courses on the origins of western culture. He links ancient philosophy with modern science. Bodifee has published over twenty books on science, philosophy, and religion.[2]

Family[edit]

Bodifee is married to Lucette Verboven. She works as an interviewer for several television programmes in Belgium (KTRO) and the Netherlands (KRO) and is the author of several religious books.

Works[edit]

Most of Bodifee's publications are in Dutch, although some of his more recent works are also published in English.

Science, religion, and philosophy[edit]

  • Algemene sterrenkunde (General Astronomy, 1977, together with T. Dethier and E. Wojciulewitsch): A handbook of astronomy for students and amateur astronomers.
  • Het Vreemde van de Aarde (Strange Earth, 1986): The author explains the unique character of the earth as the cradle and dwelling of mankind, identifying life on earth as a self-organizing dissipative structure that transforms the environment on this planet into a state far from chemical equilibrium. He concludes no other place in the Solar System is in such a remarkable condition.
  • Ruimte voor Vrijheid (Room for Freedom, 1988): This is a discussion about freedom and order in nature, specifically about the freedom of human beings. The author discerns in the capability of living beings to act spontaneously and autonomously no contradiction with the existence of the laws of nature. He points out that these laws do not determine the behavior of complex systems and thereby leave room for freedom.
  • Aandacht en Aanwezigheid (Attention and Existence, 1991): This book regards attention as a creative force in an unfinished world and explores the conflict between science and religion. Human being have always analyzed their world, thus engaging in a scientific act, but the author contends that for a realistic understanding of the world, also an exploration out of intuition, empathy and commitment is necessary.
  • Op de Rand van een Vulkaan (On the Edge of the Volcano, 1992): On the volcanic island of Stromboli, the author and journalist Frans Verleyen discuss social, moral, and religious issues, especially the question whether to deal with the world by reason, by feeling, or by faith. Astronomical naming conventions.
  • In Beginsel (In Principle, 1993): This is a personal testimony on religion in general and Christian belief in particular. The author sees religious belief as a willingness to trust the all-embracing, meaningful reality that created humankind, which overpowers and transcends us and which we call, unless out of awe, God.
  • Klassieken van de Wetenschap (Classics of Science, 1994): A short presentation of thirty classical works from the history of science from Plato to Prigogine, together with the author's reflections on them.
  • Met het Oog op Mars (With an Eye on Mars, 1997): The author gives a historical survey of the study of Mars and a round-up of the present state of knowledge about the red planet.
  • Natuurlijke Ongehoorzaamheid (Natural Disobedience, 1997): The author discusses the relation of man to biological nature in the broad context of the evolution of life on earth, contending that to be human essentially is an act of revolt against the fixed biological behavioral patterns. This disturbs the existing order of nature and especially the humane principle of caring for the weak replaces the natural law of the survival of the fittest.
  • Eclips (Eclipse, 1999): A book about the solar eclipse of August 11, 1999 and solar eclipses in general.
  • Weg van Duizend Jaar (Road of Thousand Years, 2000): On the occasion of the change of the millennium, Bodifee discusses two visionary characters of the past thousand years—The Franciscan theologian Bonaventure, one who lived at the beginning of the past millennium, and the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin, living at the end of it. Both describe a road leading to God: Bonaventura addressed the individual and Teilhard de Chardin mankind.
  • Tot Bestaan Bestemd (Meant to Be, 2003): This book concerns several of the author's favorite themes, including creation and time. He discusses the path connecting non-being to being, the path that the universe has followed in its long genesis, and at the same time the road each human traverses within his own limited existence, because living is always a creative process and people create things. The book also discusses science and religion, human activities both talking about creation and time with their own premisses and method: science studies the world in its present state of development, while religion reminds man of an existence that is complete and that transcends time.
  • Weg uit de Leegte (Europe's Inner Void, 2005): Convinced that the spiritual crisis of present-day secular Europe forces us to ponder the nature of religion, the author asks what a culture loses when it loses its religion. Europe has to find a way out of the spiritual void in which it finds itself, and this is of vital importance for this old and wounded continent.
  • God en het gesteente (God and Granite, 2007): A favorite theme: religion versus science. Religion speaks of God and keeps silent about the laws of nature. Science speaks of nature and keeps silent about God. But what is meant by God? And what is nature? We are surrounded by mysteries.
  • CMG. A Catalogue of One Thousand Named Galaxies (2010) and CNG. Catalogue of Named Galaxies (a more concise version, downloadable from the author's personal website): A catalog of galaxies for amateur astronomers listing each galaxy's name according to traditional astronomical naming conventions.

Philosophical fiction[edit]

  • Dialoog over de Verbeterde Staat van de Wereld (Dialogue about the Improvable State of the World, 1995): Four characters discuss the world as each of them experiences it and give their views about what should be done to realize a more just world including the subjects of ambition and powerlessness, attainable truths, and the tragedy of human deficiency.
  • Diotima (2008): An unusual addition to Bodifee's oeuvre, being a sort of romance. A mysterious young woman meets a street musician and tells him she loves him as no one has ever loved anyone before—but what she tells him afterwards makes his heart bleed. The books main themes involve Platonic love and desire, cosmology, biology, and evolution.

Compilations of columns[edit]

Bodifee published columns in the literary supplement of the Belgian journal De Standaard, in the Belgian weekly magazine Knack, and elsewhere.

  • Reflecties (Reflections, 1989)
  • Momenten onder de Melkweg (Moments under the Milky Way, 1990)
  • Het Zichtbare en het Denkbare (The Visible and the Thinkable, 1990)
  • Resonanties (Resonances, 1991)
  • Tot mijn Verwondering (To My Astonishment, 2001)
  • Nocturnes: Nachtelijke gedachten over de mens, de kosmos en God (Nocturnes: Nightly Thinking about Man, Cosmos, and God, 2010)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bodifee. "Wie is Gerard Bodifee - Bodifee". www.bodifee.be. Retrieved 2016-12-23. 
  2. ^ Debeil, Anne Debeil; Lemeire, Rob (December 8, 2014). "De klimaatwijziging: 'We leven in een tijd met een beangstigend "politiek correct" klimaat, we hebben een soort DDR-systeem gecreëerd'" (in Dutch). Express.be. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 

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