Stephen Hawking Is on a Pontifical Academy

Stephen Hawking’s visit to the Vatican this week has raised curiosity, with some asking what exactly the famed astrophysicist and self-proclaimed atheist was doing in the heart of the Catholic Church.

But for the Vatican, his visit was nothing out of the ordinary. Hawking is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences – which includes 80 of the most brilliant scientists in the world – and he was in Vatican City for the group’s annual meeting.

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