Several dozen of the world’s most prominent scientists sprang from their seats and left the Vatican hall where they were holding a conference on the environment in May 2014. They were bound for a meet-and-greet with Pope Francis at the modest Vatican hotel where he lives, the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
Among the horde was Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Since 2004, he has also been a member of a 400-year-old collective, one that operates as the pope’s eyes and ears on the natural world: the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
He had a message for Pope Francis. Only it was too long.
The academy’s chancellor, Archbishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, suggested to Ramanathan that he condense his thoughts to just two sentences — and deliver them to Francis in Spanish. Ramanathan, who speaks no Spanish, spent the balance of the eight-minute jaunt committing the words to memory. He got it down with moments to spare. The phrases vanished as soon as he caught a glimpse of Pope Francis himself.
The pope has that effect on people.
Read More: Behind the Scenes With the Pope’s Secret Science Committee – Bloomberg Business
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