Manuel María Carreira Vérez

Category: Physicist
Birth Place: Vilarrube, Valdoviño (La Coruña)


He joined the Society of Jesus (Jesuit order) in 1948 and got a Bachelor’s degree in Classical Languages in Salamanca and a degree in Philosophy at Comillas Pontifical University (Santander). In 1957, he was sent to the U.S. to improve his studies, first taking a degree in Theology (School of Theology of Loyola University - Chicago) and then, after being ordained a priest (1960), doing a Master in Physics at John Carroll University (Cleveland) in 1966, with a research work on the effect of laser pulses upon several liquids. After a brief one-semester visit to the Gregorian University in Rome, he returned to the States, working as a Ph.D. in Physics at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He took his doctor’s degree in Washington in 1971, working on Cosmic Rays under the direction of Dr Clyde Cowan, famous as one of the discoverers of the neutrino (with Fred Reines, 1955 Nobel Prize winner). He cooperated in research (directed by Dr. Hall Crannell) under a grant from NASA to develop a Gamma Ray detector to be used in an artificial satellite and in some research (directed by Dr. Klaus Fritsch) under contract from NASA for the development of a fiber optics control system for airplanes and space probes. Since 1971, he has taught Physics and Astronomy in Washington and Cleveland, and Philosophy of Nature in the Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid, dividing the school year between both countries. Since 1974, Fr. Carreira was invited during several summer periods to go to the Vatican Astronomical Observatory in Castel Gandolfo, near Rome. There he worked on the development of photographic techniques for Astronomy. In 1991, celebrating 100 years of the Observatory, he was asked to give a 3-week course on Galaxies for 20 bishops from different countries.

 Work & Activities

He has lectured, with the sponsorship of the Vatican, in many universities of Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Other invitations have led to talks in Germany and Ireland, and in practically every important university in Spain. In the States, since 1975, he offered to the general public yearly series of 6 or 7 lectures on Science and Philosophy during his stay at John Carroll. Other talks outside the University have been presented at astronomical societies in Cleveland, Kent, Akron and Miami, the Northern Ohio Geophysical Society, Pasteur Club and Mensa Club in Cleveland and in other schools of the area. Priestly work has always been a constant and the most important part of Fr. Carreira’s life. He helped in parishes during his stay in Washington, and he has given many talks on Theology -in Spanish and English- in many of the places he visited, and also retreats in the U.S. and Spain, Mexico and Peru. Many essays on topics covering Science, Philosophy and Theology have been published in different places, and will be prepared for further development in the near future. His book on the Philosophy of Nature, Metafísica de la Materia is used at different universities; two other short presentations El Creyente ante la Ciencia and El Hombre en el Cosmos are also in print. An e-book in English, Essays on Faith and Science, is available in the Web.

 Other Interesting Aspects

He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Vatican Observatory for fifteen years. At the request of the Pontifical Council on Culture, he gave invited papers at congresses on Science and Faith in Cali and Medellin (Colombia) and was also one of the invited speakers at the Congress on Metaphysics and Science in Rome (September, 2000) and Santiago de Compostela (September 2002).