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Take a look while it’s still up (or read more about it  here ): Google today honors Nicolas Steno (1636-1686), considered one of the founders of modern geology, with a “doodle” on their home page. An inquisitive young mind, Steno’s early forays into the study of medicine bled into geology, where he articulated  what has come to be known as the “principle of original horizontality” - essentially, that the earth’s sediment and its past rock layers align horizontally, entrapping fossils and producing a chronological record of past ages. Many of his texts are “still taught in geology classes today.” Additionally, in the field of human anatomy, Steno is credited with discovering that the heart is a muscle, and that tears form in ducts behind eyelids.

Steno was also a Danish Lutheran convert to Roman Catholicism who was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988 (his cause for canonization is apparently still open). Ordained a priest in 1675, Steno went on to a brief career in the hierarchy before dying at the age of 48. As the Christian Science Monitor  notes , his story “[fails] to fit into a narrative that science and religion are enemies,” and his work was even “embraced by the Vatican.”

Steno’s life is remarkable and honorable, though the science/theology crossover is hardly as unheard-of as one might be tempted to imagine today. If  this list  has any credibility, he’s in good company.

h/t: Dr. Stephen M. Barr

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