In their own words — Robert Jastrow


Robert Jastrow. Credit: Unknown.

Robert Jastrow was an American astrophysicist who headed NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for many years. He was an enthusiastic popularizer of science who frequently appeared on television to talk about science and the space program. He was also a noted skeptic of human-caused climate change. Jastrow was an agnostic and non-believer, but his assessment of mankind’s current state of knowledge led him to make some surprisingly frank observations about science and religion. The following, taken from God and the Astronomers, is perhaps the quote for which he is best known.

At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.