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Dutch Wednesday, 27.01.2016: The Most Discussed Star


The Star of Bethlehem is known to almost everybody, whatever their personal faith - be it through the Nativity story told in Matthew’s Gospel or through art and material culture where the depiction of the Star has played a hugely important role for centuries. Church Fathers and scholars alike have debated the ‘when’ and ‘what’ for almost as long, resulting in very different interpretations. However, what had been missing so far was a multi-disciplinary approach.

Peter Barthel (PhD 1984) is Professor of Astrophysics at the Kapteyn Institute of the University of Groningen, researching active galaxies and quasars in the near and distant universe with ground- and space-based telescopes. He has a keen interest in science communication and education, and has won prizes as well as a Royal Distinction for his original efforts in these areas.