This is old news, it happened two years ago, except this March, 28 year old astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes visited the Philippines, rekindling interest in her two-year old achievement at the tender age of 26. She, and a group of fellow scientists, managed to prove how galaxies up to 3.5 billion light years away cluster together just the way General Relativity predicted, proving the theory in a pan-galactic scale when it has only been previously proven within the solar system.
In her interview, she comes off as a sensible, humble person; her achievement is certainly refreshing considering women in the news nowadays range from ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s fight against corruption charges to Kim Kardashian, about which the less said, the better. If young girls want a role model, they would be wise to choose Ms. Reyes.
I find it also interesting that Ms. Reyes is an atheist (from reading the article, I suppose she is, though there are so many subtle shades of position in the matter of one’s faith that I could be wrong). Yes, it is common for astrophysicists and mathematicians to be atheists (the most popular example is Stephen Hawking), but there are also many Jesuits who are astrophysicist and mathematicians, the most notable is Christopher Clavius. The previous president of Ateneo de Manila, Fr. Nebres, is a mathematician. The present president, Fr. Villarin, is a physicist. It would be interesting to ask these two people how their faith survived the scientific method.