Are Popes and Chemistry Immiscible?
Well, leave it to the British to put together one of the most enjoyable exercises of the day, at least for those of us with even a few remaining molecules of Catholicism.
With apologies to my calculus teacher, Sister Agnes Mary of St. Mary's High School in Rutherford, New Jersey, I present to you the UK Guardian's Pontifficator.
Choose your own pope – with our interactive Pontifficator
This week, 115 cardinals will be secreted in the Sistine Chapel to select one of their number as the next head of the Catholic church. You can't get in to see them but you can use our interactive to explore their views on issues from contraception to relations with other faiths, peruse their CVs, and choose the man you think is best qualified for the job. Tap the pictures to read more about the candidates. There's a note on how we categorised them here
Finding a pontiff who meets all of one's criteria is tougher than finding an apartment in New York City. But my selection ended up being Archbishop of Tegucigalpa (Honduras), Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga.
The clincher? Of the 10 academic candidates, he's taught chemistry and physics.
Of course, I'm not keen on his rating for handling the sex abuse scandals in the church and, shockingly, his agreement with the current pope that condoms will not prevent the global HIV/AIDS crisis.
Umm, I don't know what kind of chemistry and physics he taught.
So if I still were a churchgoer, I'd have to pass on Rodríguez Maradiaga. Italy's "tech-savvy" Gianfranco Ravasi is notable for having hosted the 2009 Vatican conference on evolution. But something tells me that this time won't break the latest string of non-Italian popes.
For those of you interested in the outcome of the papal conclave, who are your favorites?
I'm hoping it's someone from South America or Africa.
Honduran chemistry and physics prof. Credit: The Guardian