Monday, January 27, 2014

John Dobson, 1915-2014

I was sad to learn of the passing of John Dobson on January 15, 2014. He was 98. Dobson, a former monk and self-taught stargazer who developed a powerful, inexpensive telescope bearing his name, showed thousands how to build their own telescope during five decades as one of amateur astronomy's most influential evangelists.

I had the distinct honor of meeting Dobson in person on several occasions, once during a mirror grinding session up at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. I can't remember anyone with more enthusiasm and commitment to public outreach for science.

But my most memorable experience with Dobson was the time I took him to dinner while he was passing through LA. He chose the restaurant: Denny's and as attribute to his secret of longevity, when the waitress asked "What will you have sir?" he simply replied "Bring me something green." Here's a cherished picture taken with Dobson at Denny's.

Dobson will be missed. His spirit for understanding the wonders of the universe will live on in the form of his popular invention, the Dobsonian Telescope. RIP.