As one who has had the extremely good fortune to have been associated with the Mount Wilson Observatory for much of its one hundred-year existence, I have vivid memories of its early years. I remember not so much the steel and glass Observatory, but its people. History has bestowed a nearly iconic status on this remarkable group, but they were, after all, real human beings. These were people with character strengths and faults, people with families, people with dedication to their profession yet with a keen interest in the community and the environment in which they worked. They enjoyed many of the same things that most of us do today. Often they were not too busy to have a game of tennis with a callow youth they knew as the son of one of their members. My regret, of course, is that I did not have the maturity at the time to engage them in discussions of cosmology and astrophysics. If I had, however, it is very unlikely that they would have played tennis with me.Don Nicholson's father, Seth Nicholson, served on the Mount Wilson Observatory staff from 1915 to 1957.
On this occasion marking the centennial of the Observatory I do look back on that fabulous era. Even more, however, I look forward to the next one hundred years. Years that will see Mount Wilson continue the rich tradition of its past. Years that will see new generations of astronomers push back the frontiers of science. So lift a glass with me to the second centennial of the Mount Wilson Observatory!
-- Don Nicholson, Associate Deputy Director for Public Affairs, December 20, 2004
100 Years Ago
A month-by-month description of activities on Mount Wilson in 1904 on the Mount Wilson Observatory Association's web site.
Bruce Medallists from Mount Wilson
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) has awarded its highest honor, the Catherine Wolfe Bruce gold medal, for lifetime contributions to astronomy most years since 1898. This is a list of Mount Wilson staff who have won this prestigious award with links to their biographies on J.S. Tenn's Bruce Medalists website.
BBC News article on Mount Wilson's centennial
An article by BBC News about Mount Wilson Observatory's centennial.
Driving Map & Directions
Mount Wilson Observatory is operated by the Mount Wilson Institute under an agreement with the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The Observatory occupies lands belonging to the USDA Forest Service set aside under a long-term leasehold agreement between CIW and the USDA Forest Service. The Observatory subscribes to the USDA non-discrimination policy as expressed here.