The Santa Clara telescope fiasco

Jerome Sixtus Ricard, S .J.
Jerome Sixtus Ricard, S. J.
  • Article
  • 8 pages
  • Level: high school and above

This 1999 article by John W. Briggs of Yerkes Observatory, published in Anni Mirabiles, A Symposium Celebrating the 90th Birthday of Dorrit Hoffleit, held 7-8 March, 1997 at Yale University, New Haven, discusses the efforts by Fr. Jerome S. Richard, S. J., to construct a large telescope at Santa Clara University, funded through the Knights of Columbus. Fr. Richard was a publicly popular figure, but the validity of his work was not always endorsed by scientific colleagues, and he chose poorly in selecting people to build the telescope.

Abstract: In 1928 the University of Santa Clara built an observatory which was to feature a 60-inch telescope. The man behind the plans for the observatory was Father Jerome Sixtus Ricard, a Jesuit astronomer and meteorologist. Ricard was an outsider to the professional scientific community during his entire career, but he had enthusiasm, faith and promotional ability. However the 60-inch telescope was never constructed and Ricard died in 1930, with the project incomplete.

Click here for this article from NASA ADS.

Click here to download a PDF of this article from NASA ADS.

Click here for more on the observatory, from the University of Santa Clara.