The celebration has begun! First up on our Centennial Celebration events roster is the Historic Observing session at the Van Vleck Observatory. As the event coincided with Wesleyan’s accepted student days, AKA WesFest, the library classroom was overfilled with people–probably over 50 in all.
About half-way through the talk, Amrys took over for Roy as he went to set up the 20-inch telescope for public observing after the talk. I wrangled Girish (and the other students in his TA session) into setting up the 24-inch telescope. Amrys explained more and more about changes in observing practices over time and Roy and Girish hurried to ready the telescopes for the crowds to come.
While I was running back and forth between Roy in the 20-inch dome and Girish in the 24-inch dome, I heard applause from the classroom. Amrys continued answering several audience members’ questions while others poured out into the hallway. Some found their way up to the 24-inch telescope and others had to wait in a long line for the 20-inch telescope that I guarded stoically. While forcing people to wait in line, I had some really nice conversations with pre-frosh and their parents! Buzzwords like “interdisciplinary education” and “liberal arts exploration” circled around my head as I thought about how perfect an example of inter-departmental collaboration and research our project really is.