CfA History: Introducing A Summer Blog Series

The astronomical observatory, Cambridge, Mass.” – Photographer Unknown

In recent months, the Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted the daily operations of businesses, schools, and other facets of normal life. Many people, including those at the Center for Astrophysics, have found themselves working remotely or working in modified ways to better adhere to the unique challenges of recent public safety guidelines. While these temporary changes may complicate aspects of ongoing astrophysical research and instruction, scholarship continues.

As the joint successor of two longstanding research institutions, the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has a long history. These are unusual times, though not unprecedented. Over the next couple months, we’ll be sharing some historical snapshots to this blog that relate to the intersection of national (or international) crises and astronomical scholarship. The past gives context to the present. For better or worse, the effects of disease, military conflict, or economic recession remain visible in the history of astronomy, and provide some food for thought in light of our current situation.

Each week, updated URLs will be added to this page, so be sure to bookmark it if you’d like to follow along!

Most Recent Post:

“Frank Kameny: Cold War Astronomy and the Lavender Scare”:

Previous Posts:

“James Baker: WW2 and The Observatory Optical Project”:

“The Sinking of the S.S. Robin Goodfellow”:

“Dorrit Hoffleit: Harvard Astronomers in the Second World War”:

“George Ellery Hale, Mount Wilson, and the Griffith Observatory”:

“Amateur Telescope-Making: Popular Astronomy and the Great Depression”:

“1920: Harvard Astronomy in the Aftermath of WW1”:

“All Closed and Lenses Covered”: The Boyden Station in Arequipa:

“Astronomers in a Chemists’ War”:

“Sir Arthur Eddington and The World War One Eclipses”:

“The “First and Second Civil War Comets”:

“Thaddeus Lowe and The U.S. Army Ballooning Corps”:

“Major Philip Sidney Coolidge (1830 – 1863)”:

“George Phillips Bond: HCO and The Civil War”:

“The Hancock Telescope and the Smallpox Epidemic of 1764”:

About Shealynn Hendry

Shea is the Collections Assistant at the John G. Wolbach Library.

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