Thursday, January 31, 2019
Saturday, December 1, 2018
The James Lick Observatory Project
Yesterday, I met with representatives of the University of California Santa Cruz to discuss the potential James Lick Observatory project. We had a very productive meeting and it was nice to talk with folks who understood the technology and how it could be leveraged to their advantage.
There were two primary areas of interest from the university's perspective; education and engineering.
This was pretty straight forward conversation. How do we take the knowledge and resources of the most famous observatory in the world and bring it to the classroom? Could we develop online lesson plans? Virtual and Augmented Reality elements? Online competitions, games or engineering challenges?
ENGINEERING: JLO is in need of some retrofits and repairs.
The observatory's 36" refractor was the largest telescope in the world at the time of its installation. It is still one of the largest in the world and definitely one of the most famous. This 25,000 lbs. telescope is mounted on a floor that is raised and lowered using four (4) large hydraulic pistons. Raising and lowering the floor/telescope allows scientist to adjust to objects that are lower/higher on the horizon. (Ingenious technology given the observatory was built in the 1880s!)
One problem is the hydraulic lift isn't working which means they are limited in its use. Guest/researchers/visitors are not able to access the main telescope as they typically would. Depending upon the position of earth in relation to other celestial bodies, there are large areas of the sky that are difficult if not impossible to view through the telescope. In addition, the problem with the lift means researchers and visitors must access the telescope via narrow staircases. Best case scenarios means that only a couple of people at a time can actually access the telescope
They need to repair the hydraulic lift system and restore the floor to proper operating condition. For this, they would like to have an as-exist model of the floor, hydraulics and mechanical system that can be used for condition monitoring, design and/or reverse engineering the equipment.
Secondly, the capacity of the main dome is only 49 ppl at a time. This is based upon fire code occupancy rates established after the 1906 earthquake. They would like to have a 3D model of the dome to design additional access/egress points that would allow them to increase capacity of the space and open things up to a larger audiences. (JLO has evening events and programs that are open to the public.)
A detailed model of the facility will also allow the UC to design new elements such as handrails, stairs and other components of the facility that are aesthetically pleasing, maintain the integrity of the site and most importantly provide a safe environment for researchers and guest. They need to upgrade these components but they want to insure that any new elements fit within the parameters of the original design. Any new railing, stairs, doorways need to look as though they were part of the original 1880 design. This can be accomplished by scanning existing equipment, printing 3D prototypes and having them cast by metallurgist.
Believe it or not, there are many, many residents of San Jose/Silicon Valley who have no idea of the significance of this world renowned observatory. This is not a local "attraction", it's not a regional landmark. This is world famous institution that has been at the forefront of technology for 130 years! From Einstein's Theory of Relativity to the discovery of extrasolar planets, this observatory is recognized around the world by leading members of the scientific community. Indeed, Silicon Valley can trace its technology roots back to Mt. Hamilton in 1888. This is both a working scientific facility and historic monument with the potential of being a world class astronomy museum!
The priority is the digital documentation of the MEP systems that operate the main floor and. This is Step #1!
This is a wonderful opportunity for all stakeholders. We can use the expertise of students/faculty and professionals from a variety of disciplines and vocations; animators, architects, civil engineers, computer sciences, construction, DMA, history, interior design, journalism, geomatics/surveyors and urban planners. If you are interested in participating in the groundbreaking project, please feel free to drop me an email message. I'll be reaching out to some of you individually for advice and support (You know who you are 😊)
Exciting times ahead!
Saturday, September 1, 2018
Games of the XIX Olympiad
October 17, 1968
THE OLYMPIC PROJECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
This was an extremely turbulent time in our history; a mere 6 months after the assassination of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Four months following the assassination of Robert Kennedy. Protest against the Vietnam War were gaining momentum on college campuses across the country. Less than a month after these Olympic Games, Richard Nixon would be elected President of the United States.
|Mexican Police Beating a Protester During a Student March, Days Before Hundreds of Students Were Shot and Killed by Mexican Soldiers|