Amateur Science

I grew up with the stories of Jules Verne, Tom Swift, Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers.  My dream was to have a laboratory and invent something amazing, along with having an aeroplane, a spaceship and a time machine.

I read Lord of the Rings at 14 (many times over) and wanted to learn how Gandalf (and King Arthur’s Merlin) worked their magic. I discovered chemistry from a friend in 7th grade whose name really was James Bond. He had a laboratory in his back yard made from the playhouse of a sister that had gone away to college.  My parents were kind (or innocent) enough to let me make my own “laboratory” in the garage.  There I not only learned about chemistry, but also astronomy, photography, electronics, and simple engineering.

I don’t yet have the spaceship or time machine, but I have been able to fly some wonderful aeroplanes, and I like knowing how things work.

Garage lab 1967

Garage lab 1969

Telescope on an altazimuth mount

that I designed and built

Moon photo from the telescope, developed and printed in my own darkroom