Astronomic Philanthropy or something else? (i.e. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts...)
Let's examine some of the characters...
Griffith J. Griffith --
Griffith Jenkins Griffith (January 4, 1850 – July 6, 1919) was a Welsh-American industrialist and philanthropist. After amassing a significant fortune from a mining syndicate in the 1880s, Griffith donated 3,015 acres (12.20 km2) to the City of Los Angeles which became Griffith Park, and he bequeathed the money to build the park's Greek Theatre and Griffith Observatory.
--What a peculiar combination... an observatory and a theater named "Greek" (inside joke?) It's currently not exactly the prime property one would want to host a telescope either, what with all the light pollution from Los Angeles. It sure made a great field trip from school in my youth, though.
In 1878 G. J. Griffith became mining correspondent for the Alta California, a San Francisco newspaper. As a reporter he gained extensive knowledge of the mining industry on the Pacific Coast and in Nevada, which led to his employment by various mining syndicates. As a mining expert, Griffith acquired a fortune.
--According to this author, his riches were made via what would be better known as "insider trading" today-- http://www.mikebetette.com/griffith-park.php
While vacationing in Santa Monica on September 3, 1903, Griffith shot his wife in the presidential suite of the Arcadia Hotel, as she knelt on the floor before him. Surprisingly, the shot did not kill her, but she was left disfigured and lost her right eye. In the sensational case, Griffith was charged with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to commit murder. The prosecution was led by Henry T. Gage, former governor of California. Griffith was defended by noted attorney Earl Rogers, whose cross-examination of the veiled Mrs. Griffith revealed that her husband — generally thought to be a teetotaler — was in fact a secret drunk who was subject to paranoid delusions. Griffith was convicted of a lesser charge, assault with a deadly weapon. The judge sentenced him to two years in San Quentin State Prison, instructing that he be given "medical aid for his condition of alcoholic insanity."
(Griffith's attorney in above case, Earl Rogers ended up becoming the inspiration for the character, Perry Mason. His Wiki is a very worthwhile read along with that of his journalist daughter. Gage's is quite interesting as well -- looks to have also gotten into mining as a scheme among others.)
Samuel Oschin --
Samuel Oschin (1914–2003), born in Detroit, was a Los Angeles entrepreneur and philanthropist who was dedicated to giving back to the Los Angeles community. Oschin's successful business ventures in manufacturing, banking, investment, and real estate development enabled philanthropic work in many areas (astronomy, medicine, education, and the arts).
After a generous donation to Palomar Observatory, the 48-inch Schmidt telescope there was renamed for him. Other organisations named for him include the Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Hospital and the planetarium at Griffith Observatory. A new addition to the California Science Center, to be called the Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, will be the permanent home of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which will be on temporary display in the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Display Pavilion, opening October 30, 2012.
-- Viewing one of the various productions at the planetarium is truly the highlight of one's trip to Griffith that undoubtedly keeps folks coming back year after year. On a side note, do any of these philanthropic donations for the medical profession ever accomplish anything but to finance larger buildings and new exotic methods for treatments rather than to seek out solutions to the actual cures?
Palomar Observatory -- (Rockefeller Foundation)
Palomar Observatory is a privately owned astronomical observatory located in San Diego County, California, United States, 145 kilometers (90 mi) southeast of Los Angeles, California, in the Palomar Mountain Range. It is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) located in Pasadena, California. Research time is granted to Caltech and its research partners, which include the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Cornell University.
The observatory operates several telescopes, including the famous 200-inch (5.1 m) Hale Telescope and the 48-inch (1.2 m) Samuel Oschin Telescope. In addition, other instruments and projects have been hosted at the observatory, such as the Palomar Testbed Interferometer and the historic 18-inch (0.46 m) Schmidt telescope, Palomar Observatory's first telescope, dating from 1936.
The 200-inch telescope is named after astronomer George Hale. It was built by Caltech with a $6 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, using a Pyrex blank manufactured by Corning Glass Works. Dr. J.A. Anderson was the initial project manager assigned in the early 1940s. The telescope (the largest in the world at that time) saw first light January 26, 1949 targeting NGC 2261. The American astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble, perhaps the most important observer of the 20th century, was given the honor of being the first astronomer to use the telescope.
Astronomers using the Hale Telescope have discovered distant objects at the edges of the known universe called quasars and have given us the first direct evidence of stars in distant galaxies. They have studied the structure and chemistry of intergalactic clouds leading to an understanding of the synthesis of elements in the universe and have discovered thousands of asteroids. A one-tenth-scale engineering model of the telescope at Corning Community College in Corning, New York, home of the Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated) was used to discover at least one minor planet, (34419) Corning.†
The Carnegie Observatories were launched in 1904 when George Ellery Hale, seeking clearer skies than existed near his native Chicago, obtained support from the newly formed Carnegie Institution of Washington to found the Mount Wilson Solar Observatory in the mountains near Pasadena. Hale built both the 60” and 100” telescopes on Mount Wilson, each the largest in the world at the time of their completion. It was with these instruments that Carnegie astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered and first described the expanding universe.
In 1969, the focus of Carnegie observations moved to the Las Campanas Observatory, set high in the southern reaches of Chile's Atacama Desert. At an altitude of 2,400 meters, in a region of dark, clear skies and excellent seeing that is unsurpassed by any site on Earth, reside the Carnegie Observatories’ telescopes. The principal telescopes at Las Campanas are the Swope 1-meter telescope, the du Pont 2.5-meter telescope, and the twin 6.5-meter Magellan Telescopes. Carnegie operates the Magellan Telescopes for a consortium whose other members are Harvard, MIT, and the Universities of Arizona and Michigan. The twin 6.5-meter Magellan telescopes are widely considered to be the best natural imaging telescopes in the world.
(The du Pont telescope in the Chilean observatory is a nice touch... The growing of hemp, of course was outlawed in the U.S. just as du Pont's Nylon was coming into the scene, but that's a different story
) -- http://cluesforum.info/viewtopic.php?f= ... 6#p2390276
Edwin Hubble --
As a result of Hubble's work, our perception of mankind's place in the Universe has changed forever: humans have once again been set aside from the centre of the Universe. When scientists decided to name the Space Telescope after the founder of modern cosmology the choice could not have been more appropriate.
...the son of an insurance executive...
...the combination of athletic prowess and academic ability earned him a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford. There, a promise made to his dying father, who never accepted Edwin's infatuation for astronomy, led him to study law rather than science...
He studied Roman and English Law at Oxford and returned to the United States only in 1913. Here he passed the bar examination and practised law half-heartedly for a year in Kentucky, where his family was then living.
When the school term ended in May 1914, Hubble decided to pursue his first passion and so returned to university as a graduate student to study more astronomy.
A new era for astronomy begins
The famous British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking wrote in his book A Brief History of Time that Hubble's "discovery that the Universe is expanding was one of the great intellectual revolutions of the 20th century." Who could have guessed such a future for Edwin when he began his PhD in Astronomy at Chicago University in 1914?
Hmm... a Rhodes scholar certainly puts him in with an "elite" group of folks. The providers of the scholarship couldn't possibly have been too happy about his about-face, could they?
Established in 1902, it was the first large-scale programme of international scholarships, and is widely considered the "world's most prestigious scholarship" by many public sources such as Time, Yale University Press, The McGill Reporter, and Associated Press.
"For more than a century, Rhodes scholars have left Oxford with virtually any job available to them. For much of this time, they have overwhelmingly chosen paths in scholarship, teaching, writing, medicine, scientific research, law, the military, and public service. They have reached the highest levels in virtually all fields."
Is it "they have reached" or is "they have been allowed to reach" more appropriate? Check out the list of Rhodes Scholars and decide for yourself.
http://www.spacetelescope.org/about/his ... _the_name/