The G. Bruce Blair Award

Dr. Gilbert Bruce Blair was born September 13, 1879 in Blairsburg, Iowa and studied at both Tabor and Washburn Colleges in Kansas. He continued his graduate work at University of California, Chicago and Kansas majoring in Physics. He also held a fellowship at Lick Observatory. Dr. Blair taught astronomy at Washburn from 1907 to 1919, and then moved westward, where he taught at the University of Nevada in Reno until his death in 1949. In 1936, Dr. Blair organized the Astronomical Society of the University of Nevada. He is the founder of the Western Amateur Astronomers.

Dr. Blair envisioned a grand meeting, to be held once a year, which would bring western amateur astronomers together to exchange ideas and to meet each other.  The first Western Amateur Astronomers conference was held at USC in August 1949.  200 delegates from 23 organization attended.  It rained!  A month later Dr. Blair died of a heart ailment.  Dr. Blair's obituary ran in the October 1949 Sky and Telescope magazine.

The sixth WAA Convention was held in August 1954 at the Josephine Randall Junior Museum in San Francisco and was hosted by the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, whos till hold their meetings at the Randall Museum today.  At that meeting, WAA presented the first G. Bruce Blair Medal to Albert G. Ingalls, editor of the Amateur Telescope Making books.  The G. Bruce Blair medal was designed by Eastbay Astronomical Society member Frank Kettewell, who was a cartoonist for the Oakland Tribune. The seventh convention was held in 1955 at Yosemite National Park.  A.L.P.O founder Walter E. Haas received the second WAA G. Bruce Blair Medal. List of recipients.


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