2015 G. Bruce Blair Award

Presented at the RTMC Conference
Timothy Thompson

Volunteer, organizer, leader, educator, speaker in amateur astronomy for 40 years

Tim Thompson was an active public outreach volunteer and organizer in the Monterey Park Astronomical Society for 12 years, beginning in 1975 until the MPAS disbanded in 1987, at which time he joined the Los Angeles Astronomical Society. He served as President of the MPAS for many years, has served as President of the LAAS for a total of 10 years, and has otherwise been a member of the LAAS Board of Directors through most of the last 27 years. Through both societies, he has been an active participant in public outreach and amateur astronomy at the Garvey Ranch Park Observatory in the city of Monterey Park, operated by the MPAS and now by the LAAS, spending at least one night a week at the observatory almost continuously throughout the last 40 years, answering questions and showing the sky in the observatory telescope (originally a 7.25-inch refractor, now an 8-inch refractor). He has also been active through the LAAS at Griffith Observatory public outreach events for over 20 years. In 2004 he received the LAAS Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tim Thompson was a member of the group that started the docent training program for Mount Wilson Observatory and has been a tour guide at the observatory for over 30 years. The same group started the training program for special docents or “session directors,” to manage visitors in the 60-inch telescope at the observatory, once it was open to public viewing in 1998. He has been one of the primary drivers of public outreach at Mount Wilson Observatory, serving as docent and session director, personally introducing hundreds of people to astronomy at the observatory, and many more indirectly, by training volunteers for the observatory.

Tim Thompson has been a prolific public speaker for astronomy clubs, civic groups, and private functions for many years. This has been by itself a significant contribution to educating both the public and amateur astronomers. He is supported by a 28-year career in astronomy and geophysics at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, allowing knowledgeable presentations.

His long service in the Monterey Park and Los Angeles Astronomical Societies, at Mount Wilson Observatory, and as a well-regarded public speaker, merits Tim Thompson as 2015 recipient of the G. Bruce Blair Medal.

Congratulations Tim Thompson

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