The door to Griffith Observatory in LA

Thursday Doors: Griffith Observatory

This post goes along with my previous post about my trip to Griffith Park and Observatory where I saw the Foucault’s Pendulum. It also goes along with my posts about NASA Ames and Hangar One.


I love space! Even today, one of my favorite lessons to teach is Celestial Mechanics. I feel mostly incomprehension, and a little pity, for people whose reaction to scientific stories about the physics of the universe is tepid, at best. Even when faced with a real story about how the building blocks of the cosmos were forged, they always want to know about the humans. (Note the Hollywood sign in the distance!)


But then, I haven’t really emotionally absorbed the lessons of relativity, and like a kid, I still like to pretend to believe in the possibility of Warp Drive. The study of astronomy has always seemed to me to be a bit like what is pictured on the featured door: an ancient runic language, the deciphering of which would yield the key to the secrets of the universe.


I can’t be the only one who has thought this way. The way the observatory is built, on a hilltop overlooking a vast domain, reminds me of the pyramids of ancient Egypt, or Stonehenge.


And the doors here too make you feel like you are entering an inner sanctum.


This telescope isn’t used for research anymore. It’s too small, and the light pollution from the surrounding area makes it hard to see anything but the brightest of objects. But people still line up by the hundreds on clear nights to get a chance to look through it.


Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Visit Norm 2.0’s post for this week and feel free to join in the fun!


12 thoughts on “Thursday Doors: Griffith Observatory”

  1. At the time it was pretty much expected that you would do a postdoc after your PhD if you wanted to continue in research. I thought I wanted to continue in research and I was considering looking for an academic research position, but I’m glad I didn’t ultimately go that route. It is so competitive and funding is so scarce these days that a lot of the joy has been sucked out of doing science at that level. Or at least it would have been for me, because I don’t thrive on being hyper-busy and doing a million things at once in a fast-paced, stressful environment. I was always more interested in how the scientific method can be incorporated into daily life, anyway. So I prefer teaching general science, and how to think like a scientist, to school-age students.


  2. Lived about 1 1/2 -2 hrs. South from Griffith park. And the observatory is the best part:) Most tourists are too enamored about “what they heard about certain people” who live or have lived in the LA area. That halo disappears when one has lived here for a while. There maybe more people like you and I though, only you do not hear about the like minded ones. Yes, on clear nights it’s busy here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually lived close to this area (in Pasadena) in the 1990’s. I visited Griffith Park then too. It was during my postdoc at Caltech. I went there from grad school at Stanford, which is close to where I live now in Mountain View. Before I moved south I kept hearing about how awful and superficial SoCal was, but it turned out much better than I expected. I ended up liking it there quite a lot. I’d consider going back if I had a work or personal reason to go.


      1. What is not known is that hardworking middle class does not live at the beach or the touristy areas! Even doctoral people often live in these areas, like I did. Can’t remember if I ever told, my doc in clinical psy. was the reason we moved from Holland.
        What made you decide on a postdoc? (some more gruesome hours and tests, etc.)

        Liked by 1 person

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