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Alternative Astronomy: Experiment in Self-Sufficiency Blossoms

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Science  23 Sep 1977:
Vol. 197, Issue 4310, pp. 1267-1305
DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4310.1267


Half a dozen astronomy graduate students facing meager job prospects decide they would rather fight than switch. They drop out of the postdoctoral rat race, move to California, and establish a close-knit if impoverished community centered around astronomy. They build their own observatory complete with a telescope superior to those of many universities and incorporating the latest in modern electronic instruments, all the while maintaining their independence and doing without government grants. They undertake an ambitious research effort and win the respect, admiration, and even envy of prominent astronomers.