David Dunlap Observatory: The Dunlap Observatory was established in 1935 by the University of Toronto. In 2008 the observatory was transferred to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The observatory includes a 74-inch reflecting telescope as well as many smaller telescopes.
Credit: Courtesy John H Martin, CC-BY-SA 3.0
Then, in my first year at the University of Toronto I was in a course called “Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.” It was a common course that all the math and science majors took, after which one could go on to become a math major, or a chemistry major, or a physics major, which included astronomy. That first year I was thinking strongly about chemistry. However, I enjoyed doing physics so much more. In those days calculus was not studied at the high school level, so that was my first experience with calculus. I really loved how physics came alive once you understood calculus. It finally seemed sensible to me. But chemistry, I discovered, was not for me. I have always been a somewhat awkward person and I managed to destroy experiments that took weeks to carry out before they were done, and then I’d have to repeat them. I decided I wasn’t really cut out for chemistry, but I was becoming more and more interested in physics.
In my second year at university I had the option of taking my first astronomy class. I did, and I loved it. In those days we used to go to the David Dunlap Observatory, which was in Richmond Hill, about 45 minutes away from the university, to work with some of the smaller telescopes there. I loved that, too! The next summer I was able to get a job working for one of the astronomy professors at the observatory, and I became convinced that was the direction I was going to take.