I became interested in astronomy 10 years-old when I saw Saturn through a telescope at my local astronomy society. As a youngster interested in astronomy, cash was in limited supply so as I grew older, my parents helped to subsidize an attempt at making my own telescope. It was a 15 centimeter Dobsonian Newtonian reflecting telescope.
The "Newtonian reflector" phrase describes the optical design of the instrument, while the term "Dobsonian" refers to the style of the mount. It was a beautifully simple style of mount that allowed even me as a young teenager a chance at making one myself out of wood.
Little did I realize at the time that the man who invented it was himself an amateur astronomer.
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John Dobson was born in China on Sept. 14, 1915, and his family moved to California in 1927. There he spent 23 years in a monastery even though as a teen he was a self-proclaimed 'belligerent atheist.' He achieved a Masters Degree in Chemistry in 1943 at the age of 28 and just a year later became a monk of the Ramakrishna Order.