California Academy of Sciences 150th Anniversary Celebration
150th Anniversary Celebration 150 Years: A Timeline 150 Years of Research The New Academy
Operations Division staff in the Instrument Shop.

G Dallas Hanna, Curator of Paleontology, creates an Instrument Shop to make and repair scientific instruments. Albert S. “Jimmy” Getten is the Academy’s first instrument maker.

The Instrument Shop expands into an optical repair facility for the U.S. Navy. Staff technicians repair periscopes, sextants, gunsights and binoculars for the Pacific fleet.

In addition to building Morrison Planetarium’s unique star projector, shop technicians design a grand Foucault pendulum. They begin producing Foucault pendulums for institutions worldwide.

Technicians produce many electro-mechanical systems for Wild California and Life Through Time, plus other exhibits and remodeling projects.

Shop Supervisor Cary Ponchione continues to manufacture Foucault pendulums for installations throughout the world — almost 100 of them at last count!

Anthropology | Aquatic Biology | Botany | Entomology | Herpetology | Ichthyology | IZG | Library | Ornithology & Mammalogy | Steinhart Aquarium | Morrison Planetarium | Education | Exhibits | Operations | Academy Store

Instrument Shop | Scientific Invention

Hands-on Know-How
Today’s Instrument Shop is part of the Operations Division, which includes building services, electrical, electronics, and audio-visual sections. Shop technicians build and repair equipment for Academy exhibits and research.

Stellar Techs
Supervised by “Jimmy” Getten and G Dallas Hanna, shop technicians designed and built an excellent, one-of-a-kind star projector for Morrison Planetarium in 1952. To complement the star projector, they also created an array of optical orreries and other planetarium projection equipment.
Scooping Up Clams
For an Academy scientist studying the biology of the Delta-Mendota Canal from 1972 to 1974, machinist Dave Lyman designed a unique, site-specific dredge to take clam samples from the steep-sided, swiftly flowing, concrete-lined canal.

Miles of Wire
In the same spirit of collaboration that built the Star Projector in the 1950s, the Operations Division and Planetarium staff worked together forty years later to upgrade and fully automate the star projector. The modernization was accomplished during 1989 and 1990.


150th Anniversary Celebration | 150 Years: A Timeline | 150 Years of Research | The New Academy

©2003 California Academy of Sciences


California Academy of Sciences 150th Anniversary Celebration