Synopsis by Mark Deming
John Dobson is a man responsible for a quiet revolution in astronomy. Born in 1916, Dobson was born to a family of missionaries in Beijing, where his grandfather helped found Peking University. Dobson received a degree in chemistry from the University of California in Berkeley in 1943, and not long after entered a Hindu monastery. Before long, however, Dobson developed a passionate interest in the stars, and he found a way to build his own telescopes, which were effective but inexpensive to make. Leaving the monastery, Dobson became a "sidewalk astronomer," setting up one of his homemade instruments on the sidewalk in his adopted hometown of San Francisco and inviting passers-by to take a look at the moon and the stars. Others began following Dobson's technique for making telescopes, and his zeal to educate others about the wonders of the night sky made him a popular speaker all over the world. A Sidewalk Astronomer is a documentary about John Dobson's remarkable life, displaying his remarkable inventions (which he didn't patent, so they could be used by anyone), following him on a lecture tour, and giving him an opportunity to share his beliefs about science and the world around us all.
astronomy, chemistry, inventor, solar-system, stars [astronomy], telescope