Conrad Jung, has the title of “Staff Astronomer” at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. No one is exactly sure how long he has had that job, including him, but it may be as early as the early 1980’s.
Prior to that he held the title of “Student Assistant” at Chabot starting when he was in 9th Grade, which was approximately 1971. Conrad started coming to Chabot when he was in third grade, and by the ninth grade he was grinding his first mirror under the supervision ofPaul Zurakowski. He has been a member of the Eastbay Astronomical Society since approximately 1973, when he was in the 11th grade.
Conrad has played a leading and central role in the operation, maintenance, and preservation of the three large telescopes at Chabot Observatory. This includes the 136 year-old 8 inch Alvin Clarke reflector, Chabot’s 105 year-old 20 inch Brashear Refractor, and the observatory’s 16 year-old 36 inch reflector. Conrad was involved in guaranteeing the safe movement of these telescopes from the old location off Mountain Blvd., in Oakland to the new location at 10000 Skyline Blvd., in Roberts Regional Park. Day in and day out, for more than 30 years Conrad has lead, trained, and supervised hundreds of volunteers in the operation of those telescopes for public viewing at Chabot.
In doing so, very conservatively estimated, he has enabled more them 300,000 people to observe the beauties of the night sky on Chabot’s regular viewing nights. Without his soft spoken and self-effacing leadership, and his legendary caution and conservatism in guaranteeing the safety of the telescopes, and his thoroughness in the training of a remarkable number of telescope volunteers, it is doubtful this would have been possible.
In addition to the regular viewing programs that Chabot provides on Friday and Saturday nights, Conrad has also led something close to approximately 1000 additional programs for school children, scouts, and adults in his more than 30 years as staff astronomer, resulting in approximately an additional 100,000 people looking through Chabot’s telescopes.
He has been a regular volunteer at the Eastbay Astronomical Society’s frequent outreach events at schools and libraries all over the east bay, attending an estimated 10 events per year.
He is also a well-known and remarkable Astro-photographer, being one of the few “amateur” astronomers to have his images exhibited at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. He has also taught astrophotography to amateur astronomers at Chabot.
He has won a number of awards including the Eastbay Astronomical Society’s Helen Pillans award, the W.A.A. Goodricke award and awards from the AANC. He was also the very first winner of the AANC Messier award!
Conrad has always been the last one in the world to toot his own horn. We are very hard pressed to think of an amateur astronomer in the San Francisco bay area who has a higher accomplishment-and-service to self-promotion ratio then he.
It is WAA’s honor to award the 2019 G. Bruce Blair Medal to Conrad Jung.