Building It

Descartes’ panegyric inspired me to make inquiries into getting my grandfather’s mirror refurbished. I found a west-coast business online that would inspect, refigure, and alumnize it at a manageable price. But as I knew absolutely nothing about mirrors or telescopes, I wanted some indication before sending the mirror off that it was worth it at all. A little more online searching and I discovered a mirror grinding workshop only twenty minutes away from the campus where I live and teach, sponsored by the National Capital Astronomers. I emailed the organizer, who told me he’d be happy to take a look; so one evening in November I went to the workshop to have the mirror – much tarnished and scratched – evaluated. The folks at the workshop, much impressed by this meaningful heirloom,  first convinced me not only that the mirror was salvageable and then asked when I would start. And voilà, a new ATMer was born!

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