In what may be a first, a new fellowship at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is designed to support graduate work in astronomical instrument building.

In 1996, Sally Bachman Allen, reacting to an article in her local paper, sent a small sum to UCSC toward repairing the dome of the oldest telescope at Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, some 30 kilometers east of San Jose. With her contribution, she included a note saying that her grandfather, Henry Bachmann, had been an instrument maker for the observatory in the early 20th century.

Enter university development officers. They did their homework, turning up, among other relics, a spectrograph built by Bachmann, photos, and even people who knew him or Allen’s father, who grew up on the mountain. It wasn’t hard to persuade Allen and her banker husband, C. Donald Allen Jr, to endow a chair for astronomical instrumentation. The Allens’ $350‥000 gift includes an annual graduate fellowship. “I wanted to do something that would honor both my father and my grandfather, and hopefully attract graduate students who have talent but not necessarily funding,” says Allen.

Lick director Joseph Miller is the first Bachmann Professor, and the first recipient of the chair’s accompanying stipend is his student Andrew Sheinis, who has designed and built instruments for the Keck telescopes.