Fund for Astrophysical Research
A Brief History star spacer Theodore Dunham, Jr. Grants for Research in Astronomy star spacer
Grant Recipients star spacer Officers and Trustees star spacer About Theodore Dunham, Jr. star spacer Home


Founded in 1936 by Charles G. Thompson and Alice Bemis Thompson, the F.A.R. has supported astronomical and astrophysical projects in the United States, Australia and New Zealand through loans and gifts of funds and optical equipment. Theodore Dunham, Jr. served as its Scientific Director from its founding until his death in 1984.

For its first 50 years, the F.A.R. was an operating foundation, purchasing and figuring mirrors, gratings and other equipment which it made available to astronomical projects at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California and the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Australia, with particular emphasis on spectroscopy. The F.A.R. also studied the use of obsidian for mirrors under a contract with the U.S. Office of Naval Research. Plans were made for Project Canopus, an observatory to be established at the University of Tasmania. Finally, Dr. Dunham designed a 0.3 meter telescope with an unconventional computer-driven alt-alt mounting that was installed in October 1985 on the campus of the University of Chicago. After Dr. Dunham's death, the F.A.R. augmented its endowment by selling its scientific equipment and began a program of making small grants.

Trustees and Officers: The F.A.R.'s Board of Trustees is composed of five astronomers and a lawyer.

Astronomers who have previously served as Trustees have included Lawrence H. Aller (UCLA), Stanley J. Czyzak (Ohio State U.), Theodore Dunham, Jr., Gerald E. Kron (U.S. Naval Observatory), C.R. O'Dell (U. of Chicago), Harlan J. Smith (U. of Texas), George Wallerstein (U. of Washington), Charles A. Whitney (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) and K.O. Wright (Dominion Astrophysical Observatory). Others who have served as Trustees have included Robert H. Blair-Smith (lawyer), Miriam Phillips Dunham, Walter Kilham (architect), Alice Bemis Thompson, Charles G. Thompson (lawyer) and George N. Appell (social anthropologist).

Previous Scientific Advisers have included H.H. Plaskett, F.R.S. (Oxford U.), Henry Norris Russell (Princeton U. and Mount Wilson Observatory), Walter S. Adams (Mount Wilson Observatory), Harlow Shapley (Harvard College Observatory) and James G. Baker (Harvard College Observatory).