Once upon a time Silicon Valley was known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight and famous for its orchards and fruit trees and for having one of the earliest wineries in California. It was also know for having one of the oldest observatories in Western USA. The Lick Observatory was built towards the close of the 19thc and played a key role in proving Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
What was it like to live in the Valley of Heart’s Delight? Why was the Lick Observatory built in Silicon Valley and how did it come to play a role in proving Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? We turned to Lisa Newman and Tony Misch to find answers to these questions.
Lisa Newman is a city planner and an author, who grew up in Saratoga in what was then known as The Valley of Heart’s Delight. She grew up in a house surrounded by fruit trees like apricots, French prunes and peaches. Newman captures and shares her memories in her debut cookbook For The Love of Apricots . The book is a wonderful mix of Newman’s original recipes featuring her favorite fruit apricots along with the history of how and why these orchards disappeared.
From fruit trees and orchards we go back in time to 19thc Northern California to find out what prompted millionaire James Lick to fork out his money to build an observatory near San Jose. The Lick Observatory was the world’s first permanently occupied mountain-top observatory shares Tony Misch, Director, Lick Observatory Historical Collections Project. Misch shares how the observatory came to be built and how some of the early astronomers at the observatory were women and how it came to be involved in proving Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
Tune back later this week for our conversation with Lisa Newman. Next week we will feature our conversation with Tony Misch.
Both these conversations aired on TV in the US.