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TECHDAY 25 August Birthday of science patron

Birthday of James Lick | American patron of sciences | Techday, August 25th 

On this TECHDAY in history, on August 25th 1796, James Lick was born. He was an American patron of the sciences, real estate magnate, carpenter and piano builder. After he passed away he inherited his enormous fortune to social causes and to science. Among other bequests, he left 700.000 dollars to the University of California, for the specific use of the construction of an observatory and the installation of the world’s most potent telescope (at the time). In 1888, the project was completed and delivered to the University of California, and was named Lick Astronomical Department. This was the first mountain top observatory to employ regular staff.

Lick began his working career as a carpenter and cabinetmaker in his father’s business, but quickly moved on to other ventures. He eventually made a fortune in real estate and construction in the rapidly growing city of San Francisco during the California Gold Rush. He also invested in a number of other successful business ventures, including flour mills, a hotel, and a theater. Lick was known for his philanthropy, and he made significant donations to a number of charitable causes throughout his lifetime, including the construction of the Lick Observatory, which was completed after his death. He passed away on October 1, 1876, in San Francisco.

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