But let me tell you of a man who truly deserves the appellation, "genius". John Dobson was a Buddhist monk and star watcher who saw the universe as a way of understanding and appreciating things on a very deep level and wanted to share the vision with as many people as possible. In the 60's Dobson had an inspired moment and designed a simple, cheap mounting system for reflecting telescopes. Now this sounds fairly mundane, if clever. But here is the genius behind Dobson's invention; The Dobsonian Mount opened up the universe to amateur astronomers by providing inexpensive technology to support very large telescopes.
In the 60's a large amateur telescope was at most 8 inches in diameter, the primary mirror being able to be held in the palm of one's hand. And while it was fun to look through these insruments, that's all it was - fun.
The "Dob" allowed amateurs to mount increasingly large mirrors onto their telescope rigs - 10, 20, 30 even 40" monster scopes were now in the service of amateurs enabling them to see objects of such exquisite detail and faintness that amateur astronomy was transformed forever.
The legacy of Dobson's genius was not so much his invention as the opportunity it provided to people standing in their back yards glimpsing the deep, distant universe as no other generation on Earth has ever done. Dobson, who died recently aged 99, never patented his invention, bequeathing it to every man, woman and child on the planet who has the curiosity to look up on clear, still nights - and wonder.