Harcourt Ace Vernon Lecture
Behind his residence on Halsey Street in Brooklyn in the 1920’s, a young high school science student blew up his back yard while experimenting with chemicals. By the 1940’s, he had graduated from MIT with a degree in chemical engineering. As a research engineer for DuPont, he held a leading role in the Manhattan Project. This man was Harcourt C. “Ace” Vernon, the person for whom the Vernon Lecture Series is named.
When Sputnik was launched in 1957, he gathered a group of friends on the roof of the DuPont Experimental Station. They photographed the satellite and positioned it with an order of magnitude of greater accuracy than the Smithsonian achieved with their multiple telescopes and instruments. This small group of Sputnik trackers added others and founded the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Observatory, Inc.
Harcourt C. “Ace” Vernon was known for his love of learning at the frontiers of science and his desire to invest knowledge in others.
The Vernon Lectures were established under the sponsorship of Mt. Cuba Astronomical Observatory in his name to continue his tradition of exploring the frontier of astronomy and physics by bringing outstanding lecturers to ignite the probing interest of young and old alike.