Lick's Future: The Evolving Story

The Challenge

Citing budget stringency, the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) has announced its intention to terminate funding for Lick in 2018. Lick operations currently cost $1.5 million per year. Unless these funds are replaced, the telescopes will close. Also closing will be the public programs, including access to the 36-inch refractor and the Main Building.

UCOP has allocated three years to find alternative sources of funds. It is conducting a Lick Transition Study to identify alternative funds and to estimate the costs of closing Lick outright and returning the site to pristine condition. UCOP seeks partners who are interested in assuming a share of Lick operations going forward.

APF Telescope

The newly commissioned 2.4 meter Automated Planet Finder telescope at Lick Observatory. Photo: John Sebastian Russo, The Chronicle 2010.

The Vision

Lick needs help and support to find continuing operating resources. A newly appointed Lick Observatory Council, comprised of dedicated senior scientists and private citizens, has pledged their help. The emerging vision for Lick's future is unique and compelling. It would marry the unique features of the existing, forefront observatory to an enlarged and invigorated major science education center, permitting the partnership to reap the fruits of research and use them to create exciting venues for research, outreach, and inspiration. With its breathtaking site, historic ambiance, world-class equipment and astronomers, and proximity to millions in the Bay Area, such a center could become THE magnet for physical science education in northern California.

Fundraising Strategies

All options are on the table. Approaches include federal and state grants for science and education, partnerships with industry and other universities, state and federal park funds, commercial ventures, private foundations, and private individuals. We need your help and suggestions! Go to Help Save Lick to learn more.