An image of the total solar eclipse of 1889 as recorded by the Washington University Eclipse Expedition to the Sacramento Valley of California.

Eclipse chasers and new planet tracers

Long before GPS satellites and NASA, Washington University astronomers played a central role in the scientific observation of total solar eclipses — including a search for the elusive planet Vulcan in the late 1800s.
Michael Frachetti excavating in Tashbulak

Targeted excavating leads to lost city

Using modern, high-tech analysis tools, anthropologist Michael Frachetti is leading groundbreaking research on an ancient city high in the Uzbekistan mountains. The site may hold clues to how medieval civilizations changed when diverse communities integrated — and even suggest how we might consider our own current initiatives of global community-building.


The Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton in California circa 1880.

Observations eclipse early obstacles

Chancellor William Chauvenet nurtured Edward S. Holden’s interest in astronomy on the campus of Washington University, but Holden’s initial fascination with the field sprang from a series of circumstances associated with childhood tragedy.

An excerpt from "Caroline Isle: 4000 Miles Across The Pacific: 3 weeks on Coral Atoll. English & American Eclipse Expedition of 1883," by Winslow Jpton, U.S. Singal Service, Washington & c. Ray Woods, Science & Art Dept., S. Kensington, London.

Eclipse in rhyme

Edward S. Holden’s 1883 expedition report to the National Academies was written with all due respect. However, a handwritten note, written in rhyme, from a crew member of the U.S.S. Hartford suggests the voyagers enjoyed lighter moments as well.

In January 2017, Professor Lee Epstein team-taught a three-day course on the Roberts court. Her co-instructor, Adam Liptak (not pictured), covers the Supreme Court for The New York Times. (Photo by Joe Angeles/WUSTL Photos)

Judging the Supreme Court

The justices of the nation’s highest court have a bird’s-eye view of the nation’s discord. But Lee Epstein trains her binoculars on them as they do their work.

Mike Keymer in front of a white board.

Unexpected innovation

Mike Keymer, BS ’98, founded Topspin Labs, which works at the cutting edge of data and technology. Keymer, through Topspin, partners with ­organizations to find other applications for their technology and create a startup around that new use.

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