Fred Wagner – Astronomy Instructor

SWC has been fortunate to have Fred Wagner as a volunteer Astronomy Course instructor for four semesters. His interest in astronomy started when “Sputnik” was sent into space in 1957 (grade 7), armed only with coloured glass over a telescope plus sunglasses – “not recommended,” stated Fred.

While having a keen interest in Astronomy, Fred’s career was primarily spent working at the Bank of Canada in Toronto, Ottawa and the surrounding area. His time in the banking industry was spent gathering, analyzing and sharing data which would later have a very practical application. For example, before retiring in 1996, Fred worked on cost justification of a two dollar coin versus the two dollar banknote; the toonie being the end result; something to which we can all relate.

Retirement for Fred merely meant switching to other fields of interest for work. He worked at the Frederic Remington Art Museum, the Upstate National Bank (he has dual citizenship), at US Airways at the Ogdensburg airport and at St. Lawrence College teaching computer courses and astronomy.

Fred has volunteered with the OPP in community policing and search and rescue, done long distance bicycle riding (completing many 100 mile rides in Canada and the USA), and he earned his pilot’s licence.

Fred enjoys teaching the SWC Astronomy Course. As he states, “…it is astronomy in the large sense…from the Big Bang and fusion within the stars…with some quantum mechanics.” He enjoys using analogies (rather than Math) along with his “toys” of magnets, ping pong balls etc. to demonstrate various concepts. Fred is encouraged by the fact that many SWC class members share newspaper articles on new astronomy topics and they return to the Astronomy Course again and again.

Fred and his wife Vivienne, from Australia, moved to Brockville in 2003. The membership of SWC are enriched by his volunteer service with us.

Compiled by Cheryl Nix Newsletter Editor

Posted 03/28/2015

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