Meet Our Friendly Staff!


Tom Burns, Director

A professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University, Tom is a fervent amateur astronomer. Throughout the years, he has given thousands of talks and programs on Astronomy, and has built more than 50 telescopes. His ever popular "Nickel Tour of the Universe" is a sure crowd pleaser. Look for his weekly column about Astronomy in the Tuesday edition of the Columbus Dispatch (in the "Insight" section). One of Tom's hobbies includes launching LARGE model rockets (the kind that go more than a mile up in the air). Tom has been Director of Perkins since May of 1992, and before that, a volunteer here for more than 10 years.

Don Stevens, Technical and Program Assistant

Our resident skeptic and freethinker. Don joined the staff of Perkins in 2003 after seven years as a volunteer. He runs the 32" telescope, gives astronomy and science lectures, takes care of the computers, is webmaster of this site, and assist with the public programs. When not at Perkins Observatory he can usually be found at a coffee shop with an espresso in one hand and a book in the other. Don is working to complete his astrophysics degree. He is also a member of the Columbus Astronomical Society and a former officer.


Noted Volunteers


jay_eJay Elkes, CAS Volunteer

One of the most active volunteer here at Perkins, Jay has been a member of the Columbus Astronomical Society for about 20 years (and is a former President, Vice President, Secretary, and Trustee of the Society... Why would they not let him be Treasurer?). As a volunteer, Jay frequently gives highly enjoyable tours of the Observatory.

doug_bDoug Berube, CAS Volunteer

Doug has always been interested in the sciences. Doug’s enthusiasm for astronomy was sparked by watching Carl Sagan’s television series the ‘Cosmos’ and here are a couple of Sagan’s quotes that have inspired Doug to explore the universe through a telescope. “There is much that science doesn’t understand, many mysteries still to be resolved. In a Universe tens of billions of light-years across and some ten or fifteen billions years old, this may be the case forever. We are constantly stumbling on new surprises” and “Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge,” Carl Sagan. Doug volunteers at Perkins Observatory because it is a place of science for practicing astronomy and experience the wonders of the cosmos. Doug often says, "Perkins is the place for space!"

Charlie Sigrist, CAS Volunteer

Charlie Sigrist is a long-time amateur astronomer and CAS member. Charlie always appreciates the opportunity to share his passion for astronomy with adults and children. You will see him on the front lawn of Perkins Observatory showing guests the wonders of the universe through the 15 inch dobsonian telescope. He especially enjoys hearing the excitement of viewers who experience viewing through a telescope for the first time.

Emeritus Staff & Volunteers Page