Curator and John H. and Drusa B. Cable Chair of the History of Science Collections
Bio blurb by Robin Roads, for the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club:
Kerry V. Magruder earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Truman State University in Missouri and a doctorate in history of science from the University of Oklahoma. His background includes teaching high school chemistry and biology, directing a university planetarium, and teaching university astronomy, geology, science education and history of science. Since 2000, Dr. Magruder has served in the History of Science Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries. In 2009 he became Curator and in 2011 received the John H. and Drusa B. Cable Chair.
As a young kid, Kerry marveled at the sight of the Milky Way, which could be seen almost every night in the dark northeastern Missouri skies. He remembers just looking up at the myriad of stars, and sometimes feeling lost in the wonder of it all. He never really thought of himself as an astronomer; the night sky was always a natural part of him, just as natural history was a part of his daytime hours. Years later, when Kerry taught high school science, he started a student Astronomy Club where they emphasized learning the night sky as part of the common heritage of humanity. When Kerry began his pursuit of a professional career in the history of science, it provided him an opportunity to explore the marvelous tales of astronomy in ancient and modern cultures. While completing a doctorate in the history of science, he served as Planetarium Director at a small liberal arts college. He said that when they assembled the mechanical-optical star projector, he realized that the engineers who designed it were like modern day ancient astronomers, as the gears had the circular devices etched on them of the Tychonic system of mathematical astronomy. Look at any star projector and it is a monument to ancient astronomy.
As current Curator of the OU History of Science Collections, Kerry works with old astronomy books, meeting Copernicus, Galileo and Newton almost daily in the vault of the collections, and enjoys giving presentations to universities and astronomy clubs. In his spare time, he enjoys stargazing, through the use of amateur telescopes and naked eye observations. He and his family go to local star parties around Norman, and sometimes attend our club’s annual fall star party, “Okie-Tex,” held near Black Mesa out in the Oklahoma panhandle.