Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Most Interesting Person: Charles Schweighauser

“Talented” isn’t quite the word to describe Charles Schweighauser.

The highly accomplished local scientist has been retired since 2002, but the 78-year-old has a long list of career credits that continues to grow.

He began his career in 1963 as the founding director of the James S. McDonnell Planetarium in St. Louis. He joined the faculty of Sangamon State University (now University of Illinois Springfield) in 1974, when the school operated out of temporary buildings. He started his free-to-the-public Star Parties in 1977 and is proud of his efforts to make the parties accessible to people with disabilities.

He retired with the title professor emeritus of English and astronomy and physics at UIS and has published works on James Joyce and Ralph Waldo Emerson. After retirement, he taught for seven years, directed observatories and conducted research, he said.

“I remember looking through the telescopes as a young boy at Charlie’s Star Parties and wondering about our moon, solar system and Milky Way Galaxy,” said AJ Wacaser, a UIS student who had Schweighauser as his graduate adviser.

Not only has Schweighauser inspired generations as an instructor and at his public presentations at UIS, he is also inspiring to all ages as an environmentalist. At his quarter-acre home in Pleasant Plains, Schweighauser has installed a dry lake with two dry rivers, a prairie path and an orchard.

Schweighauser was featured by The State Journal-Register on May 25, 2014.

Read the article online