Benjamin Torsten (Ben) Jolitz

About Benjamin Torsten (Ben) Jolitz, his background, awards, interests, and other achievements.

Part of the Jolitz Heritage Site for the Jolitz Family of Silicon Valley.

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Meet Benjamin Jolitz

Benjamin Torsten Jolitz is into robotics, science fiction, computers, and telescopes. Ben rebuilt a 30 year old telescope and hand-ground mirror from his Grandpa and used it to win a second place in earth / space science at the 2004 Synopsys science fair with a study of collimation techniques. Ben likes hanging around the SJAA ATM guys talking shop and grinding his own mirror.

Ben is an accomplished Berkeley Unix 386BSD system administrator, and also handles video production technical and support issues. Ben collaborates on short subject films and participates in film festivals - his latest work "Bots" (see "Jolitz Family Video - Bots" for web video and "Bots DVD by Benjamin Jolitz and Rebecca Jolitz" for a DVD) is a comedic exploration of the roles of robots in popular films (see his films at "Jolitz Family Video Producers - Ben Jolitz"). Ben says BSD is technically better than Linux, but thinks conflicting shared libraries, incompatible threading, and inconsistent program development makes BSD "run like crap". He thinks the Linux community is much more together because the BSD side is "too old, full of it, and doesn't want to learn python".

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Benjamin Jolitz used a 6 inch F/8.3 telescope, currently mounted on a large equatorial fork mount constructed out of sheet aluminum. It is an artifact of the past, originally built by his grandfather and dad in 1969. They had been inspired by Marvin Vann, having attended many of his planetarium shows and visits after to the observatory just up the hill.

Attending Vann's telescope making class in the evenings at Foothill College, they made a 6 inch parabolic mirror, the heart of the telescope they made.


Benjamin Jolitz received a second place award for the 2004 Synopsys Science and Technology Championship. The competition was held at the San Jose Convention Center. Over 900 of the San Francisco bay area's best science students from middle/high school competed with over 500 projects in a variety of subjects, among them physics, earth/space sciences, chemistry, and biology.

Ben received his second place award as part of an invited awards ceremony at Great America (see "Grand Prize Student Awards Student Awards"). All the winners also received complementary tickets for family to attend the awards and a day at the park. The theme of the park this spring was "Star Trek", one of Ben and his sister Rebecca's favorite science fiction shows. Here they are standing before a replica of the Enterprise before the ceremony.

The American Association of University Women offer top middle school girls the opportunity to explore science and engineering for a week at Stanford University as part of their Tech Trek Science Camp. These girls attend lectures and labs on the Stanford campus for one week in biology, chemistry, geology, astronomy, and engineering. By getting a hands-on feel for science, as well as the opportunity to talk to women in science and engineering, these girls are jump-started into continuing their science studies in high school.

In June 2003 as part of the fun, amateurs were invited to bring their telescopes and hold a star party. Ben Jolitz, then a middle school guy, said "It was just the greatest - all these really smart girls in science, and I'm showing them my telescope. I wouldn't have missed this for anything." Nuff said.

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