There’s always something to be unearthed in the Southwest. Talented individuals throughout history have given Arizona and New Mexico things to boast about, and their inventions and discoveries are still enjoyed today.
In 1930, astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto at Arizona’s Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Although Pluto has since been officially demoted to “dwarf planet” status, Tombaugh’s discovery and his additional contributions to the study of space have helped put Arizona on the map. Today, the Lowell Observatory welcomes visitors young and old, offering a 3D portable planetarium, multimedia shows and guided tours. Kids will enjoy the Honeywell Children’s Exhibit and the Alvan Clark Telescope as it illuminates the wonders of the night sky for unforgettable viewings. Another Lowell Observatory claim to fame? Astronomer A.E. Douglass first developed the system of dendrochronology – the science of using tree rings to extract scientific information – in Flagstaff in the 1890s. Douglass also founded the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona. For admission info and special events at the Lowell Observatory, visit www.lowell.edu.
Burritos are a favorite food around the world and are prepared several different ways. In New Mexico, however, a small eatery named Tia Sophia’s proudly takes credit for the 1975 invention of the breakfast burrito. The restaurant is located at 210 West San Francisco Street, in the historic area of Santa Fe, and its customers can’t get enough of the bacon, potato, chili, cheese and tortilla concoction. Tia Sophia’s is locally owned and operated and was even featured in writer Judith Anderson’s 1998 New York Times
guide to Santa Fe. Visit Tia Sophia’s on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Tia-Sophias-Restaurant/102956971769#! and stop by the restaurant for an unbeatable breakfast burrito.
Every golf enthusiast understands the frustration that can come with honing putting technique. As challenging as it can be, however, it could be a lot more difficult if it wasn’t for a man named Karsten Solheim. After taking up golf at the age of 42, Solheim realized he could craft the perfect device to improve putting. “I saw immediately that by using the simple laws of physics and mechanics it would be possible to make something more efficient than a blade, and thus avoid such off-line putts.” The working model of his first putter, the 1-A, included Popsicle sticks and sugar cubes – but it did the trick. Inspired by the distinctive “ping” sound his putter made when hitting a golf ball, Solheim founded PING Golf. Today, the PING name is respected across the globe and Solheim is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Want to take a tour of the PING Golf factory in Phoenix, Arizona? Make a reservation (well in advance) by calling 602-687-5385, and learn more at www.ping.com. The factory’s Fitting Department also offers free walk-in indoor fittings on weekdays.
Have fun exploring useful inventions and out-of-this-world discoveries in Arizona and New Mexico.