2024 Summer Series Public Events have been scheduled! Tickets go on sale on Wednesday April 17th at Noon!
Event Information

Scene from Einstein! at the Mitzel Arts and Cultural Center


Celebrating 100 Years of General Relativity

Acclaimed Solo Show

Written and performed by Jack Fry

Directed by Tom Blomquist

William Wallace Campbell striding at Wallal, Australia. Courtesy of UCSC Special Collections and Archives.

One hundred years ago on September 21, 1922, an expedition from the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, California, led by Lick director William Wallace Campbell, conclusively proved Einstein’s general theory of relativity at a total eclipse of the sun in remote Wallal, Australia – confirming a new formulation of space, time, and gravitation that changed the course of science and ushered in our modern technological age. Einstein! underscores the importance of Lick Observatory’s role in verifying general relativity.

To celebrate this event a special, fully staged production of Jack Fry’s play Einstein! will be performed in the historic 36″ Lick Refractor dome on September 9, 10, and 11.  This intimate and historic setting will create a unique experience of this acclaimed play.  Following each performance, audiences will be given access to the Lick telescope and displays featuring historic artifacts from the famous solar eclipse expedition.

Einstein! tells the true, inspirational story of a young, ambitious Albert Einstein in 1914 Berlin, a city politically torn apart by the Great War. His life is sent sideways while trying to prove general relativity against all odds. The science establishment doesn’t believe his ‘crazy’ theories, (and the few that do are trying to take them away from him), he becomes isolated for his pacifist views, he has a wife who won’t give him a divorce, his health is failing, and he must deal with anti-Semitism, thoughts of suicide, his own self-destructive genius, and a young son fighting for his father’s affections. Meanwhile, he comes up with a theory that changes the way we live our lives today. It’s the true story of what made his hair ‘crazy,’ and it climaxes with the Campbell eclipse.

Performances on September 9, 10, and 11, 2022

Event Program:

  • 6:00pm Doors Open
  • 7:00pm Einstein!
  • 8:30pm Q&A with Jack Fry and Lick Astronomer/Archivist Anthony Misch or Elinor Gates
  • 9:00pm Viewing through the 40″ Nickel Reflector and 36″ Lick Refractor Telescopes (weather permitting)
  • 11:00pm Event Ends

Detailed on-line Event Program

Printed Program PDF

Please note: Due to the early start of the play and length of the evening, we encourage guests to arrive early and bring a picnic dinner to enjoy before the play in the Visitor Center/Main Building Hamilton Courtyard.

Ticket Information

General Admission Tickets:  $140 each

Tickets will be available to the general public on July 20th, 2022 at ucsctickets.com at Noon.  There is a limit of 4 tickets per customer.

Event activities include:

© 2009 Laurie Hatch 36 inch refractor

Einstein! Play

☆ Q&A with playwright/performer Jack Fry and Lick Observatory Astronomy & History Experts

☆ 1922 Solar Eclipse Expedition Exhibit

☆ Viewing through the historic 36-inch Great Lick Refractor telescope

☆ Viewing through the 40-inch Nickel Reflector telescope

Please note: Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place. Due to safety regulations and the nature of the event, children must be at least 8 years of age for admission and accompanied by an adult.
Our upcoming events will have the following COVID-19 safety protocols (subject to change according to current COVID conditions):

  • Visitors must wear a face mask while indoors at Lick Observatory, regardless of vaccination status.  (Please note that presenters will be unmasked during their presentations.)
  • It is recommended that all attendees fill out our UC Santa Cruz COVID Daily Symptom Check online before arrival at the observatory. Ticket purchasers will receive more information regarding this COVID-19 requirement in a separate communication prior to the event.
  • By purchasing a ticket, you agree to abide by the COVID safety policies in place at the time of the event.  Information on current COVID safety policies will be emailed to ticket purchasers prior to the event.

Important Ticket Information

Doors open 60 minutes before the play begins.  

Due to the historic construction of the telescope domes and safety concerns, the 36-inch Great Refractor Telescope and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope are not wheelchair accessible at this time. Those who have difficulty navigating stairs may also find the telescopes inaccessible. Funds are being raised to repair the elevating floor of the Lick 36-inch telescope to re-enable handicap access. Please contact Natasha Pedroza at nbpedroza@ucolick.org if you would like more information about supporting these or any other fundraising efforts.

Tickets are non-refundable. Please be advised that unpredictable weather patterns may restrict telescope viewings, though all other activities will still take place. Please email tickets@ucolick.org if you have any questions.
Driving to Lick Observatory

Please allow a one-hour drive from San Jose. The road is good, but windy. The event typically lasts between 4 and 6 hours; prepare to drive home late in the evening. Parking is limited at the Observatory, so we encourage carpooling. There are no automative services or gas stations for 20 miles, so please plan ahead. See more information on driving directions and parking here.

Recommended Attire

Casual, comfortable clothing and walking shoes.  It can get surprisingly cold and windy after dark, so a sweater or coat is recommended.


Please be careful when walking around in the dark outside; bringing a flashlight is recommended. Children under age 8 are not allowed at this event, and it may be unsuitable for children under the age of 12 due to late hours.


The large telescopes will be available for viewing as soon as the sky is dark. Telescopes will remain open until every guest has had an opportunity to see through both the 36-inch Great Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope.

In order to view through the telescopes, guests will receive a numbered pass at the door. Guests with the lowest telescope numbers are admitted to the telescopes first – so we recommend getting to the observatory early!

Please note: Due to the historic construction of the telescope domes, the 36-inch Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope are not wheelchair accessible at this time.

Gift Shop

Lick Observatory souvenirs and astronomy merchandise will be available for purchase between 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. at the gift shop. You can also visit our gift shop online 24/7.


Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase at the refreshment table and gift shop. Vending machines and fountain water are also available.


We strive to make your visit as complete and meaningful as possible. Please let us know if you will need special assistance (for example, if you will have difficulty climbing stairs) by emailing tickets@ucolick.org, so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Venue Map

All events take place at the Main Building visitor center.  Directions and parking

Mailing List

Join the Summer Series mailing list to get updates on when events are scheduled, when tickets will go on sale, and announcements of new programs.