Routt County Spotlight |

Routt County Spotlight

James Roger Westlake Jr. (Jimmy)

James Roger Westlake Jr. (Jimmy)

Age: 48 years old

Occupation: Associate professor of physical science at Colorado Mountain College

Birthplace: Atlanta, Ga.

1. When did you move to Routt County and what brought you here?

In 1998, I applied for a position opening for the astronomy and physics instructor at Steamboat’s Alpine Campus of Colorado Mountain College. I flew out for an interview on August 10 and when I got back to Atlanta on August 13, a job offer was waiting for me.

2. What are the best and least favorite things about living in Routt County?

Being one who loves to gaze at the stars, I think the best thing about living here in Routt County is the high, clean, clear air of the Rockies, which, on a clear night, allows me to see out to infinity with my telescope.

I suppose the worst thing about living in Routt County is getting so spoiled. I tend to forget that there is a real world out there beyond our little piece of paradise.

3. If you could invite any four people to dinner, who would they be and why?

I would love to sit down to dinner together with Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

4. Who is the most famous person you have ever met and how did you meet him/her?

Fame is a relative thing. In astronomical circles, like the ones I orbit, one name that looms large is that of Clyde W. Tombaugh. Tombaugh is the only American to discover a planet in our solar system. At the age of 24, his careful and painstaking search resulted in adding the ninth planet to our solar system in 1930 Pluto.

5. If you had three wishes, what would they be? I wish that Roger Waters would get back together with the other members of Pink Floyd and make another album as monumental as “The Wall.”

I wish that my wife, Linda, would finally move up here to Colorado so we wouldn’t have to keep traveling back and forth to see each other. What the heck, I wish my sons Jason and Michael would move up here, too.

I wish that some rich philanthropist would donate enough money to CMC’s Alpine Campus that we could build a large observatory and planetarium.

6. What is the most rewarding part of your job? Of all of the wonderful interactions I have with students, friends and colleagues, this is the most profound to me when I show someone the planet Saturn through a telescope for the first time and hear them gasp, “Oh, wow!”


Book: “Tao te Ching”

Song: Pink Floyd “Comfortably Numb”

Color: Green

Food: Crawfish ettoufee with a side of red beans and rice

Sport to watch: NHL hockey

Vacation spot: Racing River, British Columbia

Recreational activity: bicycle touring

Pet: Cats

Movie: “Tombstone”

Magazine: “Sky and Telescope”

TV Show: The Weather Channel

Do you know someone interesting who you would like to see profiled? Call Kelly Silva at

871-4204 or email her at

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