Menu

ENHA-57

***************************************************************************
*                                                                         *
*           ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER FOR THE HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY            *
*                                                                         *
*      Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy        *
*                  in the Astronomische Gesellschaft                      *
*                                                                         *
*                       Number 57, May 23, 2004                           *
*                                                                         *
*           Edited by: Wolfgang R. Dick and Hilmar W. Duerbeck            *
*                                                                         *
***************************************************************************

Contents
--------

1. ICHA Newsletters

2. SIC Transits of Venus website

3. Symposium: Venus voor de Zon 

4. Festival of the Transit of Venus

5. "Chasing Venus" exhibition and lecture series at the Smithsonian

6. The New Astronomy - A Meeting to Honor Woody Sullivan on his
   60th Birthday

7. "The Scientific Instrument Collections in the University"
   Conference (SICU)

8. VITRUM - exhibition on ancient glass and science

Acknowledgements

Imprint

...........................................................................
Item 1                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

ICHA Newsletters
----------------

The Newsletters of the Inter-Union Commission for History of Astronomy
(ICHA) are now available online in PDF format at
http://www.astrohist.org/iaucomm41/news/ .
The latest issue is No. 6, April 2004.

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to send hardcopies of the
newsletters to ICHA members.

Contents of No. 6, April 2004:
A. Sydney and Beyond, by C. L. N. Ruggles
B. Minutes of the General Business Meeting held in Sydney 2003
   by S. Dick
C. Minutes of the Meeting of the Organising Committee of C41/ICHA
   by C. L. N. Ruggles
D. Status of the Inter-Union Commission for History of Astronomy (ICHA)
E. Information: The acceptance of new members into IAU at Sydney
   by A. Gurshtein
F. Memorandum: Concerning the Acceptance of New Members into the
   Inter-Union Commission on History of Astronomy (ICHA)
   by A. Gurshtein and F. R. Stephenson
G. Procedures for Admitting non-IAU Members to the ICHA
H. History Programme at Sydney
I. General Information about the Working Groups
J. The IAU Historical Instruments Working Group; 1: Progress Report 2003-04
K. The IAU Astronomical Archives Working Group; 2: Progress Report
L. The IAU Transits Of Venus Working Group; 3: Progress Report
M. The IAU Historic Radio Astronomy Working Group; 1: Progress Report
N. The Struve Geodetic Arc (Press Release)
   by J. R. Smith
O. Earth Dial - a new project: Mars landers create opportunity for
   Web-linked sundials around the world (Press Release)
   by W. T. Sullivan
P. Journals and Publications:
   - Archaeoastronomy. The Journal of Astronomy in Culture, by C. McCluskey
   - Rittenhouse (Astronomical Papers), by R. Brooks
   - Contributions on history of geophysics and cosmical physics
   - Books 2000/2003
   - Some research papers by C41/ICHA members - 2001/2003
Q. News:
   - A new book: Astronomical instruments and archives from the
     Asia-Pacific region, by D. A. King
   - Astronomy in the Baghdad of the Caliphs, by D. A. King
   - Doggett Prize, by R. Brashear
   - The New Astronomy: Opening the Electromagnetic Window and
     Expanding our View of Planet Earth, by W. Orchiston
   - Scientific Instrument Collections in the University
     by F. Manasek, R. Kremer, D. Pantalony, S. Schechner
   - The European Scientist - Symposium on the era and work of
     Franz Xaver von Zach (1754 - 1832)
   - The Fifth International Conference on Oriental Astronomy
     by K.-Y. Chen
   - European Society for the History of Science, by S. Dupouy
   - Sharing the celestial sphere: A conference under the joint auspices
     of IAU and IUHPS/DHS, by R. Kochhar
   - History of Astronomy Displays and Exhibitions
     Chasing Venus : Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004
   - Obituaries:
     Simeon Ya. Braude, by G. Tsarevsky
     Bernard Cohen, by E. Mendelsohn and G. Smith

...........................................................................
Item 2                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

SIC Transits of Venus website
-----------------------------

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new website on the Transits of
Venus at http://transits.mhs.ox.ac.uk.

The core of the site is a browsable database of historical instruments and
images from collections around the world. Institutions and individuals are
invited to develop the site by contributing their own material.

Currently the site displays material from:
- Museo della Specola, Universita di Bologna
- Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University
- Museum of the History of Science, University of Oxford
- National Museum of American History, Washington
- Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Dresden
- UK Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council

To take part in this international collaboration, visit the Contributors
section of the site. Material is submitted directly online for instant
access on the web.

The site is an initiative of the Scientific Instrument Commission of the
International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science. It was
developed at the University of Oxford and is hosted by the Museum of the
History of Science.

Stephen Johnston
Sara Schechner
Steven Turner


[Source: Stephen Johnston to HASTRO-L, the History of Astronomy Dicussion
Group, 10 May 2004]

...........................................................................
Item 3                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

Symposium: Venus voor de Zon
----------------------------

On the eve of the first transit of Venus in front of the Sun since 121 1/2
years, the University of Utrecht organizes an afternoon Symposium about the
background of these special astronomical events and their role in the
history of science.

Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2004
Place: Museum Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh (Utrecht)
Audience: interested public, students, science journalists

Programme:

12:30-13:00 Introduction, coffee and tea

13:00-13:30 Robert Wielinga: Wat is een Venusovergang

13:30-14:00 Albert van Helden: The Venus Transits of 1761 and 1769

14:00-14:30 Rob van Gent: Waarnemingen van de Venusovergangen van 1761
& 1769 in Batavia (Nederlands Indie)

14:30-15:00 Jessica Ratcliff: Astronomical Photography and the 1874
Transit of Venus

15:00-15:30 Break (coffee and tea)

15:30-16:00 Klaus Staubermann & Rob van Gent: Rondleiding bij de
Venusovergang tentoonstelling in Museum Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh

16:00-16:30 Hilmar Duerbeck: The German Transit of Venus Expeditions
of 1874 and 1882

16:30-17:00 Frans Snik: Van 'Black Drop' naar 'Bright Points':
Waarnemingen van de Venusovergang met de Dutch Open Telescope op La Palma

17:00-18:00 Closing

Abstracts of the papers are available at
http://www.venusvoordezon.nl/symposium/ .

Participants of the symposium are kindly requested to register at the
Museum Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh (tel. 030-2302818) or by informing
info@sonnenborgh.nl .

Organizers:
Universiteitsmuseum Utrecht (http://www.museum.uu.nl/)
Museum Sterrenwacht Sonnenborgh (http://www.sonnenborgh.nl/)
Instituut voor de Geschiedenis en Grondslagen van de Wiskunde en de
Natuurwetenschappen (http://www.phys.uu.nl/~wwwgrnsl/)

...........................................................................
Item 4                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

Festival of the Transit of Venus
--------------------------------

The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University
invites you to join us for a

Festival of the Transit of Venus

8 June 2004
5:00 am - 7:30 am

Science Center, Harvard University
1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA

Observe this rare Astronomical Spectacle!
Celebrate its History!
Enjoy live Transit of Venus Music!

No one alive has seen a Transit of Venus, but on June 8th you will have 
this rare opportunity!

Transits of Venus are rare astronomical alignments in which the planet
Venus crosses the face of the Sun as seen from Earth. They occur in pairs
(8 years apart) separated at intervals of 105.5 or 121.5 years. In 1639
Jeremiah Horrocks and his friend William Crabtree were the first and only
witnesses of a transit of Venus. Before the next transits in 1761 and 1769,
astronomical expeditions were sent around the globe in order to observe the
event from far flung places and share their results. Their goal was nothing
less than determining the dimensions of the solar system, one of the great
unsolved problems of astronomy of the time. The transits of Venus also
caused a great stir among the public. Crowds watched them through smoked
glasses in city streets and sang drinking songs about them in taverns. The
next pair of transits--in 1874 and 1882--also caused great excitement.

In 1761 the only observers in North America were Harvard's own John
Winthrop, the Hollis Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy and
his two students. Because the event could not be seen from Cambridge, they
sailed to St. John's, Newfoundland, taking college apparatus behind enemy
lines during the French and Indian War in the name of international
collaboration in science.

After a failed attempt to put together an expedition to Lake Superior in
1769, John Winthrop observed the next transit of Venus from Harvard Yard in
Cambridge. He used new instruments acquired in London with the help of
Benjamin Franklin and had to overcome obstacles arising from the rebellious
political acts of Samuel Adams and others with whom he sympathized. The
Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments has all the
instruments used by Winthrop in 1769, and some from 1761 as well.

Now its your turn! Come relive the excitement of the 1760s and make history
on June 8, 2004. Join us between 5:00 am and 7:30 am for these activities:

Astronomy!
5:09 am--sunrise with Transit of Venus in progress
Observe Venus on the Sun with modern telescopes and safe solar filters
Re-enact John Winthrop's observations in 1769 with his instruments!
View observations of the transit in Africa, Europe, and around the globe
via live webcasts
7:06 am--Venus contacts the inner edge of the sun's disk
7:26 am--Venus leaves Sun

History!
Visit the CHSI museum galleries to see apparatus selected by Benjamin 
Franklin for Winthrop's observations.
Learn about pre-Revolutionary politics and its impact on Harvard's
expeditions to observe the Transit in 1761 and 1769, with curator Sara
Schechner.

Transit of Venus Music!
Live performances of John Philip Sousa's "Transit of Venus March" by the
Harvard Band and "The Venus Waltz" for banjo by John Huth, chairman of the
Physics Department

Food!
Continental breakfast

For further information, please contact Sara Schechner at 
schechn@fas.harvard.edu or 617-495-2779.


[Source: Sara Schechner to HASTRO-L and Rete discussion groups,
21 May 2004]

...........................................................................
Item 5                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

"Chasing Venus" exhibition and lecture series at the Smithsonian
----------------------------------------------------------------

The Smithsonian Institution Libraries is pleased to announce the opening of
its current exhibition, "Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus,
1631-2004", at the Libraries' Exhibition Gallery located in the National
Museum of American History, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington D.C.
"Chasing Venus" will tell the story of the transits of Venus using the
marvelous illustrations in the rich collection of rare books from the
Smithsonian Libraries, supplemented by appropriate artifacts from the
National Museum of American History and the United States Naval
Observatory.

A series of five (5) noontime public lectures is scheduled to commence
on April 8. 

Ronald Brashear
Curator, "Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004"
Head, Special Collections and Dibner Library,
Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Chasing Venus Lecture Series
Lectures start at 12:00 noon -- FREE and open to the public
Leonard Carmichael Auditorium
National Museum of American History, Behring Center

Presented in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution Libraries
exhibition "Chasing Venus: Observing the Transits of Venus, 1631-2004"
March 24, 2004 - April 3, 2005 For more information go to:
www.sil.si.edu/exhibitions/chasing-venus

Lecture Series funding provided by NASA Office of Space Science

Thursday, April 8, 2004
"The First Observation of a Transit of Venus: Jeremiah Horrocks and the New
Astronomy"
Wilbur Applebaum, Professor Emeritus, Humanities Dept., Illinois
Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, April 22, 2004
"Endeavour's Wake: Captain Cook and the Transit of Venus"
Richard Fisher, Director, Sun-Earth Connection Division, NASA Office of
Space Science, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, May 6, 2004
"Transits of Venus and the American Expeditions of 1874 and 1882"
Steven J. Dick, NASA Chief Historian, National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, Washington, D.C.

Thursday, May 20, 2004
"Transits of Mercury and Venus and the Solution of the Black-Drop Mystery"
Jay M. Pasachoff, Director of Hopkins Observatory and Field Memorial
Professor of Astronomy, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts

Thursday, June 3, 2004
"Public Reaction to the Transit of Venus, 1882"
David DeVorkin, Curator of History of Astronomy, National Air and
Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


[Source: Ronald Brashear to HASTRO-L, 1 April 2004]

...........................................................................
Item 6                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

The New Astronomy - A Meeting to Honor Woody Sullivan on his 60th Birthday
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proudly announcing "The New Astronomy: Opening the Electromagnetic Window
and Expanding our View of Planet Earth", a meeting to honor Woody Sullivan
on his 60th birthday

Date:  Wednesday 16 - Friday 18 June, 2004.

Venue:  University of Washington, Seattle, USA.

Web Site:  http://faculty.washington.edu/bhevly

LOC:  Bruce Hevly, Karl Hufbauer (Co-Chairs), Bruce Balick and Jim Evans.

SOC:  Wayne Orchiston (Chair), John Baross, Ron Bracewell, David DeVorkin,
Steve Dick, Ken Kellermann, Robert Smith, Richard Strom and
Virginia Trimble.

Conference Themes:

(1) History of non-optical and space astronomy, and how it has changed
astronomy overall (with some emphasis on radio astronomy).

(2) A cultural look at how our views of planet Earth (and of us) have been
changed by the past fifty years of astronomy and space exploration (with
some emphasis on astrobiology topics, particularly extraterrestrial life).

These two themes have been chosen because they relate to major research
projects in Woody's career are important issues, which have not been
collectively treated before, and are coherent enough to attract a group to
Seattle hopefully will make for an attractive publication.

Woody's Vision of 'Woodfest'

"In general I'm fascinated with the mutual influences of astronomy and
culture on each other. I'd like to see the meeting be different from normal
in having a much larger fraction than usual of papers that 'step back' and
look at: where we are in astronomy and astrobiology (life in the Universe)
and how we got here in the early twenty-first century, with a special
emphasis on the past fifty years (but not strictly confined to that
period). Current scientific research results are not excluded, but they
should always be placed in the above context. Therefore, speakers should
attempt much broader and integrative topics than they (perhaps) normally
do. Talks should be as broad as speakers are willing to tackle, but of
course still grounded in concrete examples and case studies. Here's a
chance to try out some speculations, syntheses, assertions, etc.!"

Deadline for Offers of Papers:  31 March 2004.

Registration Fee:  US$80

Conference Dinner:  Thursday 17 June (Woody's Birthday).

Optional Excursions:  Saturday 19 June.

Further Details & On-line Registration:
http://faculty.washington.edu/bhevly


[Provided by Wayne Orchiston, Anglo-Australian Observatory and Australia
Telescope National Facility]

...........................................................................
Item 7                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

"The Scientific Instrument Collections in the University" Conference (SICU)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Scientific Instrument Collections in the University
An International Conference at Dartmouth College, 24-27 June 2004

Co-sponsored by Dartmouth College and the Scientific Instrument Commission,
International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science
Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Dickey Center for
International Understanding at Dartmouth College

Thursday, 24 June

18:30 Keynote address

Paolo Brenni,
Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence, and President, SIC
"Sleeping beauties: Historical collections of scientific instruments at
European universities"

Friday, 25 June

9:00 Session 1: The political economy of university collections (workshop)

Topics to include:
- recognizing the value of university collections, defining collection
  mandates
- promoting collections at departmental, university, and wider levels
- relationships with other university collections, i.e., museums,
  libraries, archives
- uses for collections and the fostering of traditional and new clienteles

10:45 Session 2a: University collections and university histories (papers)

* Julian Holland, University of Sydney, "University Collections of
  Scientific Instruments: An Australian Perspective"
* Mott Linn, Clark University, "Photographic record of Clark's new
  laboratories in 1892"
* Dalibor Voboril and Petr Kveton (NC), Academy of Sciences of the Czech
  Republic, "Collections of historical psychological devices in Czech
  universities"

10:45 Session 2b: Using university collections for research (papers)

14:00 Session 3: Collection management (workshop)

Topics to include:
- organizing and cataloguing collections
- storage, proper handling, conservation, security
- environmental safety
- creating policies for on-going acquisition and de-accession
- dealing with large objects

15:45 Session 4a: Can university collections survive their founders?
      (papers)

* M. Eugene Rudd, University of Nebraska, "The making of a collection:
  Historic scientific instruments at the University of Nebraska"
* Norman Heckenberg, University of Queensland, "Avoiding infant mortality"
* Joseph Bellina, St. Mary's College, "Does St. Mary's collection have a
  future?"
* Sebastian Soubiran, University of Strasbourg, "Getting started:
  Preservation and valorisation of scientific instruments at the University
  of Strasbourg"

15:45 Session 4b: Curatorial challenges (papers)

* Aysen Savan, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, "Cataloguing and
  classifying: From a gyroscope to a mission statement"
* David Brock and Robert Lukens, Chemical Heritage Foundation,
  "Chemistry's revolutionary tools: Collecting and interpretating
  post-war chemical instrumentation" 
* Jim Moss, Horological conservator, "The mercurial relationship
  between David and Goliath"  
* Yaakov Zik, University of Haifa,
  "Instrument: An interaface among theory, symbolic representation and the
  real world"

20:00 Session 5: Digital projects and exhibitions (workshop)

Saturday, 26 June

9:00 Session 6: Teaching with university collections (workshop)

10:45 Session 7a: Introducing hidden collections (papers)

* Jose Bertomeu, University of Valencia, "Scientific Instruments at
  Secondary Schools in Spain, 1845-1939"
* Thomas B. Greenslade, Keynon College, "Hidden collections"
* Anne McMahon, Santa Clara University, and Dana Freiburger, University
  of Wisconsin, "The Santa Clara Scientific Instrument Collection"
* Jean-Francois Loude (NC), University of Lausanne, "Historic physics
  instruments at the University of Lausanne"
* Frank Winkler and Matthew W. Motley, Middlebury College, "Scientific
  instruments at Middlebury College"

10:45 Session 7b: Introducing hidden collections (papers)

* Richard Paselk, Humboldt State University, "From virtual to reality:
  The making of the Robert A. Paselk Scientific Instrument Museum"
* Bernard Ziomkiewicz, Queen's University, "The physics collection of
  Queen's University"
* Michael Littman (NC), Princeton, "Joseph Henry's artifacts at Princeton"
* Andrew Bell, private scholar, "Skeletons in the closet: Optical
  artifacts from the Dartmouth King Collection"

14:00 Session 8: Whither university astronomical observatories? (workshop)

Sunday, 27 June

9-17 Optional excursion to the American Precision Museum, Windsor, Vt, and
to the Russell Porter Museum and turret telescopes in Springfield, VT, with
lunch at the Hartness House Planned excursions

We plan to have a day of optional field trips. In the morning we will visit
the American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT where we can inspect two
floors of precision machines. We hope to make special arrangement to visit
the stores, which are filled with additional machines. Of special interest
are several ruling engines.

The American Precision Museum

We will then travel to Springfield, VT and lunch at the Hartness House. An
underground tunnel connects the Hartness House with the Hartness Turret
Telescope (refractor) which will be open for our inspection.

The Hartness Turret Telescope

We are making arrangements to visit the restored Porter Turret Telescope
(reflector) located on a nearby hill. The building is large enough to
accommodate several people and the instrument is used in the daytime to
project the solar image.

Our web address is:
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~sicu

The SICU Organizing Committee (Richard Kremer, Frank Manasek, Dave
Pantalony, Sara Schechner)


[Source: David Pantalony to Rete discussion group, 21 March 2004;
Sara Schechner to HASTRO-L, 3 April 2004]

...........................................................................
Item 8                                            ENHA No. 57, May 23, 2004
...........................................................................

VITRUM - exhibition on ancient glass and science 
------------------------------------------------

A large exhibition on ancient glass and science entitled "Vitrum. Il vetro
fra arte e scienza nel mondo romano"
(http://brunelleschi.imss.fi.it/vitrum/) had opened on March 27 in Florence
at Palazzo Pitti. Several scientific instruments, including Archimede's
model of the universe, have been reconstructed. While the catalogue of the
exhibition is in Italian (http://www.giunti.it/index.php), a complementary
publication is "When Glass Matters. Studies in the History of Science and
Art from Graeco-Roman Antiquity to Early Modern Era", edited by Marco
Beretta, Florence. Leo S. Olschki (www.olschki.it), explores the same topic
on a longer period. 


[Source: Marco Beretta to Rete discussion group, 16 April 2004]

...........................................................................

Acknowledgements
----------------

For information we thank Klaus Staubermann and Wayne Orchiston.

...........................................................................

Imprint
-------

Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy (ENHA)

Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy in the
Astronomische Gesellschaft

Editors: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick <wdick@astrohist.org> and Dr. Hilmar
W. Duerbeck <hduerbec@vub.ac.be>

All items without an author's name are editorial contributions.
Articles as well as information for the several sections are appreciated.

Subscription for ENHA is free. Readers and subscribers are asked for
occasional voluntary donations to the working group.

Copyright Statement:
The Electronic Newsletters for the History of Astronomy may be freely 
re-distributed in the case that no charge is imposed. Public offer in
WWW servers, BBS etc. is allowed after the editor has been informed. 
Non-commercial reproduction of single items in electronic or printed media
is possible only with the editor's permission.

Archives: Previous issues of ENHA are to be found at
http://www.astrohist.org/aa/enha/ .


Arbeitskreis Astronomiegeschichte / Working Group for the History of
Astronomy: 

URL: http://www.astrohist.org/

Chairman: Prof. Dr. Peter Brosche, Observatorium Hoher List der
Sternwarte der Universitaet Bonn, D-54550 Daun, Germany, 
Tel.: +49(0)6592 2150, Fax: +49(0)6592 985140

Secretary: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick, Vogelsang 35 A, D-14478 Potsdam,
Germany, e-mail: wdick@astrohist.org

Bank Acct. of the Astronomische Gesellschaft:
Acct # 310 330 402, Volksbank Coesfeld-Duelmen (BLZ 401 631 23)
Contributions from foreign countries: acct # 162 18-203, Postbank
Hamburg, BLZ 200 100 20
Please sign with: "Fuer Arbeitskreis Astronomiegeschichte" 

***************************************************************************