Monday, May 7, 2012

Astronomy symposium venue sparks controversy

A 1610 portrait of Johannes Kepler by an unknown artist, probably in Prague.
Cork Astronomy Club went there to study his laws of planetary motion.
A Cork Astronomy Club symposium on Kepler’s laws, held recently in Prague, has given rise to divergent views.  At issue was the venue for this prestigious occasion in the astronomical calendar.  One club member who does not wish to be named said : “Holding it in Prague was an imaginative idea but the trouble was there were two many bars, and ultimately this negated the symposium’s serious purpose. Next year I think the committee should consider hiring a seminar room at UCC instead.”

Asked to recite Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion, the unnamed member said “Well actually I can only remember two of them and that more or less proves my point.”

A spokesperson for Cork Astronomy Club said: “Kepler did his most important work in Prague and we saw his house and Tycho Brahe’s tomb. But the point about all the bars is a fair one and we'll certainly give it due consideration in planning next year’s event.”

Other members praised the astronomical clock in the Old Town Square. 

Cork astronomers gather at the Prague
astronomical clock
Constructed in 1410 the clock was already nearly 200 years old when Kepler was in the city.  On the hour a figure of death pulls on a bell rope, the apostles pass by a window, and a real live trumpeter plays at the top of the tower, as shown in the video, at the end of which cheering Cork Astronomy Club members can be seen thronging the square hundreds of feet below. 

The clock displays the current zodiac sign and the Moon's phase, and tells the time in Old Bohemian Time, Sidereal Time and the Babylonian hour.

The symposium was held from 26th to 29th April.  Rumour has it that next year’s symposium will be held on an apple farm in Leicestershire and will be devoted to Isaac Newton’s law of gravitation.

After a punishing round of seminars, Cork astronomers relax in a Prague restaurant
Tomb of Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe in St Nicholas cathedral, Prague

1 comment:

  1. Can't you tell by your horoscope where next year's symposium will be Pete? Physician heal thyself!!