Charles Piazzi Smyth, fascinates a wide range of people – astronomers, historians, photography experts, Egyptologists, art lovers, and the public in general – especially Edinburgh citizens who are fascinated by the history of their city. As Astronomer Royal for Scotland, he created the One O’Clock Gun tradition, started the idea of mountaintop astronomy, pioneered stereo photography, measured the Great Pyramid of Gizeh and wrote many popular books. He was also a prolific artist. On the 200th anniversary of this famous and controversial Victorian astronomer, the Royal Society of Edinburgh is celebrating the life and works of Smyth and his partner Jessica. Their series of events include a new exhibition at the Nelson Monument, a variety of public talks, a public experiment with the Time Gun, and a Symposium all about his life and work.
Charles Piazzi Smyth (South Africa, 1840, Calotype)
From 2nd to 4th September 2019, the events held at the Royal Society of Edinburgh will include:
The symposium will consist of two days of talks and debate by experts and researchers on topics related to the life and legacy of Charles Piazzi Smyth – mountain top astronomy, photography, meteorology, and pyramidology. What did he do, and what has happened since? Although the presentations will be by experts, our aim is to make as much as possible accessible to a wide audience. The registration fee for the includes lunch and coffee and tea breaks on both days, and entrance to the movie screening and public lecture.
There will be a film screening of “A Residence Above the Clouds”, a 2016 film directed by Guillermo Carnero-Rosell, which records the experiences of Scottish and Spanish students coming together in Tenerife to try to reproduce Piazzi Smyth’s classic experiments in Mountain Top Astronomy. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion centering on the issues raised in the film.
7.30pm, Monday, 2 September
Denis Pellerin will give a public lecture entitled “Piazzi Smyth: Royal Astronomer and Stereo Photographer”. Denis is from the London Stereoscopic Company, and is the archivist for the huge Brian May collection of stereo photographs. Denis will talk about the past, present and future of stereo photography, and Piazzi Smyth’s place within it. The audience will be given special glasses to see the live stereo projected images.The lecture will be followed by a wine reception for all ticket holders.
6pm, Tuesday, 3 September
Please find booking details here: https://www.epay.ed.ac.uk/conferences-and-events/college-of-science-and-engi%20neering/school-of-physics-and-astronomy/physics-and-astronomy/charles-piazzi%20-smyth-symposium
and further information on the RSE website here: https://www.rse.org.uk/event/charles-piazzi-smyth-symposium/
Keep an eye out for the Winter Edition of Studies in Photography for a featured article on the exhibition and events celebrating the works of this great pioneer!