He may be wheelchair bound, but that doesn't diminish Tom Laidlaw's enthusiasim for sundials. In front of his house on Carolina Lane is the Vancouver Heights neighborhood landmark - a sundial garden. And what has he planted?
There is a bright circular equatorial sundial that shows the time from 4am to 8pm (and even an offset for daylight saving time). On the grass is an analemmatic sundial sundial marking time from 6am to 6pm for anyone who wants to stand to the plywood walkway. On a table near the house are a series of globe, equatorial and horizontal sundials as well as other sundial types that he will gladly explain. For example, Tom has turned a skate board into a polar dial by adding a "T" gnomon in the middle. And then there is a model of the Jefferson dial where you swing the gnomon around a globe to cast only a thin line shadow
Katie Gillespie, of the Columbian, reports "The 80-year-old retired electrician has always been a 'do-it-yourself kind of guy,' he said. For a while, it was skateboards he fancied, and bookshelves, and a Benjamin Franklin chair that transforms from a chair into a stepladder. He’s self-taught, he said, researching new projects online, then diving in.... 'It’s fun to watch him talk to people about it,' said Debra Brouhard, Laidlaw’s daughter and neighbor."
His latest obsession is sundials. As a member of the North American Sundial Society, Tom now designs a multitude of sundials. Visitors see his yard dotted with all types of sundials. They come in all sizes: big and small. His analemmatic sundial on the lawn always draws attention. Nearby, a plumb bob dangles from a beam. allowing Tom to tell time solar noon. when the shadow draws a line on the lawn pointing due north.
Gillespie found that, "Laidlaw’s passion for sundials began in 2009, when his grandson, Doug Brouhard, stuck a stick in the ground while they were camping. Doug Brouhard was about 12 at the time, and the dial didn’t quite work, Laidlaw said. It was the right idea, though, and a new hobby was born. 'I still have the stick that started it all,' Doug Brouhard said."
Read more of Katie Gillespie's article and see more photos of Tom Laidlaw and his sundials at http://www.columbian.com/news/2017/aug/30/sundial-garden-shines-in-vancouver-heights/
Richard Mallet at Cornell Univ. Sundial
Richard Mallet, former British Sundial Society Trustee, Council Member and former BSS Webmaster passed away on Nov 7th, 2016 with funeral held on Dec 12th, 2016. He lived in Eaton Bray, UK and had many interest in physics, mathematics, and sundialing. Those of us maintaining websites know of the difficulty in perserving order, yet always allowing for expansion of new material. "After a near disaster with the [British] Sundial Society's then heavily modified and entirely non-compliant website, Richard stepped in at no charge to the Society to rewrite it using the then new Expression Web software from Microsoft. This proved very successful and was of course fully W3C compliant."
Over the next year, the North American Sundial Society website will migrate from an older version of the Joomla Content Management System to the fully maintainable Joomla 3.x version. The majority of content and organization will remain intact, but new innovations are expected.
Read more about Richard Mallet's life at: http://www.ppowers.com/mallett.htm
Come to St. Louis for the 23rd Annual NASS Conference at the Clayton Plaza Hotel. Take the free shuttle to the hotel from the Lambert St. Louis International Airport and enjoy 3+ days of gnomonic presentations and sundial discussions. We are planning some tutorial sessions for the afternoon of Saturday, Aug 19th and the tour this year is very special with a ring side seat to watch the August 21st Solar Eclipse.
As usual there are two registration plans: (1) full registration for all of the talks, conference dinner, and bus tour to observe the eclipse, and (2) partial conference registration that includes everything but the sundial presentation sessions.
Portland Maine WCSH Channel 6 presents local and national news and the usual sports, weather and traffic. But on a recent 207 broadcast, they reported an invasion ... an invasion of sundialists coming to Portland, Maine for their annual conference and their search for a dial made over a century ago by Albert Crehore that might still be somewhere in Portland.
Members of the North American Sundial Society (NASS) take the art and science of sundials very seriously. Watch the video and consider joining NASS for even more sundial adventures. Visit Portland Channel 6 News:
This year's Sawyer Dialing prize was awarded to Roger Bailey at the NASS annual conference in Portland, ME. The certificate recognizes Roger for "consistently showing the dialing community that all you need to know in life can be learned from studying sundials, and for using that study to advance the theory and practice of dialing."
Fred Sawyer presented Roger with an award certificate, the traditional cash prize of $200 and a custom made Spectra Sundial by Jim Tallman of Artisan Industrials.
On receiving the award Roger's presentation was "That is a Good Question". Here he pointed out that most of his achievements in the art and science of dialing was sparked by answering good questions, questions like the shadow lengths or the time and direction of sunrise sunset on analemmatic sundials or time systems on Islamic sundials. The theme was "Ask and you shall receive". He remains open to good questions.
The 2015 NASS Sundial Conference was held in Victoria, B.C. Roger Bailey organized the conference and provided a sundial tour in Victoria, stopping at the BC Legislature Rose Garden dial, the St. Ann's Academy dial, Christ Church Cathedral vertical dial, the BC Government House totem sundial, and more, including a visit out to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory to see the 1.8 meter telescope.
Steve Luecking discussed spherical and elliptical gnomons where tangent points are dropped to a circle circumscribing the ellipse and hour lines are then drawn as tangents from the points on the circle. Steve used this technique to design a sundial using an elliptical gnomon with symbolic native art for Victoria. (Illustration at right)
Len Berggren described the design and building of a sundial that can show both solar and mean time, done with a $1000 grant from NASS. Presentations included John Schilke discussing the Heliotrope and Heliograph. Barry Duell outlined the history of a sundial at Willamette University donated by the Class of 1916. The dial was dedicated to Prof. Matthews and engraved with his motto of "Sagacity, Audacity, Holiness, Chairty."
Prof. Woody Sullivan described 3 new dials. The first two, an Oculus table and a Solar Hour Benches are at the San Francisco Exploratorium. The third dial at the Very Large Array Radio Telescope in New Mexico is the world's first and only sundial made from one of the original radio telescopes. It was constructed in memory of Prof. Ron Bracewell of Stanford Univ. a pioneer in radio astronomy.
Jackie Jones, Doug Bateman, Sasch Stephens, Fred Sawyer, and Mark Montgomery presented a wide range of topics from reflecting dials, elliptical dials and moon dials, to ancient Egyptian shadow clocks. Bob Kellogg, unable to attend, sent along a video on a new digital gnomon sundial, while Frank King and Steve Luecking discussed optical geometries and illusions. (Read more in the attached dowloadable PDF)
This year's Sawyer Dialing Prize was awarded to Ing. Gianni Ferrari "for his long career educating the dialing community about the nearly forgotten heritage of ancient Islamic gnomonics and the wide variety of modern analytically developed sundial." (Read more about the Sawyer Dialing Prize)
Ing. Gianni Ferrari was awarded the 2015 Sawyer Dialing prize, with his certificate acknowledging: "for his long career educating the dialing community about the nearly forgotten heritage of ancient Islamic gnomonics and the wide variety of modern analytically developed sundials." Since 2000 Gianni has contributed nearly 30 articles to the NASS Compendium, enriching dialists' knowledge around the world. Recently he published the books Le Meridiane Dell'Antico Islam (Sundials of Ancient Islam) and Formule e metodi per lo studio degli orologi solari piani - Caratteristiche, descrizione e calcolo degli orologi solar paini comuni e pop conosciuti (Formulae and methods for the study of flat sundials - with characteristics, descriptions and calculations of common and less known sundials). Gianni's acceptance presentation for the conference was on "Forgotten Dialing Formulas" using versines. The versine trigonometric function was engraved on ancient quadrants, forming the small arcs "versus" and "rectus" that were used for solving the Astronomical Triangle to derive solar azimuth and hour angle time. Those that have learned to navigate with a sextant may indeed remember using half versines or "haversines" tables. His presentation is in the September 2015 issue of the NASS The Compendium. Gianni was not able to attend the NASS Conference in Victoria, but sent greetings from Italy. He asked that NASS donate the $200 prize money to benefit an appropriate dialing cause. Like other dialing prize recipients, he received a Spectra Sundial by Jim Tallman of Artisan Industrials. Gianni's dial was designed for his home in Modena, Italy at 44o 34' N 10o 51' E.
Sundials for Starters
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Sawyer Dialing Prize
Fred Sawyer, in cooperation with the North American Sundial Society, established a continuing yearly award, the Sawyer Dialing Prize to be presented by NASS to an individual for accomplishments in or contributions to dialing and the dialing community.
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In these pages is the famous tub sundial created by Robert Terwilliger using his laser trigon to lay out hour lines on a very irregular surface to create a working sundial.
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Who are today's sundial artisans? Here are several bioghraphies of several artisans that show the unique combination of talents in art, engineering, and mathematics.
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