Seattle: Sundial Capital of the United States? The 2011 North American Sundial Society had perfect blue-sky weather for its annual conference held in August 2011. Professor Woodruff “Woody” Sullivan, conference host at University of Washington started the fest by showing off the large vertical sundial built in 1994 on the side of the Physics and Astronomy Building.
The conference covered a wide range of topics including two presentations on stained glass sundials, the 17th work of La Hire and his successful "La Gnomonique ou L'art de tracer Des Cadrans" ("Gnomonicks or The Art of Shadows of Sundials") and dialist-surveyor and one of the founding members of the Acadamie Royale, Jean Picard. The methods of taking photos of the sun over months of time, called Solargraphy, was presented by Art Paque, and then there were talks on the operation of cylindrical sundials, sundials that can show standard time, an update on the Mars sundial, and discussions on solar alignments, heliodons and stair shadows.
Helmut Sonderegger, this year’s recipient of the Sawyer Dialing Prize discussed the Rheticus Memorial sundial designed for Georg Joachim Rheticus, the first Copernican.
Download the PDF and read about the conference in detail, including the bus tour of Seattle dials visiting the Pillar Dial of University Prep Academy, Epiphany School Vertical Dial, and Rebecca Cummins analemma and colored skylights in the ceiling of the Montrose Public Library.
At the 2008 NASS Conference in St. Louis MO, Fred Sawyer presented the 2008 Sawyer Dialing Prize to Kate Pond “for the success of her World Sculpture Project. This project has brought dialing, an appreciation of light and shadow and new connections between traditional art and science to children and adults in countries and cultures around the world.” The prize consisted of a certificate, a cash award, and a specially commissioned trophy Spectra Sundial by Jim Tallman.
Kate Pond presented a summary of her award winning world project. “My sculpture invites participation: with people, and with the sun, shadows and alignments at different seasons of the year. The position of the sun, moon, and stars create a structure for me, like a painter might use a rectangle as a frame of reference.” The first sculpture of her project “ZigZag”, is a simple elegant pipe structure that tracks the time from 10 am to 2 pm on the equinox at latitude 45 degrees, the border between Canada and the US at the dial’s location, Stanstead Quebec. The next sculpture was SOLEKKO at the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, Oslo, Norway. Here the sculpture is a triangular cone that casts no shadow at noon on the equinox. All the projects involved children actively playing and learning and included time capsules with art and their messages for the future. Other sculptures were created in Japan, Hawaii, and New Zealand. This last sculpture “Telling Stones” used stone alignments for the rising and setting of summer and winter solstices, equinox, and the rising of the Pleiades in June (the Matariki marking the Maori new year) and the rising of Antares (the Maori, Rehua), at the beginning of summer in December. You can find more of Kate Pond’s works at http://www.vermontsculpture.com/
From paper sundials to street side sundials, NASS celebrated its annual conference in Burlington, VT. Kate Pond’s “Come Light, Visit Me” sundial, in collaboration with Bill Gottesman, was dedicated at Champlain College. The sundial uses the properties of an equatorial ring, casting the shadows of time upon itself.
Fred Sawyer talked about Antique Hour Lines, showing finally that the lines are amazingly complex, but come very close, but not exactly to the traditional notion of a straight line. André Bouchard discussed Le Gnomoniste, a review of the Quebec sundial society 1993-2010. Roger Bailey gave a short presentation on the solstice points on analemmatic sundials that can be used as sight lines for summer and winter solstice. Roger Bailey gave a detailed talk on the Ibn Al-Shatir Sundial, whose design he studied in detail to produce the Ottoman Garden dial in Missouri.
Bert Willard, the Springfield Telescope makers Historian and Curator described the sundials and sunclocks from James Hartness and Russell Porter. Porter is also know for his leadership in amateur astronomy. Jack Aubert probed into the question of who was first to describe the Equation of Time and the figure “8” analemma. Finding that the first to draw it with reference to a mean time meridian was Grandjean de Fouchy at the Palace de Petit Luxembourg in Paris sometime before 1741.
At the 2007 NASS Conference in McLean VA, Fred Sawyer presented the Sawyer Dialing Prize to Mac Oglesby, citing Mac’s unusual dials and his willingness to help others make dials, passing his educational efforts among several generations of people, and his promotion of community interest in sundials. Once again this year the prize included a custom Spectra Sundial designed and produced by Jim Tallman of Artisan Industrials. In accepting the prize, Mac thanked many people who had helped him: Bill Maddux, who introduced him to dials, Fred Sawyer, who brought him into NASS, Bob Terwilliger about Compendium articles, Fer J. de Vries, who helped him through email correspondence, Tony Moss for ideas, and David Roth, with slides of Bill Maddux and Mac and their work. Mac then distributed cylinder azimuth dials he had made as a gift for each conference participant – specific to his/her own location.
The Portland tour of sundials included Colby Lamb’s Sundial and workshop, a patio sundial of Rob and Julie Brown that also served as a water sprinkler, a vertical mosaic dial at Stephenson Elementary School, the analemmatic sundial at Marylhurst University designed by John Schilke of NASS and Jan Dabrowski, and across the Willamette River to Reed College and a 1912 vertical sundial designed by Dr. F. L. Griffin. Then more sundials at the National History Site, Fort Vancouver, and ending with the Clark College Equatorial Sundial with a new analemmic gnomon. Roger Bailey outlined how he helped Soap Lake’s monumental sculpture become a summertime sundial. Bill Gottesman showed a realization of Fred Sawyer’s Horizontal Equant Dial that adjusts by simple rotation for the Equation of Time. And most interesting was Silvio Magnani’s presentation on an interactive reflecting heliochronometer in Milan, Italy. Read about this and much, much more by downloading the PDF.
At the 2006 NASS Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Fred Sawyer announced that the Sawyer Dialing Prize for 2006 is given to Hendrik Hollander, “for his innovative design of a mean-time planar sundial with oblique conical gnomon and modified hour lines and day curves – resulting in a sundial adapted to modern timekeeping while retaining the aesthetic appeal of the familiar dial face.” Fer J. de Vries was able to present the dial to Hendrik in The Netherlands.
One of Hendrik’s conical gnomon dials is on the cover of the September 2006 [Vol. 13, No. 3] issue of The Compendium. Inside that issue Hendrik explains in detail how the cone dial and a number of other bi-gnomon sundials work. In response to the Sawyer Dialing Prize Hendrik sent a letter of thanks to the NASS conference.
Don Snyder was a superb host for the St. Louis conference. He organized an interesting tour that included the Jefferson Barracks 1817 sundial (now part of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), the angel holding a vertical sundial on the wall of the St. Louis University Hospital, and the several dials at the Jewel Box in Forest Park. At the Missouri History Museum, conferees saw the “Forgotten Sundial” designed by Thomas Jefferson. At Danforth Campus of Washington University was the 1908 Cupples Dial, and finally at the Missouri Botanical Gardens two dials were dedicated: Ron Rhinehart’s cross-gnomon equatorial and Roger Bailey’s “Ottoman Garden” sundial, based on Ibn Al-Shatir’s dial carved at the Great Mosque in Damascus in 1371. At the conference, the major talk was on the Cahokia Woodhenge, presented by Michael Friedlander, professor of physics and astronomy at Washington University.” And of course there were NASS speakers in abundance talking of dials, dialing scales, and new approaches to the Equation of Time.
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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This section is dedicated to Richard Schmoyer who invented the Sunquest sundial. Please visit http://sunquestsundial.org/ as well.
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