In McLean, Virginia close to Washington, D.C. NASS held its 13th annual conference. At the Analemma Society’s site in Observatory Park, Tony Moss’ dial, the “Jamestown Commemorative Dial,” was dedicated in front of over 50 school children and twice as many adults. This is the first sundial installation in what is planned to be an International Sundial Garden. Other highlights of the sundial tour included the Lyman Briggs Memorial Dial at the National Institute of Science and Technology, the Latitude Observatory (once used to study the daily variation in the earth’s wobble and rotation rate), the Vernon Walker Education Center dial, and the vertical dial on the wall of Jack and Kate Aubert. The conference talks included Roger Bailey on “God’s Longitude and the Lost Colony,” Woody Sullivan’s “Ten Tons of Basalt and Tenths of Degrees,” Fred Sawyer’s discussion on the 17th century battle over the priority of inventing the stereographic quadrant dial, Kevin Karney’s “Variability in the Equation of Time” over geological epoch periods (well, for at least 500 years), and much more. Most impressive was Julian Chen’s “Omnidirectional Lens in Sundials and Solar Compasses” using spheres filled with solution of copper sulfate to focus the sunlight onto a dial.
At the 2004 NASS Conference in Tenafly, NJ, Fred Sawyer announced that the Sawyer Dialing Prize would go jointly to Bill Nye and Woodruff (Woody) Sullivan for their efforts to transform the Mars Rover Pancam calibration disk into a Martian sundial (with electronically placed hour lines) that could be viewed on the Internet. The award was a foregone conclusion at the inception of the prize some years ago, but awaited the success of the Mars Rover landings in 2004. [Photo Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell] http://athena.cornell.edu/kids/sundial.html
Unfortunately neither Bill nor Woody was able to attend the conference, but a descriptive paper by Bill was read explaining the corresponding Earth Dial project (“Two Worlds, One Sun”), showing similar styled dials in Utah, Honduras, Ohio, Virginia, Chile, Canada, the UK, Spain, and even the South Pole. Download the PDF created by Nye Labs at revealing how to make a replica of the Mars Dial.
Fred noted that at the winner’s request, the cash prize will be used to thank and compensate Hilda Taylor, the undergraduate student volunteer who did most of the computer work for the Earth Dial project. Both Bill and Woody received a certificate and a Spectra Dial by Jim Tallman, with the signature motto of the prize and with a declination line for the date of their choice.http://www.artisanindustrials.com/world-of-sundials/spectra-sundial-seattle-2.html
Art meets science: John Carmichael held a workshop on DeltaCAD, a flexible computer aided design program for designing sundials and later in the conference with “Some New Sundials I” showed the result of such designs in beautiful stain glass sundials. From the history domain, Fred Sawyer told the story of Captain Sturmy, a 17th century mariner and author of “Gnomonical Scales,” now part of the Shadow Catchers series. Len Berggren discussed the sundials of Geminos of Rhodes in his text “Introduction to the Phenomena,” written about the first century BCE. Chuck Nafziger showed his light concentration sundial with Braille markings to show time-telling to the vision impaired, and Professor Woody Sullivan displayed a prototype of the One-World-Two-Suns Mars sundial. On the pavement of the parking lot, Brian Albinson drew out the split-analemma analemmatic sundial. See these sundials and more … download the PDF.
At the 2003 NASS Conference in Banff, Alberta Canada, Fred Sawyer presented the fourth Sawyer Dialing Prize to Helm Roberts for his design and construction of the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. http://www.kyvietnammemorial.net/
The certificate read in part: “In recognition of his understanding that the spirit of a sundial can not only stir the imagination but also help to heal the heart and preserve fond memory, as evidenced in his design of the Kentucky Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.” Helm also received the Sawyer Prize cash award and a beautiful special edition of Jim Tallman’s Spectra Sundial in etched glass.
Helm Roberts then gave an intriguing and moving presentation, “Making the Memorial – the Design, Theory, and Construction of the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial” at Frankfort, KY. The gnomon is made of stainless steel, and the end point of its shadow annually touches the engraved name of each of over 1100 soldiers on the anniversary of the day of death. The political and mechanical issues are fascinating, resulting in a truly artistic triumph.
This conference contrasted the old and the new. Steve Luecking presented “Rope Geometry”, an outdoor exercise to draw an ellipse on the ground and draw a horizontal dial using only a knotted cord and stakes in the fashion of ancient Egyptian “rope pullers” (civil engineers). When the conferees visited the Museum of Science and Industry, they were able to see a collection of dials, including a fine example of a first century AD dial, a slight variant of a hemisphaerium. Klau Eichholz talked about Fr. Franz Xaver Josef Bovius and the restoration of his 1716 dial at Solnhofen. On the modern fron, Mike Shaw led the group carefully through the steps of understanding and creating the ingenious Universal Diallist’s Companion. By special arrangement, Fred Sawyer distributed copies of this very useful device to everyone in attendance. Fred then introduced another new dial of his devising, the Hectemoros Dial. Tony Moss discussed two power point presentations “Using and Understanding Sundials” and “Concepts for Students of Sundialling”. A highlight of the conference was the announcement that the North American Sundial Society had been asked to be technical advisor on sun shadows for an episode of the television series “NUMB3RS.” Plus many other presentations by Larry McDavid, Don Petrie, Roger Bailey and a workshop on 3D CAD by SteveLuecking.
At the 2002 NASS Conference in Tucson AZ, Fred Sawyer presented the Sawyer Dialing Prize to John Carmichael. Fred presented John with a trophy equatorial dial by Tony Moss and a certificate of appreciation for John’s work in recognition of his efforts to bring dialing to a high tech world and his demonstration that it is still possible in that world to prosper as a traditional craftsman of high quality heliochronometers.
John produces a wide variety of sundials, principally in stone and glass. Many are on public display in parks while others are in private buildings and homes. Visit John’s website at http://www.sundialsculptures.com/ to see the many dials he has produced.
In response to the award, John presented his paper on “Polar Axis Gnomons with Multiple Styles.” In his talk, John outlined his idea for a project to use the structure of the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope as the gnomon for a sundial. Although the telescope tube is at the correct polar angle for use as a gnomon, the design is complicated by its size and thickness. The style width creates different shadows projected from different edges of the structure as the day passes and the fuzziness of the penumbral shadow complicates the reading of the time.
At Tenafly, New Jersey NASS conferees once again to discuss sundials and sundial making. Larry McDavid began the conference with “Sundials: Prehistory to the Digital Age” intended as an instructional power point that can be given to a wide spectrum of adult audiences. A companion presentation, “Beauty in Dialing” is also released for educational use. Bob Kellogg discussed construction and alignment of the Freedom High School 9-11 memorial Dial. Bob Terwilliger “in a blaze of entertaining wizardry” described Bion’s 17th and 18th century techniques for dial construction usin his laser trigon “sciatorium.” Bob showed how his precision instrument that can “draw a sundial on a Buick” also can design a dial on his garden hot-tub. Steve Luecking demonstrated programs for deriving hour lines and day lines from shadow planes and other CAD techniques. Plus many more interesting presentations by Bill Gottesman, Robert Adzema, Martin Jenkins, John Carmaichael, and Sara Schechner.
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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