Twenty years ago at Harvard University, the Longitude Symposium brought together 500 collectors, restorers, dealers, academics, curators and people from 17 countries interested in the history of time measurement. The proceedings led to the publication of Dava Sobel’s well-known book, Longitude, which told the story of John Harrison’s 18th century quest to develop a timepiece accurate enough to determine a ship’s east-west position beyond sight of land.
November 7-9, 2013 at California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, another epic conference will take place. Titled “Time for Everyone: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Public Time”, the program opens with a presentation, “The Time of Our Lives” by William J.H. Andrewes, creator and driving force behind the Longitude Symposium. The weekend features renowned speakers from various disciplines -- physics, astrobiology, neuroscience, history and horology -- culminating in Saturday evening’s banquet keynote address by Bill Phillips, 1997 Nobel Laureate, on “Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe”.
Speakers specifically on clock and watch history include writer Dava Sobel on “The Bell and the Clock: The Need for Public Time”, Jonathan Betts, curator at Royal Greenwich Observatory; Chris Bailey, former curator of the American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut; Chris McKay on “The Great Age of the Tower Clock”, and Thomas O’Brien of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, on “Atomic Clock: Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?”.
Speakers on broader concepts include Sean Carroll of Caltech on “The Origin of the Universe and the Arrow of Time”, Edwin Krupp, Director of the Griffith Observatory, on “Advent and Evolution of the Calendar”, and David Eagleman of Baylor College of Medicine, on “Time and the Brain”.
“Time for Everyone”, this year’s Ward Francillon Time Symposium sponsored in conjunction with the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, expects as many as 600 international attendees with common interests in time and its measurement. From astronomical cycles to biological evolution, from ancient clocks to Rolex wristwatches and smartphones, timekeeping has regulated human existence from its earliest origins. This symposium will focus on timekeeping history and its importance to our lives today.
Full program details and registration information are available on-line at www.timeforeveryone.org.