Charles Piazzi Smyth Symposium

Charles Piazzi Smyth

Charles Piazzi Smyth FRSE fascinates a wide range of people – astronomers, historians, photography experts, Egyptologists, art lovers and the public in general – especially Edinburgh citizens who are intrigued by the history of their city. 2019 marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Piazzi Smyth. As Astronomer Royal for Scotland, he created the One O’clock Gun tradition and more.

From 2nd to 4th September 2019, the Royal Society of Edinburgh hosted a number of events celebrating the life and work of Charles Piazzi Smyth and his talented partner in life and science, Jessica.

Symposium: Stars, pyramids and photographs

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 the event accessible to a wide audience. The registration fee for the symposium includes lunch and coffee and tea breaks on both days, and entrance to the movie screening and public lecture.

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Film screening

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.

A Residence Above the Clouds

Public lecture by Denis Pellerin

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.

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Monday September 2nd - Wednesday September 4th, 2019