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Physics Colloquium: It’s about time: A brief history of the calendar and timekeeping

Location: PLT

How many times a day do you check your calendar or look at your clock? In this

modern age, our lives are driven by deadlines, schedules and timetables. Time

and its many divisions (hours, days, weeks, months and years) have completely

shaped our lives and yet it’s rare that we take the time to think about where

these concepts arise from.

The calendar as we know it is inextricably linked to the mechanics of our solar

system, and the way in which we describe our periods of time have arisen from

ancient speculation in astronomy, mathematics and religion.

In this talk, Donna will provide a brief history of our calendar and an

introduction to time measurement from ancient sundials to modern atomic

clocks. This is a fascinating field where astronomy, astrology, mathematics,

physics, politics, agriculture, superstition and religion all come together.

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