"Astronomy Across the Medieval World"

Location: Martin Wood Lecture Theatre, Department of Physics

Date: Saturday 18 November 2017

Time: 10:30 - 17:00


The celestial sky has been a source of fascination since ancient times with astronomy being the oldest of the natural sciences. During the medieval period, astronomy flourished in many cultures across the world, some of which followed on from earlier models created by Ptolemy. The motions of the celestial bodies were investigated, early astronomical observatories were built and some cultures constructed remarkable monuments inspired by astronomical insights. This conference will draw together the different strands of medieval astronomy from across the world and will examine how they interfaced and paved the way for the scientific developments later in the Renaissance.

The programme for the day is below:

MORNING CHAIR: Professor Charles Burnett (University of London)

10.30 am WELCOME

10.40 am Dr Giles Gasper (Durham University) - `The Service of Astronomy' - European Star-Gazing and Its Implications in the Middle Ages [VIDEO]

11.30 am Professor Christopher Cullen (University of Cambridge) - Chinese Astronomy in a World Context [VIDEO]

12.20 pm Dr Josep Casulleras (University of Barcelona) - From Ancient to Modern: Astronomy in Medieval Islam [VIDEO]


AFTERNOON CHAIR: Professor Silke Ackermann (University of Oxford)

2.15 pm Professor Ivan Šprajc (Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) - Mayan and Aztec Astronomy: Skywatching in Prehispanic Mesoamerica [VIDEO]

3.05 pm Dr Benno van Dalen (Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities) - Ptolemaic Astronomy and Its Dissemination in the Islamic World, Europe and Asia [VIDEO]


4.30 pm SUMMARY OF THE DAY'S PROCEEDINGS - Professor Emilie Savage-Smith (University of Oxford) [VIDEO]

There will be a conference dinner at St Cross in the evening following the end of the conference with an after-dinner talk by Dr Valerie Shrimplin (Gresham College) on the influence of astronomy and the cosmos on medieval art.