The Long View: 400 Years of the Telescope

On 16-17 July the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich will be holding a two-
day international conference in celebration of the anniversary of the
announcement of the telescope and the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

Further details can be found at

The Long View: 400 Years of the Telescope, 16-17 July 2009
In the autumn of 1608 a spectacle-maker named Hans Lipperhey presented a new invention to the States-General of the Dutch Republic for their consideration. Initially described as an instrument ‘by means of which all things at a very great distance can be seen as if they were nearby’, the device was given the name telescope three years later. By then the new instrument was being made throughout Europe and its use by Galileo and his contemporaries was raising challenging questions about the nature of the universe. Since then, the telescope has had a profound impact on all our lives, as an everyday aid to vision and an iconic tool of science.

In celebration of that anniversary and of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, this conference will explore the broad history of the telescope over its first four centuries. The instrument’s use in astronomy is a central theme, but speakers will also reveal other aspects of the social, cultural and artistic legacy of the first instrument to extend one of the human senses.

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Thursday 16 July
09.15-09.45 Registration and coffee

09.45-10.00 Welcome and introduction

10.00-11.00 Professor Eileen Reeves, Princeton University
Real fakes: pre-telescopic devices on the English stage

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-12.00 Dr Marvin Bolt, Adler Planetarium, Chicago
Towards a more diplomatic understanding: the techniques, materials, and politics of early 17th-century telescopes

12.00-12.30 Dr Frédérique Aït-Touati, University of Oxford
Kepler’s technologies: optical fiction and telescopic observation

12.30-13.00 Discussion

13.00-14.00 Lunch, Orangery of the Queen’s House

14.00-14.30 Dr Jennifer Downes, University of Aberdeen
Hevelius’s Selenographia: using telescopes to explore and map the Moon in the 17th century

14.30-15.00 Alexi Baker, University of Oxford
The telescope’s tale: popular ownership of the instrument and its symbolism in early 18th-century London

15.00-15.30 Discussion

15.30-16.00 Tea

16.00-17.00 Professor Timon Screech, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Telescopes and metaphors of seeing in early modern Japan

17.00-18.30 Reception in the Queen’s House, National Maritime Museum

Friday 17 July
09.30-10.00 Registration and coffee

10.00-11.00 Professor Patrick Parrinder, University of Reading
Beyond the telescope: the hypertelescopic imagination from Kepler to the 20th century

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-12.00 Nicky Reeves, University of Cambridge
Disciplining materials and bodies: Nevil Maskelyne and the construction of the zenith sector

12.00-12.30 Dr John McAleer, National Maritime Museum
Observatories, their telescopes and scientific ‘views’ of empire at the Cape of Good Hope, 1820–40

12.30-13.00 Discussion

13.00-14.00 Lunch, Orangery of the Queen’s House

14.00-14.30 Dr Jon Agar, University College London
The place of the Jodrell Bank Radio Telescope reassessed

14.30-15.00 Dr Richard Dunn, National Maritime Museum
Politics, progress and the pastoral: telescopes in modern film

15.00-15.30 Discussion

15.30-16.00 Tea

16.00-16.30 Professor Isobel Hook, University of Oxford
The world’s biggest optical telescopes, present and future

16.30-17.15 Discussion and close

Registration information
Thursday 16 July 09.15-17.00, followed by Evening reception 17.00-18.30
Friday 17 July 09.30-17.15

The Leopold Muller Lecture Theatre and Queen’s House,
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

Registration will take place each day from 09.15 on Thursday and 09.30 on Friday

Registration fee
Full fee: £100.00 
Concessions: £50.00 (NMM Members and students*)
*Photocopy of student identification should be sent with booking form.
Early registration is advised. VAT is included in the fee.
NB. Fee includes all refreshments and conference materials.

Please complete the booking form and send with payment to the address below.

Payment must be received in pounds sterling. Cheques should be made payable to ‘National Maritime Museum/CONF’. Payment may be made by Mastercard or Visa.

A refund of fees (less 20% administration charge) will be given, provided that notice of cancellation is received in writing on or before 1 July 2009. After this date no refunds will be given. Substitutions may be made at any time but please advise conference staff as soon as possible.

Mrs Janet Norton, Research Administrator
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF
Tel: 020 8312 6716
Fax: 020 8312 6592
E-mail: [email protected]