4th Annual Robert Grosseteste Lecture in Astrophysics

Dali, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City

It’s About Time!

a public lecture by

Professor Don Kurtz

Jeremiah Horrocks Institute, the University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK

Friday, 8 November 2019,

6:00-7:20 pm

Newton Lecture Theatre  INB0114 in the Isaac Newton building, University of Lincoln

Book a place

Days, Weeks, Months, Years and more:  Hear about Roman Emperors, Zulu Wars, Rider Haggard, Thomas Hardy, the English time riots, and how the days of the week got their names in an amusing and informative tour of the Western calendar. Astronomers have designed calendars in societies through history, but calendar reform in western cultures has been driven by the needs of priests to set important religious holidays. In this talk you will learn how the now-International Gregorian calendar grew out of the earlier Julian Calendar, which was itself a refinement of the Roman Republican calendar. You will also learn why “30 days hath September …”, why the UK tax year starts on the odd date of 6 April, and why the Russian Orthodox Christmas is celebrated on 7 January. The day, month and year are probably not what you think they are, and they no longer govern the GPS time on your phone. Come find out how we measure time’s passage.


Don Kurtz was born in San Diego, California, to an American father and Canadian mother. He obtained his PhD in astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin in 1976, then spent 24 years in South Africa at the University of Cape Town, where he was Professor and Life Fellow. Don has dual British and American citizenship and has been Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire since 2001. He was recently vice-president of the Royal Astronomical Society and serves on many international committees. He is frequently invited to speak internationally to both professional astronomers and to the public. Don observes with some of the largest telescopes in the world, has over 2000 nights at the telescope, and nearly 500 professional publications. He is the discoverer of a class of pulsating, magnetic stars that are the most peculiar stars known. He is co-author of the fundamental textbook “Asteroseismology”. He is an outdoorsman and has travelled widely. Don enthusiastically gives many public lectures per year to diverse audiences all over the world on a wide range of topics. He is a regular guest on BBC Radio Lancashire and has appeared in prime time on the BBC’s “Stargazing Live” with Dara O’Briain, on the BBC One Show, and on the “Sky at Night” with Patrick Moore.


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