Monthly update, December 2019
Many thanks to David Roberts, a Radio Amateur who is a regular visitor to the Museum, who delivered two lectures for us recently, one at short notice due to unexpected circumstances. 'The Story of the Sun' was the subject of his first lecture and he began by talking about the importance of the sun to people throughout history. In Ancient Egypt, for example, people worshipped the sun as a god; Louis XIV of France in the seventeenth century was called the 'Sun King' and currently 14 national flags have a picture of the sun on them. He summarised the scientific advances in solar studies over the centuries, especially in the Renaissance period. Copernicus realised that the sun was the centre of the solar system, and not the earth as previously thought. In 1608, Hans Lipperhey invented a telescope, and in 1609 Galileo Galilei produced his 'perspective glass' and was placed under house arrest by the Inquisition for doing so. In 1661, King Charles II founded the Royal Society (for Improving Natural Knowledge), one of whose founders was Newton who was carrying out experiments on light. The King also established the Royal Greenwich Observatory in 1676, for navigation. David then went on to talk about more recent studies on the sun and other planets, referring to solar probes which photograph the sun as they pass - some of which are still in orbit. The Hubble space telescope has shown the location of the earth and the solar system in our galaxy - the earth is in the habitable area known as the 'goldilocks' area. The lecture concluded with a very lively question-and-answer session, which demonstrated the broad knowledge and interest of the audience in the field.
"A thread across the ocean, the first Transatlantic cable” was the subject of David's second lecture, when he summarised the attempts to connect south-western Ireland with eastern Canada by telegraph. Fredric Newton Gisbourne was the first to start the work by laying a cable from St. John's to Halifax in south-eastern Canada in 1852. In 1857 under the sponsorship of Cyrus West Field, experimentation began on the Atlantic Ocean. In the first two attempts, two ships carrying miles of cable each were sent to meet in the middle of the ocean, and the cable was lowered into the sea as they travelled back to their ports, but the attempt failed. In 1858 a cable was successfully laid in place, and Queen Victoria sent a message to the President of the USA and received a reply, but the cable broke shortly afterwards. Thomas Brassey sponsored the fourth attempt in 1865, when only one ship was used, but that cable was also impaired. In 1866 a new cable was produced and that was the "first Transatlantic cable", which enabled messages to be sent from Ireland to Canada and back. Cyrus West Field, because of his persistence over the years, was the one responsible for this achievement, and by the time of his death 10 cables spanned the Atlantic Ocean carrying ever-increasing traffic.
At the November Craft Morning, Carole demonstrated how to decorate bottles and place a light inside them. In the first photograph, Imogen, Ann, Tomos and Eva are working diligently. In the second photograph, they are displaying their bottles, and those of Hannah and Katie also. There is room for one or two others to join us on these Craft Mornings on the first Saturday of the month, if you wish.
Everyone is welcome to our lecture series at 7.00 pm on Friday nights at the Museum:
On December 13th, David Crawford will present
"A Night of the BBC Test Card and music".
January 17th is the Curator's Night, and David Crawford will talk about
On February 21st, John Barr will talk about
"Building the Conwy Tunnel".