The history of Dunsink Observatory.
VII - Didattica e storia della fisica
Aula 29C-3 - Venerdì 21 h 15:30 - 18:30
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The Dunsink Observatory was established by an endowment of pounds 3,000 in the will of Francis Andrews (Provost of Trinity College Dublin). The site was established on the south slope of a low hill in the townland of Dunsink, 84 m above sea level. Originally the main work of the observatory was positional astronomy; the accurate determination of the position of stars on the sky and, related to this, the precise determination of local time. Dunsink provided the time standard for Dublin right up to the early 20th century and there are several references in Joyce's Ulysses to Dunsink and the difference between Dublin Time and Greenwich Time, and the clocks used are still on display in the Observatory today. William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865) was the third Director of the Dunsink Observatory (from 1827 to 1865). He became Andrews Professor of Astronomy when he was only 21 years old. Hamilton made several important advances in mathematics and physics: the Hamiltonian, the Hamilton's principal function, modern mathematical algebra, Quaternios. He preferred mathematics to astronomy and left most of the observational work to his collaborators. Today, the Dunsink Observatory is a place of interest for the general public in Dublin as well as visitors all around the world.