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Session 1 - HAD I: North of the Border: The Development of Canadian Astronomy.
Oral session, Sunday, January 12
Harbour A,

[1.02] The Popularization of Astronomy in Canada

J. -L. Trudel (Montreal, QC)

In Canada, astronomy has a longer history than most other sciences. The European settlers had to master the rudiments of astronomical practice, while the natural setting promoted geophysical observations of all kinds. In the nineteenth century, astronomy was part of natural theology and a resource for timekeepers and cartographers, but was increasingly pursued for its own sake by laymen. The creation of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada marks a turning point. Though it appeared to unite professionals and amateurs, it became early on a conduit for the knowledge of the former to flow to the latter, supplementing the purely academic stream. It followed upon the success of new publications meant to acquaint readers with the facts of astronomy, for the hitherto unsuspected pleasures they might bring. In fact, some Canadian works of this kind reached a wide audience, in Canada and abroad, and the post-WWII period saw an almost complete disjunction between the formerly utilitarian aspects of popularization a nd the catering to interested laypeople, distinct from the professionals. By 1976, the transformation was complete. The science mastered by explorers and appealed to by believers had become both a field for professional investigations and a widely popularized corpus of star lore

Program listing for Sunday