Time Event

Sundial Image

Dan Thompson, Armagh Natural History and Philosophical Society, and Mark Bailey, Armagh Observatory.

iconAudio recording of this event now available

As a follow-up to last year's highly successful Galileo Event, the Armagh Observatory is arranging a second event in conjunction with the Armagh Natural History and Philosophical Society aimed at strengthening the links between science and the humanities, this time with a focus on Time.

The event, which is again supported by the National Lottery Fund "Awards for All" scheme, will take place between 6.00pm and 10.00pm on Sunday 26 October 2003 in the Studio Theatre, The Market Place, Armagh. Tickets for the event are free and may be obtained by contacting Mrs Aileen McKee, Armagh Observatory, College Hill, Armagh BT61 9DG; Tel: 028-3752-2928; e-mail: ambnat signarm.ac.uk.


Despite our day-to-day familiarity with the word "time", the nature of Time has remained a mystery ever since mankind's early attempts to measure it by counting the diurnal cycle, the phases of the Moon and the slow march of the seasons. In addition to the steady, measurable passage of "clock-time", we are aware of the elastic, sometimes paradoxical nature of "mental-time", how its relentless march beats out our mortality, and how its lengthening shadow continually changes our view of the world and our understanding of the past. The "Time Event" will explore the complexities of Time from both scientific and human perspectives.

18:00 Arrival
18:30 "Time, A Guide for Travellers" Professor John Barrow FRS
(University of Cambridge)
19:30 Light Refreshments
20:15 "Time, Chime and Rhyme" Professor Iggy McGovern
(Trinity College Dublin)
20:30 "The Personal Experience of Time" Mr Malachi O'Doherty
(Fortnight Magazine)
21:15 General Discussion
22:00 Close


John Barrow, a leading cosmologist and author, will review some of the curious features of time in modern cosmology and physics. He will look at the possibilities and consequences of time travel, whether time had a beginning and whether it will have an end.

Iggy McGovern, a research physicist and poet, poses the question: "What is the dimension of the present moment?", and takes a wry look at the treatment of Time in selected poetry.

Malachi O'Doherty, Managing Editor of Fortnight magazine, notes that time as measured by clocks, whether the one on the mantelpiece or the one in the sky, passes in even measurable steps. That is not how time is experienced subjectively. Some things in the past still seem very close, others unutterably remote. A child's wait for Christmas is longer than a parent's. Drawing on his memoir "I Was A Teenage Catholic", Malachi reflects on the plasticity of time, the presence of the past, the absences from memory.

You can also download a promotional leaflet in PDF Format or Postscript Format.

See also:

Time Up , a poem, by Iggy McGovern.

Some online discussions of time:

THE NATURE OF TIME by Humberto Maturana

Anybody Really Know What Time Is?

On the Nature of Time

A Timely Look at Time

Last Revised: 2010 February 22nd