Centre for Photography and Visual Culture

David H. Levy

Wednesday 12 November, 17.00-18.30
Jubilee 144

AstonomyFrom a selection of references to the night sky in the poetry of Enheduanna, an Akkadian poet from more than four thousand years ago, English verse has benefited from experiences that many writers have had with the sky.  From Shakespeare, who probably observed the great supernova of 1572, and may have included it in Hamlet, to Tennyson who owned a telescope and relished using it, to Gerard Manley Hopkins who brilliantly ushered the passage of a comet into one of his poems, English poetry has been greatly strengthened by its many allusions to the the night sky. Although much has been written about the relationships among literature and the sciences, very little has been explored specifically about what is actually seen in the night sky, and how that relates to literature. This lecture, which is illustrated with video and music, describes my journey of exploration through this interdisciplinary field.

David H. Levy is a celebrated astronomer who has discovered 23 comets, the most famous being Shoemaker-Levy 9 that collided with Jupiter in 1994, and over 500 asteroid discoveries.  He holds a PhD in Astronomy and English Literature and five honorary doctorates in Science. He has written over three dozen books and appears frequently on the Discovery and the Science T.V. Channels in the U.S. David was awarded an Emmy for the documentary Three Minutes to Impact, and is currently the editor of the web magazine Sky?s Up! He continues to hunt for comets and asteroids, and lectures worldwide.