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A Unique Calendrical Event - Pictures and Outside Links


A Time to Reflect on the Nature of Time
held Tues., February 29, 2000 5:29pm Exhibits, 6:29pm Lectures

Location: MIT Museum, 265 Mass. Ave., Cambridge

Contents: Pictures / Outside Links

The quadricentennial leap year was celebrated as an evening of food, drink and talk at the MIT Museum. People went in and explored the Museum exhibits, including the Hall of Hacks where the refreshments were served.

The party celebrated the fact that the year 2000, unlike the years 1900 or 2100 is a leap year. Normally, years divisible by 4 are leap years except for years ending in '00'. But the year 2000 is an exception to the '00' exception because 2000 is divisible by 400. The last time a year ending in '00' was a leap year was 1600 - a few years before Galileo learned how to turn a telescope to the heavens. Please note also that the years 1000 and 3000 are NOT leap years. While this quirk may confuse some computer programmers, it has served to keep the calendar on track through the centuries.

There were three speakers who will spent some time with us on the history of calendars and on time itself. The lectures were presented in the following order:

  1. "A Day in 400 Years: The Origins and Evolution of Our Calendar and Related Units of Time" by Will Andrewes, most recently the Curator of Harvard's Collection of Scientific and Historical Instruments. Will is also a Freeman in Britain's Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and has had a long time passion for timekeeping devices.
  2. "The Time of Your Life and Other Times" by Professor Bob Jaffe, Director of MIT's Center for Theoretical Physics.
  3. "Time Travel: What the Laws of Physics Actually Allow" by Professor Edward Farhi also at the Center for Theoretical Physics.

Y2K-compliant ice sculpturePeople conversingin front of the Campus Police car behind the Campus Police car

Jim and John chattingThis was not the dishes for the refreshmentsintroducing the first speaker The 'Campus Police car' that was on the Great Dome

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Related Outside Links

History of Calendars and Timekeeping

Time Scales in Particle Physics and Cosmology

Time Travel

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Last modified: Mon Mar 13 2000