The Astronomer's Chair: A history of sitting and its image


Location: Eck Visitor Center

We all have seen an astronomer pictured next to his or her instrument, perhaps posing next to a famous telescope or peering through its eyepiece. But what you might not have noticed is the chair; often there but easily overlooked. Once you see these chairs, however, you cannot miss them—they tend to be everywhere in the history of astronomy. In this presentation, Omar W. Nasim, of the University of Regensburg,  attempts to unearth the cultural significance of displaying chairs in engravings and photographs for nineteenth-century audiences. By understanding what the chair and the bodily postures visually communicated we will also come to understand their function in observing.

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