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The meridian of Struve

Bruges, Belgium
Organisation: Cultuurbibliotheek Sint-Lodewijkscollege
A lecture by Jan De Graeve.
The degree measurement of Struve is a remarkable example of collaboration between scientists from different countries and between different heads of state. It is named after the German-born Russian astronomer Friedrich Georg Wilhelm von Struve (1793-1864). On his recommendation between 1816 and 1855 triangles were measured between 265 measurement and observation points, which could be tens of kilometers apart, stretching from Hammerfest in Norway to Stara Newrasovska at the Black Sea, through ten countries and over 2,820 km. The chain was established and used to establish the exact size and shape of the earth. At that time, the chain passed merely through two countries: Union of Sweden-Norway and the Russian Empire. The Arc's first point is located in Tartu Observatory in Estonia, where Struve conducted much of his research. These points were indicated by markings in rocks, iron crosses, stones and obelisks. 34 of these still exist today and have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a tangible memory of this enormous project known as the Geodetic Arch of Struve. Now there are plans to extend this measurement to Buffalo Fountain in South Africa along the 30th meridian through Africa.
Biography of Jan De Graeve - Jan De Graeve was born in Bruges in 1945. From training he is surveyor, followed studies Urbanism and roads, and is specialized in valuations of property rights. He taught at KU Leuven where he gave an introduction to scientific instruments from the 15-16th century: astrolabia, sundials, quadrants, etc. He is currently President of the Belgian Bibliophiles and of the Sundial Circle Flanders and Director of the International Institute for History of Surveying & Measurement (IIHS & M). He also tries to reconstruct the original scientific library of Gerard Mercator with 16th century books. He has taken the initiative to bring the Struve Meridian to the UNESCO world heritage site (WHM), which finally happened in 2005. Now he is working on the expansion from pole to pole.
Venue: Cultuurbibliotheek Sint-Lodewijkscollege, Magdalenastraat 30, 8200 Brugge
Language: Dutch
Time schedule: 20.00