Drawing The Line – by Mike Frost
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Line - a talk by Mike Frost
This is the story of two men, one from the
West Country, the other from County Durham, who drew a line across the
North American continent.
Their names were Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, and
they were astronomers.
Mason and Dixon had already
taken part in one astronomical expedition, to observe the 1761 Transit of Venus,
and went on to take part in several other great scientific projects of
the eighteenth century - measuring the shape of the Earth and determining the
strength of gravity.
The line they gave their name to, the Mason-Dixon line separating Pennsylvania and
Maryland, has become a synonym for the fault lines which have split
America, from the Civil War to the
present-day, and has inspired many cultural works; I reference Mark Knopfler and Thomas
Pynchon among others.
Next talk The Yerkes Observatory
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