Marking Time by Duncan Steel
The Epic Quest to Invent the Perfect Calendar

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Synopsis

"If you lie awake worrying about the overnight transition from December 31, 1 b.c., to January 1, a.d. 1 (there is no year zero), then you will enjoy Duncan Steel's Marking Time."--American Scientist

"No book could serve as a better guide to the cumulative invention that defines the imaginary threshold to the new millennium."--Booklist

A Fascinating March through History and the Evolution of the Modern-Day Calendar . . .

In this vivid, fast-moving narrative, you'll discover the surprising story of how our modern calendar came about and how it has changed dramatically through the years. Acclaimed author Duncan Steel explores each major step in creating the current calendar along with the many different systems for defining the number of days in a week, the length of a month, and the number of days in a year. From the definition of the lunar month by Meton of Athens in 432 b.c. to the roles played by Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, and Isaac Newton to present-day proposals to reform our calendar, this entertaining read also presents "timely" tidbits that will take you across the full span of recorded history. Find out how and why comets have been used as clocks, why there is no year zero between 1 b.c. and a.d. 1, and why for centuries Britain and its colonies rang in the New Year on March 25th. Marking Time will leave you with a sense of awe at the haphazard nature of our calendar's development. Once you've read this eye-opening book, you'll never look at the calendar the same way again.
 

About Duncan Steel

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DUNCAN STEEL, PhD, is a space researcher who works on the dynamics of solar system objects. He has a special interest in the astronomical bases of the calendar. He teaches and directs a space research program at the University of Salford in Manchester, England. He has appeared on numerous TV shows and documentaries, including the Discovery Channel’s Emmy-winning Three Minutes to Impact.
 
Published August 3, 2007 by Wiley. 432 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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For example, Steel tells us that the ancient Greek astronomer Callippus “suggested that the year should be precisely 365.25 days long on average, and invented a cycle of 4 X 19 = 76 years from which one day was deleted, the 76 years thus lasting for (4 X 6,940) - 1 = 27,759 days spread over 940 m...

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Australian astronomer Steel (Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets) appears to have packed three disparate books into this single volume: a general history of the development of the calendar system, a more advanced version larded with astronomical information for the science buff or professional, a...

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