Students collaborate on sundial
March 28, 2017
A newly-installed sundial at LBW Community College in Opp was officially dedicated during a recently-held public ceremony.
“This sundial is dedicated to the enjoyment and edification of all our students on the MacArthur Campus and for the benefit of the community,” said LBWCC President Dr. Herb Riedel. “May it be an inspiration for many years to come.”
The creation of the sundial is the result of collaboration between students in Andalusia and Opp and combines art, design, and science, he added.
The students involved were Thomas Hale, a 2014 graduate of LBWCC and a materials science engineering senior at Auburn University, and Cody Catrett, a graduate of LBWCC’s welding program now employed at a nuclear power plant in Georgia.
“While at LBW, Thomas became involved in the Science and Engineering Club on the Andalusia campus with Dr. Brian Cushing serving as advisor,” said Riedel. “Eventually, he enlisted the help of the welding department in Opp. Cody, then a welding student, assisted in manufacturing the piece, and it sits on a concrete base constructed by the College’s facilities and maintenance department.”
During the ceremony, Hale explained the concept and design, and expressed his appreciation to all who helped make it a reality.
Precision machining and laser cutting were used to construct the sundial from aluminum. The base was formed from a mold of stacked plywood sheets cut in concentric circles with a steel grid frame inserted, providing a central cylindrical hole for a chain to lift the finished base into place.
Riedel said he believes a sundial is a worthy addition to any college campus.
“They are functional objects that illustrate our connection to the solar system. They remind us that while we are small beings in a vast universe, despite all our human activities, we continually move steadfastly through space following immutable laws and we ourselves form an expression of these same laws.”
Hale’s design is a type known as an equatorial sundial. The rod casting a shadow is called the gnomon and is parallel to the earth’s axis. At night, it points directly to the North Star. The sundial is configured for the specific latitude of Opp. The shadow falls on a disk parallel to the earth’s equatorial plane. During the summer, the shadow is seen on the north side of the disk, and on the south side in the winter.
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