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NASS 2021 Sara SchechnerThis year's Sawyer Dialing Prize went to Dr. Sara Schechner “for her career in education and conservation of our dialing heritage, and in particular for her authorship of Time of Our Lives – Sundials of the Adler Planetarium”.

Dr. Schechner is a historian of science, and in particular, of astronomical instruments. She is the David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments at Harvard University. She is also a lecturer on the history of science at Harvard. Previously at the Adler Planetarium, she was pivotal in authoring and producing Time of Our Lives.

Fred presented Sara with an award certification, the tradional cash prize of $200 and a custom made Spectra Sundial by Jim Tallman of Artisan Industrials.

She acknowledged the Sawyer Dialing Prize with a presentation on “Sundials That Tell Us More Than the Time”. In her talk, she examined sundials that indicate the political, religious, economic and geographic context in which they were created from the humble dial to the princely treasure. Sundials could be found embedded in eating utensils, swords, guns, or your writing kit. Early consumers wanted pocket sundials with style, much the way iphone and smartphone users today show off their technology. Cities specialized in the manufacture of different styled dials. Living in London you might have an equatorial from Augsburg or in Paris you would choose the Butterfield Dial. For the rich, dials were of silver and gold. The middle class might have brass and the lower class might use a shepherd’s dial out of paper and wood.