Great Britain's astronomer royal, Sir Arnold W. Wolfendale, will deliver several free lectures starting tonight and visit a high school on Friday.

Wolfendale will be in Salt Lake City through Friday, hosted by the University of Utah College of Science. He is the 14th astronomer royal and has "written, edited or contributed to 11 books and published more than 500 papers in professional journals," says a U. press statement.

Tonight at 7, he will present a lecture at Clark Planetarium, 110 S. 400 West, in The Gateway. His topic is "Astronomers Royal through the Ages." The free lecture is limited to 200 guests, not to include children under 6. To RSVP, contact Carl Malaret at 456-4973 or e-mail [email protected].

Seth Jarvis, the planetarium director, said the planetarium is grateful to the College of Science for bringing Wolfendale to Utah.

"To have so distinguished a scientist and scholar speak at the planetarium is a rare honor," he said. "Clark Planetarium's mission is to provide the public with stimulating and enlightening education experiences, and a lecture by Sir Arnold certainly helps us do just that."

According to information Wolfendale's staff provided the planetarium, King Charles II caused Greenwich Observatory to be founded in 1675 to determine longitude at sea by "the astronomical method."

"Great Britain and other countries struggled with the problem of longitude and accurate navigation of ships at sea," the staff members added. "The problem was so difficult that the British Parliament in 1714 offered what was a huge fortune at the time (20,000 pounds) for a solution." To win, a person had to devise a way to determine longitude to an accuracy of 30 nautical miles or less.

Wolfendale will talk Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. in the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Biology Building Auditorium, U. campus. The title is "Time: From Harrison Clocks to the Possibility of New Physics."

Finding longitude accurately was accomplished by a "self-taught clockmaker," says a U. release quoting Wolfendale.

On Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Room 334 of the James Fletcher Building on campus, he will discuss cosmic rays and global warming.

Wolfendale will lecture on "The Search for Intelligent Life" outside Earth at 9 a.m. Friday in the main auditorium of West High School. "The views of the student audience will be sought and Wolfendale will present his personal conclusions," adds the release.