Francisco Alarcón of the Mathematics Department will give the Fall Sigma Xi lecture on “The Maya Long Count Calendar and 2012.” The lecture will be given on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. in Pratt Auditorium.
The Maya civilization was, without a doubt, the most developed in the pre-Columbian Americas. It flourished for centuries in southern México, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The Maya are known for a fully developed written language, an intricate calendric system, beautiful art, and sophisticated architecture. It was one of only two civilizations in the world to develop and use the concept of zero.
Much attention has been given to, and many theories abound about, Maya prophecies surrounding the end of the world in 2012. In this talk, Alarcón will present some of the history, theory, and current understanding of the Maya Long Count Calendar, the Maya number system, and Maya Cosmo vision. The Long Count is set to complete 13 Bak’tuns in December 2012. Alarcón will also examine what the Maya may have really believed was to happen on this ominous date, as well as what all the hype about world destruction reveals about our own culture.
Sigma Xi is an honorary society founded in 1886 to honor excellence in scientific investigation and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among researchers in all fields of science and engineering.