This project is proudly brought to you by us, 1st year students in the National University of Singapore (NUS), for our general elective module GEM1506 - Heavenly Mathematics: Highlights of Cultural Astronomy. GEM1506 is an interesting module where we get to learn basic stuff about the movements of the Sun, Earth and our Moon relative to each other, and how to roughly predict their positions in the sky for different parts of the year. We also get to learn about Calendars and how they are computed and related to each other.

Our team of 4 (Project Group 20) comprises of:
  • Lee Shugang - School of Computing
  • Navin Ishwar Dadlani - Faculty of Science
  • Victor Tham Changrui - School of Computing
  • Ng Chongming - School of Computing

Our project explores the facts and truths of the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd" to find out how a mere song could lead hundreds, maybe thousands of slaves to their freedom. You'll soon realise that it had something to do with the signs in the heavens, and that leads us to the topic of Celestial Navigation. We'll then look at how people in the past and in the present look to the skies to tell direction and position. We'll also discuss in detail the Star Compass, the Cross Staff and the Latitude Hook, instruments that make use of celestial objects to gauge position on Earth. We'd like to tell you everything now right here, but then it'd have been pointless in making the rest of this website. So, for a start, you may want to click on the links in the Navigation Bar below to learn more about what we have learnt ourselves during the course of making the project a reality.

Right here we'd like to do the usual stuff of thanking everyone in the Universe, especially those who prepared our sources for our enlightenment as we were doing our project:

1. Celestial Navigation Net
2. Paths to Freedom: Maryland and the Underground Railroad
3. Educator's Guide to "Follow the Drinking Gourd"
4. Wayfinders: A Pacific Odyssey
5. Polynesian Voyaging Society
6. Micronesian and Polynesian Wayfinding
7. Night Sky: Measuring Angles
8. The Event Inventor Cross Staff Projects
9. New Advent: Martin Behaim
10. Dennis Fisher Latitude Hooks and Azimuth Rings 1995, International Marine
11. Thomas, Stephen D. (1987). The Last Navigator.
12. Camden, Maine: International Marine, c1997

We'd also like to express our thanks to all who have taken their time to read what we've type-written, and also Dr. Helmer Aslaksen, for giving us insights and guidelines to this project.


GEM1506 Project Group 20 2002
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