Your University, One Photo at a Time

A Snake, a Pyramid, and a Star

A Snake, a Pyramid, and a Star

I have absolutely no idea what this is supposed to signify. Update below. The above relief is located right next to the main entrance of the newer wing of the Kelvin Building, which houses the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Maybe someone in that department could fill me in on the significance of this quite intriguing design? It’s not the only curiosity of the Kelvin Building, as hidden in plain sight within is something which just blew my mind. I’ll feature what I mean as soon as I manage to pull some strings.

Thanks to a friend of mine, I’ve been told the symbol is the logo of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Group. The logo probably dates all the way back to the first observatory back in 1757, although the oldest picture apparently dates back to the second observatory in Dowanhill in 1850.

The snake is probably Ouroboros, the pyramid might be the triangle of measurement with Freemason connections, and the star could be the star of the heavens, as the logo is attached to the Astronomy Department. This is not a absolutely definitive answer but unless someone contradicts the information I was given, I’m satisfied with this answer. (Thanks Edward!)

There are only 5 more days left to vote in this month’s poll (on the right hand side of the page there) on which is the nicest building at Glasgow University, so you have until Saturday night to cast your vote if you haven’t already!

[Poll #5: What is the Nicest Building at Glasgow University?]
Click on the photo above for a larger version. Please rate the photo below!
© 2009

5 responses

  1. J

    I have no idea – it looks masonic.

    October 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

  2. I’ve never been to the Kelvin building, perhaps I should investigate it sometime (though as I’m about to stop being at the uni during the week I’d better hurry up!). I hope you manage to pull the right strings, I’m intrigued now as to what else you’ve spotted!

    October 29, 2009 at 12:11 pm

  3. RebekARGH.

    It’s to do with Ancient Egypt isn’t it? The snake biting its tail and the dark star.

    October 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm

  4. I got some further information about the logo from a friend of mine in the department, and I’ve updated the post with the information given to me. Basically it’s the Astronomy & Astrophysics logo from way back and is still in use by the department. And yes, it appears to have masonic connections, at least the triangle seems to suggest that.

    October 29, 2009 at 7:08 pm

  5. Gerry Law

    There can’t be a link with astronomy because the astronomers have only been based there for – I think – about twenty years, since they amalgamated with Natural Philosophy to form the depressingly blandly-named Department of Physics and Astronomy.
    However, that brick-built part of the Nat Phil building originally housed a synchrotron – a circular particle accelerator. I don’t know how long it operated but its remains were still lying there in the 1970s. Could that be at least related to the shape of the snake? Also, I’m pretty sure the centre “star” is actually a variation on the classic nucleus/orbiting electrons symbol which was around to a certain extent in the 1960s.

    October 30, 2009 at 1:13 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s