The Johns Hopkins University physicist and astronomer has devised a better calendar, he believes, than the one that has sufficed for more than four centuries.

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If Richard Conn Henry has his way — and he concedes he almost certainly won’t — the coming year will be the last with 365 days.

The Johns Hopkins University physicist and astronomer has devised a better calendar, he believes, than the one that has sufficed for more than four centuries.

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The alternative might sound drastic, if not far-fetched: Some months would lose a day. Others would gain one. Leap years would be abolished in favor of a weeklong “mini-month” tucked between June and July every five or six years.

And most years would end after 364 days.

But the result, Henry says, would be a stable calendar — identical from year to year — that would make for much more convenient planning.

Under his scheme, if you were born on a Tuesday, your birthday always would fall on a Tuesday. Christmas always would be on a Sunday, the Fourth of July on a Wednesday. Election Day would be Nov. 8, not “the first Tuesday after the first Monday” in November. Proponents of a fixed calendar say it also would reduce costs to businesses, schools and other organizations; they wouldn’t need to buy new ones every year.

Henry, 64, who is director of the Maryland Space Grant Consortium, has joined a long line of would-be calendar reformers who date to Julius Caesar and beyond.

Among their efforts — the Thirteen Moon Calendar, the Ecliptic Calendar, the Long-Sabbath Perennial Calendar and the 60-Week Calendar.

Unlike many of his predecessors, however, Henry initially was motivated by his personal convenience a few years ago when he realized that season after season, he was teaching the same courses at Hopkins. He was using the same textbooks. He was assigning the same homework. Yet he always had to change his syllabus to reflect the new year’s dates.

“I made a dreadful mistake: I looked into it,” he said.

Under Henry’s proposal — developed using a complex computer program he devised — 30 days hath January, February, April, May, July, August, October and November. All the rest have 31.

“I am heartbroken over Halloween, because I love Halloween,” he says, referring to the fact that Oct. 31 no longer would exist. Still, he thinks the holiday could be switched, without much trouble, to another day.

The Gregorian calendar used in the United States and much of the Western world was instituted in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII. He modified a calendar Julius Caesar had adopted in 46 B.C. to bring it into sync with the seasons. Ten days were dropped that year — Oct. 15 directly followed Oct. 4 — and the rule for determining leap years was altered.

Leap years are necessary every four years for one maddening reason: An Earth year contains an uneven number of days.

“365.2422,” to be exact, Henry said.

His calendar would eliminate leap years and institute a seven-day period he has dubbed “Newton Week,” in honor of Sir Isaac Newton (Henry is open to other suggestions about what to call it). Newton Weeks would occur irregularly: in 2009, 2015, 2020, 2026, for starters.

“I would like everybody to have a paid vacation on Newton Week,” Henry said. “It comes so rarely — every five or six years — let everybody have a week and have a good time.”

He put Newton Week between June and July rather than at the end of December, he said, because he feared end-of-the-year partying might get out of hand.

Henry has embarked on an admittedly long-shot campaign to get his scheme — called the Calendar-and-Time plan because it also espouses a shift to “universal” time — adopted by Jan. 1, 2006. It would be a seamless transition, he said, because New Year’s Day would fall on a Sunday under both the current and proposed calendar.

The so-called International Association for 2006, for which Henry serves as president, has attracted vice presidents in five countries — including England, Pakistan and India — as well as four U.S. states.

Henry conceded that switching to a new calendar would be costly, probably on the order of making worldwide preparations for Y2K. But, he quickly noted, it would be a one-time expense.