Presentations

Starstruck! Astronomers and Popular Culture (2017-2018), at Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, Thursday, December 6, 2018

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Telescopes and a last will and testament. Clocks, a sketch of a comet, and a life mask. Astronomical photographs, a fly spanker, log books of data, and a tea set.  Observers of Sputnik. Sheet music, trade cards, and a Wonder Woman comic strip.  As disparate as they may seem, these...

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Scale: A Matter of Perspective (2017), at Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, Thursday, March 9, 2017

Alice motif with mushrooms

We see scale throughout our daily lives and navigate through it without thinking too much about our changing rank.  The world is teeming with things larger and smaller in scale than us in size or social hierarchy.  We have instruments to explore and analyze these things.  We also display or signal our...

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Radio Contact: Tuning In to Politics, Technology, & Culture (2016), at Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Thursday, March 10, 2016

Radio Contact banner

Remember the times when the whole family gathered round the living room radio to listen to Roosevelt's fireside chats or detective dramas like The Shadow? When boys and sometimes girls tinkered with ham radio in garages in order to talk to people across the country?  When...

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A Case for Curiosity: Old Objects, New Contexts, Unexpected Stories (2015-2016), at Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, gallery in the History of Science Department, Harvard University, Wednesday, May 6, 2015
  • The microscope of a literary legend.
  • An illustration of a cannibalistic fish in the middle of his supper.
  • And the nose cone of a missile given as a Valentine's Day gift. 

On display, these objects and many more curiosities seem completely disparate, but their stories come together to illustrate the interwoven and multidimensional nature of history.  Although they are part of Harvard's Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, their foremost scientific functions only begin to define the narratives brought to the foreground in this...

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The Mark I Computer at Harvard (2014), at Science Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Originally called the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, Mark I was designed in 1937 by a Harvard graduate student, Howard H. Aiken to solve advanced mathematical physics problems encountered in his research. Aiken’s ambitious proposal envisioned the use of modified, commercially-available technologies coordinated by a central control system. Supported by Harvard faculty in the division that is today the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Aiken discussed his idea...

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Go Ask A.L.I.C.E.: Turing Tests, Parlor Games, & Chatterbots (2012), at Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Can machines think?  This exhibit explored the strange afterlife of the Turing Test as it has circulated in popular, scientific, and commercial cultures. It reexamined Turing’s own interactions with humans and machines, later dreams of thinking machines, as well as an effort to translate Turing’s parlor game into a real test of artificial intelligence.

Staff curator assisting faculty guest curator Sophia Roosth and two grad students.

    ...

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X-Rays of the Soul: Rorschach and the Projective Test (2012), at Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Wednesday, March 14, 2012

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In 1911, Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach began experimenting with inkblots to probe previously inaccessible layers of the unconscious self. Rorschach’s success led to the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), created at Harvard in 1935 by lay psychoanalyst and artist Christiana Morgan along with psychologist Henry...

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