Sunday, October 7, 2012

Invention Case: Hot Spot of Invention

Where: American History Museum

When: through October 21, 2012

This is another exhibit in the West Wing of the museum that's about to go off display, as the museum completely renovates that side of the building.  This is a small display - similar in size to the Archives Center's offerings.  It tells the story of MIT and how it became a "hot spot" of invention in the 1930s.  A hot spot is: "a place that sparks and supports innovation by networks of creative people."  In 1930, Karl Taylor Compton became President of MIT, which started a scientific boom there.  The university developed strong ties to government and contributed directly to the WWII war effort.  Charles Stark Draper designed the gyroscope; Vannevar Bush improved radar and Harold Edgerton invented a strobe for night aerial reconnaissance photography.  The Radiation Law and Edgerton's lab are both still part of MIT, but the Draper Lab was spun off and is now an independent entity, due to anti-war protests in the 1960s.

Verdict: If you have an interest in scientific history, or are just wandering around the museum with a few minutes to spare, check this out.  Otherwise, you're not missing a blockbuster show if you don't see this.

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