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The future of breweries looked dim on January 16, 1919, when the Eighteenth Amendment and the accompanying Volstead Act banned the manufacture, sale, and transportation of intoxicating beverages. Unsurprisingly, the black market was more than happy to help people drink without getting caught.
Popular Science had some ideas too.
Despite the Progressives’ intention to improve society by banning liquor, Prohibition became an era characterized by seedy glamor and organized crime. Between 1920 and 1933, we filled our pages with panicked headlines: “Poisons….Lurk in Bootleg Booze,” so naturally, “Millions of Americans Are Committing Slow Suicide.”
We weren’t exaggerating — thanks to the carelessness of bootleggers, thousands of people died after drinking liquor that contained traces of wood alcohol. Still, while the moonshine market certainly enabled social corruption, we’d argue that it also contributed to science by producing an unlikely breed of chemists and inventors.
Contrary to its depiction in pop culture, smuggling wasn’t just about joining the Mafia or running down Prohibition agents. Over time, bootlegging groups mastered formulas for manufacturing large (toxin-free) quantities of raw alcohol, while people running booze between Canada and Detroit invented contraptions that let them transport cases of the stuff undetected. Even certified scientists had fun getting around the law: noting that the amendment banned alcoholic drinks, but not solids, Dr. John C. Olsen, a Brooklyn chemist, cooked up “jellied cocktails” in his lab.
On the less illicit side of things, home-brewing became a popular pastime after the government permitted people to brew beverages measuring 0.5 percent alcohol. After examining the era through the lens of our archives, we’re proud to report that Popular Science taught readers how to appease their vices without dying or getting arrested.
The Future of Breweries: February 1919
Do-It-Yourself Distilleries: February 1920
How to Get Buzzed Without Booze: June 1920
The Prohibition marked a heightened interest in novelty, non-alcoholic drinks: with the aid of refurbished breweries, manufacturers produced ginger ale and soft drinks en masse. Since carbonation couldn’t quite replicate the buzz of alcohol, one inventor went a step further and experimented with sending gentle electric currents through water. To feel the charge, people would drink from a metal cup connected to an electrical coil with a wire. Touching a kitchen stove with their feet would complete the circuit and unleash the “kick.” Curiously enough, this trendy Prohibition drink didn’t hold up over time. Read the full story in “A Glass of Water with a Kick”
PopSci’s Guide to Home-Brewing: January 1921
The Volstead Act defined “intoxicating liquors” as beverages containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol. While people were banned from manufacturing hard liquor, Section 29 of the Act permitted them to make wine and other fruit ciders at home. As you can imagine, brewing permissibly alcoholic drinks at home become one of the era’s most popular pastimes. We recommended a Balling saccharimeter, like the one pictured left, which read alcoholic content by measuring how much sugar was converted in the brewing process. Meanwhile, chemists devised new methods and developed more sophisticated instruments, like an easy-to-use ebulliometer, for testing “near-beers.” For people who weren’t so savvy with lab instruments, we suggested the following on-the-go method: Pour twenty-five drops of Tabasco sauce into a glass of near-beer, drink up, and send a thank-you note to our editor. Read the full story in “Measuring the Home-Brew Kick: Various methods of keeping within the Eighteenth Amendment”
The Secret Equipment of Rum Smugglers: November 1926
During the Prohibition, the once-innocuous areas between Cape May, N.J., Cape Cod, M.A., and the Gulf Ports became hot spots for smuggling. To evade the Coast Guard, bootleggers developed all kinds of gadgets for transporting their wares across “Rum Row.” Dummy smokestacks would hide liquor on otherwise legitimate vessels. Speedboats would tug strings of alcohol-filled tanks into secret coves, while fishing schooners used nets to lug around gallons of booze. Read the full story in “Amazing Tricks of Rum-Runners”
Menacing Moonshine: April 1927
Since prohibition laws were weakly enforced, people could easily acquire bootleg alcohol, which often contained hidden poisons. With the help of chemists and medical professionals, our investigation highlighted the careless process by which untrained chemists created drinkable gin. To curb the distribution of alcohol, the government would poison industrial alcohol with wood alcohol. Bootleggers would then re-distill and redistribute the substance as hooch, but more often than not, traces of poison would cause blindness, nausea, and muscular problems in unassuming customers. Once death by denatured alcohol became common knowledge, however, people accused the government of using illnesses to enforce abstinence. Faced with the increasing discontentment with Prohibition, Government chemists struggled to create a safer, yet equally effective formula for denaturing alcohol. Read the full story in “The Truth About Poison Liquor”
A New Use for X-Rays: August 1927
Bootleggers weren’t the only ones with tricks up their sleeves. George Contreras, Chief Prohibition Agent of LA County, used a portable X-ray machine to detect bottles of whiskey disguised as bales of hay. This photo depicts one man holding the the equipment, which was made specifically for Contreras by an X-ray specialist, while another agent inspects their discovery on a fluoroscope screen. Read the full story in “X-Rays Ferret Out Rum”
The Doctors Debate: August 1927
Where America Gets Its Booze: May 1930
After ten years of Prohibition, the bootlegging business entered a new stage of enterprise. Dr. James Doran, head of the Treasury Department Unit for enforcement of the Volstead law, insisted that bootleggers had transited from reconditioning denatured alcohol into fermenting sugar with yeast, and then distilling the substance, to create raw liquor. The previous method, while quick, was so expensive that bootleggers learned to ferment vast amounts of sugar, potatoes, fruits and grains by themselves. Flavoring the raw, diluted alcohol with chemicals and plant extracts made the final product taste like Scotch or absinthe. While the previous era of smuggling was dominated by “rum runners,” by 1930, bootlegging had become much more organized, and could thus hire the best specialists in chemistry, distillation, and machinery to keep business booming. Read the full story in “Where America Gets Its Booze”
Liquor Lurks Beneath the Detroit River: March 1932
Thanks to its shared border with Canada, the Detroit River was notoriously hard to control. Historians estimate that up to 75 percent of the alcohol consumed in the United States during the Prohibition was transported by ordinary people (not just gangsters!) between Windsor, Canada, and Detroit. One of the more elaborate bootlegging devices was an cable tunnel that ferried submarine “torpedoes” filled with alcohol across the river. While customs guards focused on people smuggling alcohol under their clothes, this ingenious contraption quietly reeled in forty cases of liquor an hour. Read the full story in “Underwater Cable Brings in Booze”
The Magic of Beer-Making: June 1933
After seeing how Prohibition contributed to the rise of organized crime and government spending, people were eager to see the amendment repealed. In 1933, the dream came true, breweries sprang back into business and American lager took over the beer market. After thirteen years of explaining how to brew or enhance near-beer, we were more than happy to show our readers how (now legitimate) manufacturers were able to concoct the beverage they loved, missed, and secretly squirreled away over the past decade. Read the full story in “Beer Making Is Marvel of Industrial Chemistry”
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Profs Probe the Science of Sleep Part two: What dreams are made of
Subimal Datta, a MED professor of psychiatry, is investigating REM sleep memory processing at the molecular level. Photo by Vernon Doucette
Part two of a four-part series.
We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and 20 percent of that time we’re dreaming. Subimal Datta, a professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine, wants to know why — and has spent his career as a sleep researcher finding out how it all works.
Our brain is almost as active during sleep as it is during wakefulness, Datta notes, and there’s at least one good reason: that’s when we’re consolidating memories. “Whatever we learned during the wake state, which is in the short-term memory, is being processed,” he says. It’s like a library card catalog system: your brain records what the memory is and where it’s shelved, so the next time it needs to retrieve a memory, it knows where to go — emotional memories in the amygdala, spatial memories in the hippocampus, for instance.
Some sleep basics: after we drift off, we enter what’s called non-REM sleep, which experts divide into four stages with different brain wave patterns. Then, a little less than 90 minutes later, we’re pushed by an internal mechanism into REM sleep, and the pattern cycles back and forth throughout the night, with REM sleep periods gradually lengthening as the night progresses.
REM sleep is clearly important, since that’s when memory is processed, despite the oddity of accompanying dreams. But, like all mammals, our bodies are paralyzed during REM sleep, and for most animals, which are usually some other animal’s prey, that’s dangerous. So much so that certain animals, like mice, have frequent and brief REM states; they may need to run on short notice. Still, at various points, their bodies are paralyzed. And like other mammals, we humans are not just paralyzed; our autonomic functions are out of our control. “The temperature outside could go up or down, yet nothing is controlling body temperature. Respiration can go up or way down,” Datta says. Blood pressure can spike up or down, and that’s one reason why, as morning comes around and we are in longer REM sleep states, more heart attacks occur then than at any other time of day.
So what could be worth putting ourselves at this risk? It’s the memory consolidation that occurs in REM sleep, Datta says. “Our survival depends on our learning. When we stop learning, we’re dead, if you think of it philosophically.” To process memories, the brain needs a lot of energy, so it shuts down most other systems. “It’s like us,” he says. “We can do multitasking, but when we have something very important, we need to focus, and this is what the brain does.”
Datta and his colleagues in the MED Sleep Research Laboratory, which he directs, have identified the cells that are critical for REM sleep memory processing, and they are now working at the molecular level to understand these mechanisms. This basic research, he notes, has potentially big payoffs for pharmacological interventions to treat some sleep disorders, like narcolepsy, which causes victims to suddenly fall asleep during the day. If he finds the exact receptors that turn on and off different sleep signals, drugs could be designed to target those receptors alone.
And the dreams themselves? From the ancients to Freud and on to this day, dreams have been seen as having meaning, either as omens or as signals of a hidden past. Datta will have none of that. Dreaming is simply a noisy by-product of the memory consolidation that’s happening during REM sleep, he says. While newer memories are being laid down in the long-term memory areas of the brain, they run up against random other memories lodged nearby, activating them. The brain just tries to make some sense of it all by creating a narrative, even if the narrative makes little or no logical sense. It’s random noise in the signal, he says, nothing more.
Datta’s conclusion, that REM sleep is essential because its memory consolidation facilitates learning, isn’t the only possible interpretation of the dream state or of sleep in general. Patrick McNamara, a MED assistant professor of neurology, who’s been looking at this question from the point of view of evolutionary biology, is developing several theories of his own.
One is that REM sleep “undoes something that occurs in non-REM sleep,” he says. “REM and non-REM are controlled by different sets of genes, which are in some ways in conflict with each other. In non-REM you might have rising levels of certain hormones that in REM get opposed by rising levels of another hormone. So you have a sort of arms race between these two sleep states.” For example, in developing organisms, non-REM’s slow-wave sleep is associated with very high productions of growth hormone. But REM sleep releases somatostatins, which inhibit the release of growth hormones. “So REM sleep modulates the rate of growth,” McNamara says.
Another theory suggests that morning moods, which have been shown to be a reflection of emotions produced during REM sleep, might be a signal used for evolutionary purposes.
Still, McNamara says, there’s no clear answer about the purpose of REM sleep, in part because historically it hasn’t been studied much. “I think REM sleep was just such a difficult problem — it’s not like other biologic functions, that you can say this chemical does that and you know why. With REM sleep, it’s got all these paradoxical properties, so it’s harder to figure out what it could possibly be doing.”
This article originally ran in the Winter 2006–2007 edition of Bostonia.
Taylor McNeil can be reached at [email protected].
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808 Gallery Showcases Work of 39 CFA Seniors BFA thesis show: painting, printmaking, design, sculpture
The Color Classroom by graphic designer Grace Galloway (CFA’14) reinvents traditional teaching tools, like the multiplication table, for the unique needs of visual learners. Photos by Jackie Ricciardi
Walking past the floor to ceiling windows at the 808 Gallery, a striking silhouette catches the eye. A female figure delicately clad in a mass of haunting white fabric is suspended upside down, seemingly entangled by her own hair.
“Some people think it’s violent or suicidal,” says sculptor Mia Cross (CFA’14) of Susanna Never Could Decide. “But it reflects a girl who is stuck by her own doing. She’s holding herself back. She’s unable to make a decision. She could cut her hair to get away.” Next to the piece is Brimfield Bride, another sculpture by Cross. The figure is dressed in an antique wedding dress the sculptor bought at the Brimfield Fair for $20. The figure is framed by wire, her face coquettishly obscured by a veil. “I’m a hopeless romantic,” says Cross.
Her sculptures offer just a glimpse of the diversity to be seen in this year’s College of Fine Arts School of Visual Arts Senior Thesis Show, now on view at the 808 Gallery. Aptly dubbed Thirty-Nine, the 39 emerging artists graduating with a BFA this spring are all represented here. The show is an arresting display of technical virtuosity in sculpture, painting, graphic design, and printmaking—a culmination of all the artists have mastered during their undergraduate careers.
With so much work on display, the exhibition is an amalgam of techniques, mediums, and motivations—there are pieces here that will engage, confound, and challenge the viewer.
The Color Classroom by graphic designer Grace Galloway (CFA’14) is an example. By assigning different colors to each digit, zero through nine, Galloway attempts to teach math to visual learners in an innovative way, by reimagining classic teaching tools such as the multiplication table. By translating the table from a grid of digits into one of pixel-like color combinations, her work shows the relationship between numbers in a unique and inventive way.
In the work of the 22 students in the graphic design category (the largest visual arts group) can be seen a range of mediums—from animation and installation to more traditional ones like books and posters. The video project Again by Adriana Ateyana Chuta (CFA’14) explores via a dizzying array of typefaces how certain key words are used by people in nations struggling socially and politically. Ateyana Chuta became interested in sociopolitical events in places like Syria and North Korea and in the role of repetition in helping “us synthesize our ideas into key words and make it easier for listeners to capture the message being transmitted.” In three different monitors, words like “crime,” “passion,” “regime,” “kill,” and “arrest” flash across the screen, bleed together, and disappear.
Also featured in the exhibition are the works of the school’s first graduating class of printmaking majors. Inspired by Venetian and Florentine tile work, Leslie Ochoa (CFA’14), one of the two inaugural printmaking majors, based her thesis work on the intricate mosaic work she saw in basilicas and cathedrals while studying abroad in Italy.
“It was my first time abroad and America is so young compared to Europe. The tile and mosaic works were much more interesting to me,” Ochoa says. “There’s so much more history in these floors alone than we have in this country.”
Among her pieces are several smaller acrylic prints, like Basilica di San Marco #2, in which an overlayed geometric pattern comes together to create a tessellation-like poster. The largest and most striking piece, however, is Translation, a grand, silkscreened floor installation. She notes in her accompanying artist statement that she experimented with mixing floor designs from different basilicas, but the main design for this piece was from a 100-foot octagonal floor pattern in Florence’s famous Duomo. Ochoa used large sheets of fabric to print a 15-foot version of the geometric design, deliberately leaving one side of the octagon open so viewers could step inside and experience the design the way it was originally created—at a horizontal level. The experience is akin to what a tourist standing on the Duomo’s floor would see.
A time-lapse video of the project’s genesis runs nearby, but because it’s only a few minutes long, its depiction of the work involved is skewed. “It took the whole semester to plan,” Ochoa says. “To actually print it took a month and a half.”
“Each piece reflects what the students value in the culture of design,” says Coogan. “It’s a striking example of their tremendous efforts and labors.”
The BFA Thesis Show is on display at the 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave., through Friday, May 9. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.; it is free and open to the public
Paula Sokolska can be reached at [email protected].
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Most people probably haven’t visited an auction house, but they are, perhaps surprisingly, rather accommodating of the masses. Last fall, I visited Sotheby’s New York offices, a gray and glass building near the East River. In the foyer, between a high-security prison for collectible wines and the concierge’s desk, someone had parked Richard Feynman’s Dodge Tradesman Maxivan.
At the time, the internationally-renowned art dealership was preparing for its second annual science and technology auction, which would include a significant number of pieces from the late physicist’s personal collection. Brown like day-old guacamole, the van was a promotional poster for quantum mechanics. He’d had the central panel on the left, right, and back of the vehicle covered in supersized “Feynman diagrams”—rune-like squiggles that revolutionized our conception of the behavior of subatomic particles. It was not for sale, but Feynman’s private papers, artistic sketches, and 1965 Nobel Prize for his work in quantum electrodynamics, or Q.E.D, certainly were. Sotheby’s staff estimated the golden Nobel would go for more than $800,000.
On the exhibition floors above, I found a few people—potential buyers or, just as likely, the representatives they selected to preserve their anonymity—milling about the spacious, stark white rooms. Apollo 11 flight plans, an X-ray of Neil Armstrong’s reinforced marshmallow boots, and “flown” dehydrated pot roast sat on little podiums, awaiting new homes. As I descended an escalator, a trio of moon suits greeted me, suspended from the ceiling like million-dollar sacks of flour. Two were from the Soviet Union. The one from NASA’s Project Gemini had a giant zip-down crotch; presumably, in 1961, the physics of low-gravity urination were a puzzle yet to be solved.
In still other galleries, models of rovers and landers hung from the ceiling or sat on shelves illuminated with purplish strips of LED lights. The displays were reminiscent of a museum gift shop, which, in a way, this was. At Sotheby’s, almost everything can be touched, provided you ask for assistance and, if necessary, don the appropriate gloves. More importantly, everything is for sale.
Richard Feynman’s Nobel for physics. Courtesy Sotheby’s
Auctioneers have commanded crowds for thousands of years. But it wasn’t until the Georgian era that auctions became sophisticated affairs; Sotheby’s opened in 1744 and Christie’s, its close competitor, followed in 1766. While the Greeks and Romans sold wives, slaves, and the spoils of war, modern buyers gobbled up goods endowed with historic significance—and emotional consequence. In the 1800s, buyers were battling over dead queen’s dresses; today, Zsa Zsa Gabor’s pill bottles are just as likely to start a bidding war.
Celebrity science auctions sit at the center of this lucrative Venn diagram, between erudite acquisition and outright glamour. Unlike most physicists who toil in obscurity, Feynman carefully crafted a public image for himself, primarily through two rather depraved bestselling memoirs, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! and What Do You Care What Other People Think? Like Stephen Hawking, whose wheelchair, Simpsons script, and graduate thesis were auctioned off by Christie’s in 2023, Feynman’s interlocking legacies created a wide range of potential buyers. Some people want the technical material, such as the handwritten computations from his time in the Manhattan Project. Others want a piece of their hero’s personality: a scalloped placemat from a defunct Pasadena, California strip club Feynman once did some math on sold for $162,000.
“At auction, we sell the story of the object,” says Cassandra Hatton, Sotheby’s vice president for books and manuscripts and the organizer of the science and technology auction. “Most of what we sell has no inherent value, when you really think about it.” A fully-operational Enigma machine, which the Germans used to decipher codes, is worth $200,000 to a collector, but aren’t the incredible cryptography tools they were in pre-computer days. Nobels minted before 1980 are 175 grams of solid 23 karat gold, or about $7,500 worth of precious metals. But the prizes—even the more recent 18 karat recycled gold medals—end up selling for much more.
Moon rocks for sale. Courtesy Sotheby’s
Sotheby’s specialists go to great pains to verify the authenticity of its wares. Hatton began her career in a rare books dealer’s shop in Los Angeles. “My boss just told me, ‘Just organize these papers,’” she says. “They were all in German and mathematical and I didn’t really know what they were.” Later, she learned they were Einstein’s notes on unified field theory. “I thought, ‘Oh my god! Why didn’t you tell me beforehand?’” Hatton went on to attend rare book seminars and even earned her Master’s in the history of science, but she still maintains the best learning is on the job. “You just have to handle a lot of material,” she says.
Though the hunt often begins with a promising picture, sent in by a prospective seller, specialists must make the judgment call in person. “There are certain tells that the object will have,” she says. With books, the wrong swirl in a signature or a warped watermark under the light are common clues. “I know it sounds funny, but you can smell if a book is wrong,” she says. “You can smell if there’s been some kind of repair or restoration… because of the different types of chemicals or glues.” For space suits, authentic Apollo gear was made of beta cloth—a fireproof silica fiber—while movie props are nylon. Hatton can tell the difference by touch alone.
Sotheby’s is also responsible for clearing the legal rights of sale for every object that passes under the auctioneer’s hammer. That presents a number of challenges, especially for relics of space exploration. Before 2012, there were no laws clarifying the ownership of objects that the United States flew in space. “Astronauts had these things called a personal preference kit—PPK,” Hatton says, typically rings, flags, and medallions. “Those were clearly theirs.” But everything else was a big question mark caked in moon dust. When Ed Mitchell, the sixth man on the moon, tried to auction off a camera he’d saved from the wreckage of the lunar lander, NASA sued him. This eventually prompted an act of Congress clarifying what belonged to astronauts—and what didn’t. Small and expendable objects like flight plans were cleared; moon rocks or landers, not so much.
Of course, those rules don’t apply everywhere. Before they even made it to the auction block, someone purchased three moon rocks, the only privately-owned sample on Earth, for $855,000. The minuscule shards, preserved in a rectangular metal case with a magnifying lens attached, had been gifted by the USSR to Nina Ivanovna Koroleva, the widow of the nation’s space program director. This was, Sotheby’s wrote at the time, a rare case of “an actual piece of another world [being] offered for public sale.”
There are myriad reasons for buying—and selling—such artifacts. It can be cathartic: In 2023, Australian actor Russell Crowe held a “divorce auction.” (Comedian John Oliver reportedly purchased Crowe’s jockstrap from the movie Cinderella Man.) It can be cruel, as many claimed when the children of the late Princess Margaret auctioned off, among other things, the tiara their mother wore to her wedding. It can also be painfully pragmatic: In 2023, Leon Lederman sold his 1988 Nobel Prize in physics to pay for his mounting medical bills. But whatever the motivation, it’s often a missed opportunity for museums and archives, many of which survive on donations alone.
“As a museum curator, ideally, you’d like to see things that are of great significance in public collections where the great majority of people can see them,” says Peter Jakab, chief curator of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “In our modern world of online auctions that are readily accessible to people, people do like to sell their artifacts rather than donate them,” he adds, saying in his 35 years at the Smithsonian “there’s definitely been a culture shift.”
Here, the fate of Einstein’s so-called “God Letter” is particularly illustrative. In 1954, the physicist wrote to Eric Gutkind, a German philosopher who’d recently published the book Choose Life. The resulting missive is a testament to Einstein’s struggle with religious belief: “For me the unadulterated Jewish religion is, like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition,” he wrote. “And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and in whose mentality I feel profoundly anchored, still for me does not have any different kind of dignity from all other peoples.”
For decades, the letter appears to have been in the possession of Gutkind’s close friend Henry Leroy Finch, says Christie’s specialist Peter Klarnet. In 2008, the letter resurfaced at Bloomsbury Auctions, which subsequently sold it for $404,000 to an anonymous buyer who reportedly outbid Richard Dawkins. In 2012, it was listed on eBay, but didn’t sell. Finally, in 2023, Christie’s announced it would again bring the letter to auction—with a twist.
Christie’s subsequently sold the God Letter for $2,892,500.
NASA carefully regulates its materials. Courtesy Sotheby’s
That’s not to say collecting is unethical. It’s just tricky. For one, “not everything is the Mona Lisa,” Jakab says. So long as they’re properly preserved—kept in a humidity-controlled environment, say, or handled with gloves—”mundane” or “garden variety” historical objects should be fair game. In some cases, collectors become experts in their area of interest, and collaborate with curators in the same field. “I can assure you, people with private collections love to talk about them,” Jakab jokes. Most importantly, private owners can share their objects with the public in different ways. “When you, say, put an airplane in a museum, it’s not going to fly again,” Jakab says. “But if you had a historical example that’s in private collection… you could hear the motor, see how it flies, and there’s great value in that as well.” Jakab himself is a collector of antique cars. “As we say, you don’t own the car, you just maintain it until the next person has it after you.”
Still, museums, archives, and rare books libraries do their best to grab the things that matter, whether it’s through acquisition, soliciting donations, or orchestrating loans. Peter Collopy is an archivist at the California Institute of Technology, where Feynman spent almost 40 years teaching, doodling, researching, and driving around in his custom-painted van. Over the years, the physicist, and later his widow, gave countless pieces of fan mail, academic notes, and videotapes to the university. Today, Caltech’s Feynman archive totals 92 boxes of material. Removed from their cardboard enclosures and stacked one on top of the other, the combined papers and videotapes would stretch 38 feet high.
Even so, Collopy wants more. Feynman’s lecture notes, reams of calculus, and correspondence with other prominent scientists are useful “for a historian or physicist who wants to understand Feynman beyond the published record,” Collopy says. That means the archive must be stocked with relevant materials—with mysterious materials. An archivist’s central duty is to preserve, but they’re also stewards of the electric idea that there’s always more to discover.
It’s not all enchanting. “There are some documents, like receipts from someone’s lunch, that might not be of interest,” Collopy says. “You can never say they won’t be, but you can make an educated guess.” Other objects, like Caltech’s existing collection of Nobels, may seem glamorous, but in reality, don’t yield new scholarly insights and ultimately pose a security risk. Some museums, like the Smithsonian, have a process for “deaccessioning” objects—clearing out objects that no longer meet its “collections rationale” and placing them with other institutions. It may sound like the Island of Misfit Museum Objects, but it helps curators around the world clear space, and acquire new artifacts.
At the Caltech archive, “virtually everything” comes through donation, Collopy says. Feynman donated the first of the boxes himself in 1968, and the gifting continued after his death in 1988. His widow, Gweneth, and others close to him brought their own carton stuffers. But relying on the goodwill of others is limiting. “We don’t have a budget for acquisitions,” Collopy says. Or at least, not usually.
When Sotheby’s announced its Feynman sale, Collopy meticulously combed the listing and found that a copy of nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer’s 1954 security hearing for alleged ties to communist organizations would be up for sale. In the margins, Feynman, a wartime protégé of Oppenheimer’s, had scribbled dozens of notes. This marginalia, Collopy believed, could offer new insights into Feynman’s politics. So he secured a $4,000 budget from the Caltech and waited for the fate of Lot 105 to unfold.
A few of Feynman’s papers. Courtesy Sotheby’s
The auction began early on the morning of Friday, Nov. 30. There were several ways to participate. You could bid the old fashioned way, in person with a paddle. You could bid live online, or call in. Or like Collopy, you could set a maximum bid for the item of your choice. Either way, the feeling was one of bristling tension—money and history were on the line.
Instead of trekking uptown, I watched the grainy livestream from my office. A young and energetic auctioneer shared the starting price of each object, which he rapidly escalated in response to the floor bids in front of him and the online bids communicated by an attendant. Feynman’s notes for a 1985 talk on “computing machines of the future” went for $125,000. His tambourine pulled in $60,000. That strip club placemat sold for about the median value of an American home.
This was win after win for Sotheby’s, which takes a cut of every sale it brokers. But it didn’t bode well for Collopy, who was also watching the livestream in California. When I stepped out for lunch, Lot 105, with the annotated Oppenheimer papers, sold for $32,500. That was more than 10 times the predicted price, and eight times Collopy’s preset bid. “So it goes; most of these lots sold for more than I was expecting,” he wrote via email. The day before, he’d said he was optimistic that whoever bought the papers would be open to a loan with the archive.
One of the few things that didn’t dramatically exceed expectations was that golden Nobel. At 11:18 a.m., it went up to the block under the alias Lot 67. “An important one,” the auctioneer said. “The 1965 Nobel Prize in physics awarded to Richard Phillips Feynman.” Roughly 90 seconds later, it sold—for $975,000.
Perhaps quantum electrodynamics is simply too complex to brag about.
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It now includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as an e-mail client (Outlook), a database management system (Access), and a desktop publishing application (Publisher).
There is also a web version of Microsoft Office, which consist mainly of three web applications: Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
This special and lightweight edition of Microsoft Office also comes with chúng tôi OneNote, and OneDrive, all of which can be accessed via a unified app switcher.What can I do if Microsoft Office cannot open this file because of the .zip archive error? 1. Open with File Explorer
Be sure to change the location where it will be saved from the temporary directory that will be the default to somewhere more convenient, like your Desktop2. Extract with WinRAR
After the steps, head into the destination file that you chose to extract the files in and try opening the extracted files using Microsoft office.3. Install the appropriate Office application
If you can’t open the file, it’s possible that you don’t have the required app installed on your computer; check the file extension and then install the necessary app.
Now, check to see if Microsoft office cannot open this file because the .zip archive issue has been resolved if not proceed to the next solution.4. Repair the file using WinRAR
This method usually works with downloaded files rather than zip files that have been compressed by the user.
This article may be useful for those having problems opening Microsoft Office documents such as Word and Excel.
Because Microsoft Office lacks any programs designed to open zip files, it’s understandable that it has trouble handling archives.
Windows itself has extraction tools but like many other official applications, it can be a headache to work with and is slower than any other third-party app.
While using Microsoft Office, a set of supplementary tools might be recommended based on the user’s experience and workload to make the job easier.
That is why having a separate application for handling zip files is a recommendation while working with such files.
If you encounter issues when trying to extract a zip file, do not hesitate to take a look at this article.
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In this technological and digital age, we’ve seen a rise in the importance of expanding the computer science workforce.
With the demand for skill sets, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as software developers, web developers, and video game development, a computer science degree provides a basis for many opportunities.
Securing a place at one of the best computer science schools or universities will ensure you get access to the best jobs to start your career.
Keep reading to learn which computer science schools are best worldwide and what route to take to your future.Computer Science Grad Opportunities
As online threats increase from the military to business sectors, there will be a continuous need for people with cybersecurity backgrounds.
Whether focusing on penetration testing or cybersecurity in general, small and large businesses must protect their data, especially as they move to the cloud.
There are also roles forming with the continuous development of search engines and platforms such as Facebook and Google. And there are numerous opportunities in technical SEO.
The possibilities to enter different career fields are constantly evolving. So, if you want to work for a large company or create your own, there are opportunities.
I’ve compiled a list of the best computer science schools for different budget levels and available time, so you can consider what would be the right fit for you.Top Universities For Computer Science National Universities
Here are some of the best computer science schools across the U.S.:
1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts (in-person)
Listed as a top school across numerous sites, MIT is a renowned school where you can complete your computer science degree. While MIT only offers in-person degrees, there is online educational content through MIT OpenCourseWare and MITx Courses.
In addition, if you would like a certificate to show that you completed the course, you can get one for a small fee.
2. Stanford University
San Jose, California (BCS in-person and online masters)
Another world-renowned school, Stanford ranks high among the list of top computer science universities. They have an exceptional computer science program and incorporate a sense of community and history on their campus.
You will have a well-rounded undergrad experience between fountain hopping, their unique mascot, and the historical Hoover Tower.
Stanford also offers free classes and an entirely online graduate degree in Computer Science. Taking these free classes or earning your master’s online through Stanford provides the experience of learning from experts in the field.
3. Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (in-person)
At Carnegie Mellon University, you can go from a bachelor’s to a doctorate program in Computer Science. Not only can you take a track at the same university through degree levels, but you would be accomplishing this at one of the top schools known for science and engineering programs.
Pittsburgh is a hot spot of entrepreneurship, with a great deal of investment in a growing autonomous vehicle sector in the area. Over the last decade, 400 startups with links to Carnegie have raised more than $7 billion in funding.
4. University of California Berkeley
Berkley, California (in-person)
Known as one of the most intense programs in the country, the Computer Science program at the University of California Berkeley is a thorough route that will offer you many research and learning opportunities.
They offer two routes of study at UC Berkley, the Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences route, which lead to a Bachelor of Science and is gauged for those who want to enter engineering-based jobs.
And the College of Letters and Science route is for people who want a more diverse course base and can move to the L&S Computer Science route after completing the core classes.
5. Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, Georgia (in-person)
At Georgia Institute of Technology, they aim to offer classes with professors from diverse backgrounds in computer science. As we discussed earlier, there are many routes after earning a degree in computer science.
Their vision states, “The School of Computer Science (SCS) will become the thought leader in all aspects of the computing environment.”
If you’re unsure what aspect of computer science interests you, this school would be an excellent place to explore the subject.
6. University of Washington
Seattle, Washington (in-person)
Under the College of Arts and Sciences, students can earn their way to a Bachelor in Computer Science at the University of Washington. In this program, you will get a mix of hands-on learning and foundation aspects.
Some interesting facts about the University of Washington are that vinyl, synthetic rubber, and bubble gum were invented at the school and the approach that created color television.
7. Southern New Hampshire University
Students can earn an online bachelor’s degree in computer science at Southern New Hampshire University.
Attending school fully online offers you the flexibility to fit it into your schedule at a more affordable rate per course.
This program will teach you all the basics and programs such as Python, Java, and C++. If you already have credits from another school, you can transfer up to 90 credits.
This can be helpful if you want to cover some of your core classes at a community college and then switch to this online program.
8. Rasmussen College
Several locations (in-person and online)
Noted as one of the best online programs to obtain a bachelor’s in computer science, Rasmussen College offers an affordable way to obtain your degree. This fast-paced program allows you to get your degree in 18 months.
They also have in-person classes in Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. So, if online courses aren’t for you, have another option without transferring schools.
9. University of Texas at Austin
Austin, Texas (in-person)
The University of Texas at Austin offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in computer science. If you’re going for your undergrad, they offer three paths to find the one that best fits your needs.
If you already have a bachelor’s in computer science and want to complete your master’s online, they offer a program for that route.
The University Library is the seventh largest college library in the U.S. and offers close to 10 million volumes for significant book lovers.
10. University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida (in-person and online)
The University of Florida offers in-person and online options to get a bachelor’s in computer science. Both routes provide a competitive path into the computer science career field.
If you plan to attend in person and are interested in writing and computer science, you can try out for The Independent Florida Alligator. It’s the largest student-run newspaper in the U.S.
Another interesting fact is that a team of scientists created the formula for Gatorade at the University of Florida.International Schools
Whether you’re looking to study abroad or find the best computer science school near you, here are ten international schools to check out:
1. National University of Singapore
Singapore, Singapore (in-person)
The National University of Singapore (NUS) is ranked as one of the top five schools for computer science schools and is noted as one of the best institutions in the world.
This school has a long foundation in Singapore (established in 1905) and can offer anyone a robust curriculum.
The curriculum focuses on technological developments, including machine learning and AI technology. They also offer multiple paths within computer science to learn about, such as social media, gaming, and software development.
2. University of Cambridge
Cambridge, United Kingdom (in-person)
The University of Cambridge acknowledges itself as “a pioneer of computer science and continues to lead its development.” They offer a comprehensive program for students seeking a bachelor’s in computer science.
Students will walk away knowing foundational theories across multiple disciplines. Students will also learn to program various languages and understand hardware systems using Verilog, such as chip design.
This four-year track will give you the skills you need to enter the workforce.
3. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich
Zürich, Switzerland (in-person)
At the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich, students will get a mix of engineering and science for their Bachelor of Computer Science. This track takes three years to complete and offers both undergrad and grad programs.
This school was established in 1855 and is one of the world’s leading schools in technology and science. Compared to U.S. institutions, the yearly cost for a bachelor’s degree is much less expensive, around $1,500.
4. Nanyang Technological University
Singapore, Singapore (in-person)
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) focuses on the technical application of computer science. They accomplish this by focusing on design methodologies, data structures, and software algorithms. You can attend part-time or full-time for their Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science.
For full-time, this is a four-year program.
NTU states that since 2010, its graduates have become high-earning professionals. From the beginning of the curriculum, you dive into foundational courses such as Physics of Computing and Digital Logic.
5. University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada (in-person)
The University of Toronto has three campuses that offer a Bachelor of Science with a major in Computer Science: St. George, Mississauga, and Scarborough.
In their computer science path, they aim to help students learn how to design software and explore mathematical problems. They focus on hands-on learning so students will have the skills they need to apply them to real-world situations.
While their degree is generally earned in person, they offer online courses.
6. Tsinghua University
Beijing, China (in-person)
Ranked as one of the best schools for engineering and computer science, Tsinghua University is an excellent option for students looking to explore these curriculum paths. They also encourage potential students from overseas to apply.
This long-standing university, established in 1911, has a rigorous course schedule. Their motto is “self-discipline and excellence,” and they keep to that standard in the courses they teach.
7. Technical University of Munich
Munich, Germany (in-person)
The Technical University of Munich considers the complexity of learning a problematic degree such as computer science. They focus on applied mathematics, engineering applications, and computer science to create a thorough degree program. An important thing for international students is that they teach their program in English.
8. Peking University
Beijing, China (in-person)
A bachelor’s in computer science and technology is a four-year program at Peking University.
It is one of the best schools in China and is ranked highly internationally. Besides its vigorous curriculum, it is known for its beautiful campus with traditional Chinese architecture.
9. University of Technology Sydney
Sydney, Australia (in-person)
The University of Technology Sydney is “one of Australia’s most industry-focused leaders in research, teaching and learning in computer science, information technology, and information systems.”
The department has numerous academic staff members who are engaged in teaching and research across all areas of computing, including artificial intelligence, computational linguistics, programming languages, software engineering, databases, web services, distributed systems, security, and networking.
10. Imperial College London
London, United Kingdom (in-person)
The Imperial College London has Computer Science and Mathematics degree programs that prepare students for jobs across multiple industries.
The Department of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences combine to teach courses that equip students. The classes expand across multiple disciplines, including engineering, business, law, and medicine.
In addition, they offer a three-year program where students will have a combination of laboratory-based teaching and lectures.What To Expect In Computer Science
Is computer science the right degree for you?
If you love science and math, this might be the right path. As you can see from the schools listed above, you’ll go through some exciting courses.
In addition, as I discussed, you can go into many routes, such as becoming a data scientist, programmer, game developer, and more. Not only will you learn how to study and discover information about all these subjects, but you’ll also learn some valuable skills you can take into your career.
These can include:Final Takeaways
Computer science is an interesting program and can open up many opportunities.
If you think it’s the right path, consider applying or talking with a career counselor to learn more about the course load and how that would fit into your schedule.
You can also seek out someone in the field you’re interested in to see what daily life looks like so you’ll know if it’s the right path for you.
Featured Image: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock
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