of the week
04:06:13 - 04:27:13
04:06:13 -- PICTURES OF THE WEEK: From 1952, finalists of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search gather in Washington, D.C. Considered the nation's most prestigious science research competition for high school seniors, it was established in 1942 and continues to this day. Activities in 1952 included demonstrations of projects by the finalists, tours of prestigious scientific facilities and meetings with top scientists, a meeting with President Truman, and a gala evening celebrating the finalists as well as honoring the first, second and third place winners. In 1998, Intel took over corporate sponsorship of the competition, currently awarding a top "prize" of $100,000. Now entering its seventh decade, finalists have gone on to receive seven Nobel Prizes, two have earned the Fields Medal, three have been awarded the National Medal of Science, eleven received MacArthur Fellowships, 56 have been named Sloan Research Fellows, 30 have been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, and five have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
04:13:13 -- PICTURE OF THE WEEK: From 1952, an International Business Machines (IBM) full-page advertisement in Popular Science magazine. Originally incorporated in 1911 as the Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR), the name was the result of a merger amongst three existing concerns: the International Time Recording Company, the Computing Scale Company, and the Tabulating Machine Company (which in 1890 had introduced its innovative punched cards for tallying the U.S. census). By 1925 the name had changed to International Business Machines, employing 3,698 people worldwide and earning four-million dollars in annual revenue. Three years later IBM introduced the 80-column punched card which doubled its information capacity, the "IBM card" remaining a data processing standard into the 1970s. While the "Great Depression" of the 1930s swamped many larger businesses, IBM not only continued manufacturing but increased hiring in support of President Roosevelt's National Recovery Administration plan. The result was several years' worth of accumulated unsold inventory which serendipitously enabled IBM to become the only viable bidder for maintaining the employment records of 26 million Americans following the passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. Other government contracts soon followed, and IBM became the worldwide leader in machine tabulation. IBM's involvement with the Nazi government before and during World War II is hotly debated, and produced the following statement from the company:
"It has been known for decades that the Nazis used Hollerith equipment and that IBM's German subsidiary during the 1930s -- Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen GmbH (Dehomag) -- supplied Hollerith equipment. As with hundreds of foreign-owned companies that did business in Germany at that time, Dehomag came under the control of Nazi authorities prior to and during World War II..."
But whatever the degree of willing or unwilling involvement with Germany of IBM's European subsidiaries, the company's major effort was in aiding the Allies during the war, enabling not only unprecedented administration of the war effort, but the mass production of armaments such as the Norden bombsight using IBM production facilities. And it was the extensive use of IBM punched card machines which allowed for the complex calculations involved in the development of the first atomic bombs under the super-secret Manhattan Project. In 1952 -- the year of the above advertisement -- the company introduced its first large computer based on the vacuum tube -- the IBM 701. The 701's vacuum tubes were quicker, smaller and more easily replaced than the electromechanical switches employed previously, but most astounding of all the IBM 701 was capable of executing 17,000 instructions per second. That same year, IBM began working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratories to finalize the design of an air defense computer system. IBM's growth during the 1950s was nothing short of phenomenal. At the end of World War II, IBM had had revenues of 138-million dollars and employed more than 18,000 people. By 1950 those numbers had grown to 266 million dollars and a workforce of more than 30,000. By the end of the decade, IBM's revenues would soar to more than 1.8 billion dollars, employing nearly 105,000 people worldwide.
04:20:13 -- PICTURES OF THE WEEK: Cover and cover story from the October 18, 1952 edition of Collier's Magazine imagining the technology necessary to take man to the moon and back. Beginning in March 1952 and continuing through April 1954, the magazine carried a series of eight lengthy in-depth features on space exploration authored by world-class experts of the time.
04:27:13 -- PICTURES OF THE WEEK: From the January,1952 edition of Popular Mechanics, celebrating its 50th anniversary, an illustration of the "march of science" from five decades back to fifty years in the future (article and issue available at the Saturday Night Uforia Library portal).
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