Admiral Grace Hopper – Teaching Computers to Speak

Lead: When Grace Hopper got into the business in 1944, the number of people who had ever heard the word computer could not fill a small room. She stayed with it until she died.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content:. When the United States was sucked into World War II, Vassar College Professor Grace Murray Hopper could have avoided military service. She had a Yale PhD and was in a vital profession, a college math teacher barred from military service, but Grace Hopper loved the U.S. Navy. Her great-grandfather had been a rear admiral, and she battered the doors down and finished first in her midshipman class. The Navy wanted her mind, specifically, her ability to calculate and help operate the new generation of mechanical calculators that would be required if modern weapons were to reach their destructive potential.

George Washington Rains and Confederate Gunpowder – II

Lead: During the Civil War, the Confederacy faced serious challenges, not the least of which was having no source of gunpowder. To solve that problem they turned to George Washington Rains.


                Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


                Content: The key ingredient in gunpowder is saltpeter, the general name for three naturally occurring nitrates, the most common in North America being potassium nitrate. Called by some niter, it was combined with sulfur and charcoal, and together they were rolled, pressed crushed, granulated and dried in a process that was conducted almost nowhere in large quantities in the South prior to 1861. To defend itself the Confederacy would have to solve that problem. Ordinance chief Josiah Gorgas appointed Artillery major George Washington Rains, third in his West Point class, and who had served with distinction in the Mexican War.


George Washington Rains and Confederate Gunpowder – I

Lead: When it became clear that the Federal government would not permit the South to depart without a fight in 1861, one of the most pressing needs of the newly formed Confederacy was gunpowder.


Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.


Content: Despite its wealth of leadership and agricultural resources, the South in the 1860s, was ill equipped to fight a war. What ordinance it had was confiscated from Federal arsenals in Confederate territory and was not nearly enough to prosecute the major campaigns that lay ahead. Few foundries could roll the iron that would be required.  The South had provided mostly raw agricultural products to the factories of the North and the industrial mills of Europe. That it was able to field numerous armies, a credible naval effort, and a war machine that held the North at bay for the better part of three full years is a testimony to the raw talent, dedication, and energy of its leaders, the many sacrifices of its white population, and, at least at first, the vigor of its free blacks and slaves. Yet in the end, the South had been bled dry, overwhelmed by the industrial might and superior numbers the North could bring to the conflict.

Wheelchair Inspiration – National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Lead: America’s veterans have often paid a terrible lingering physical and mental price for their service. The National Veterans Wheelchair Games helps many rise above their suffering.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After World War II, many surviving servicemen came home severely handicapped. The loss of limbs and other types of physical incapacity compounded the normal struggle in readjusting to civilian pursuits. Through the G.I. Bill many went on to complete college, but the nation also provided ongoing rehabilitative services to terribly wounded veterans.

Transistor Radio

Lead: In 1954 Texas Instruments and its partner released for the holiday shopping season a remarkable new product which transformed entertainment and pointed to the electronic future: the transistor radio.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Just six years earlier, Bell Labs scientists had announced the invention of a primitive replacement for the vacuum tube. The glass enclosed tubes, invented in 1907 propelled the electronic world forward and made possible amplification, radio and long distance telephony, but tubes were slow, hot, bulky, and short-lived. The replacement was called a transistor or “transfer resistor.” It used the element germanium (and later silicon) covered on both sides with another element to create a tiny alternative to the vacuum tube which could act as an amplifier or a on/off switch.