Charles Babbage’s Difference Machine

Lead: In 1822 Charles Babbage constructed a crude but effective mechanical calculator. It was the ancestor of today’s computer.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in 1791 Charles Babbage early on demonstrated the characteristics of a mathematical genius combined with the intuitive curiosity of an inventor so much so that at Cambridge it was soon apparent that he knew more than his professors. While at college Babbage became interested in speeding up mathematical calculations. The result was what he called the Difference Engine or later, the Analytical Engine. It was the ancestor of today’s computer and it calculated mechanically.

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TV Quiz Show Scandal – III

Lead: In the late 1950s it was revealed that many TV Quiz shows were rigged.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1958 Columbia University Professor Charles Lincoln Van Doren seemed to be on top of his world. He was the son of renowned poet Mark Van Doren, taught English Literature at a prestigious university, and, at $50,000 per year, appeared regularly as a cultural consultant on NBCs Today show. Van Doren’s television work came largely as a result of his appearance as a successful contestant on the TV quiz show, Twenty-one. From December 1956 to March 1957 he had been the champion and had winnings totaling $129,000.

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TV Quiz Show Scandal – II

Lead: In the 1950s the first great scandal rocked television when it was revealed that TV Quiz Shows were cheating.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Television is a business. It is in the business of selling air time to advertisers. No station or network can long ignore the basic facts of the business. Programs are aired in large measure so as to attract an audience for the advertiser’s message. The sponsor pays fees which cover the cost of production and broadcaster profit. As in the heyday of radio, ad agencies and even individual advertisers in the early years of television kept close touch on programs they funded even dictating on-air personalities and script content.

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TV Quiz Show Scandal – I

Lead: The quiz show scandals of the late 1950s brought an abrupt end to television’s age of innocence.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It is hard to imagine a time when the television was not an ever-present life partner. Yet, as late as 1950, only 15% of the households in America possessed one of the large boxes with the tiny screens. The lucky few who did watched primitive news coverage, live drama, comedies such as the still popular I Love Lucy, and then play host to neighbors who always seemed to need a cup of sugar at Sid Caesar time.

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Edison vs. Westinghouse I

Lead: One of the great struggles in the history of technology was that between Thomas Alva Edison and George Westinghouse.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The use of electricity as a means of lighting homes, businesses and streets was in its infancy in the early 1880s. Thomas Edison had improved the incandescent light bulb and was hard at work constructing the power system for the City of New York. To get the power from generating power plants out to the customers, he used direct current which can be compared to a water flowing in a pipe. Power goes in one direction at a constantly low voltage over wiring that was very expensive so as to not blow out the light bulbs waiting for power down the circuit.

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High Octane/High Test Gasoline

Lead: In the 1930s, oil companies were struggling to boost the octane of gasoline. Eugène Houdry’s catalytic cracking process made it possible and may have helped win World War II.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When it comes from the ground, crude oil is almost useless, a mixture of thousands of different types of hydrocarbons: asphalt to gasoline to natural gas. Each has a different molecular weight, therefore, crude oil must be refined to pull out the impurities such as sulfur compounds and separate different components such as kerosene, gasoline, fuel oil, and so forth.

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Atomic Dawn III (Nuclear Age)

Lead: With the first sustained nuclear reaction in December, 1942, the Roosevelt Administration decided to harvest the energy of the atom by creating a weapon so powerful that it might possibly bring an end to World War II.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The executive director of the Manhattan Engineer District, the project to build the bomb, was Brigadier General Leslie Groves. He in turn chose J. Robert Oppenheimer, Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley who assembled the team that solved the theoretical and scientific problems associated with the bomb. Groves also selected a naval ordinance officer, Captain William S. "Deak" Parsons to tackle the construction and delivery of the weapon.

 

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Atomic Dawn I (Nuclear Age)

Lead: The road to Hiroshima began in earnest not on Tinian or in Los Alamos or Chicago or Princeton, but in pre-war Nazi Berlin.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the mid-1930s scientists had determined that the nucleus of the atom was not a single unit of matter but was made up of protons and neutrons. Neutrons, because they have no electrical charge were being used to explore the nature of the atomic nucleus. The Italian physicist Enrico Fermi began bombarding various elements with neutrons in 1934 and had concluded that relatively moderate changes could be made in the nucleus of one substance if hit with streams of neutrons from another.

 

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