history

“Thousands upon thousands of years ago, at the dawn of human history, Stone Age men gazed at the moon and wondered just what it was.” Now we know. I can spell step, but it was STEM, namely science, technology, engineering and mathematics, that took Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the moon’s surface and back 50 years ago this month.

The newest exhibit presented by Fermilab scientist Erik Ramberg and the Fermilab Archives gives the viewer a glimpse into the fascinating history of the study of electricity. Since 600 BC, scientists and philosophers have theorized on how electrical charge is transferred from one site to another. In the 18th century, experiments testing these theories took off. In the exhibit, see primary texts and early images of electricity at work.

Building a particle physics laboratory requires more than physicists. Fermilab archivist Valerie Higgins has authored a paper available in the online physics repository arXiv, and earlier this month she published an op-ed for Physics World on the importance of capturing perspectives from all parts of the laboratory. She sat down with Symmetry writer Lauren Biron to discuss her thoughts.

From Physics World, April 23, 2019: Fermilab Archivist Valerie Higgins discusses how the contributions of support staff should not be forgotten when it comes to celebrating scientific breakthroughs. Modern scientific research is often conducted through large organizational structures and thousands of participants. For archivists and others interested in the history of scientific research, developing a complete picture requires an understanding not only of the work that scientists and technical staff do but also the contributions of support staff too.

How would your life be different if the internet and the World Wide Web were switched off forever? You might nostalgically think life would be better, but it would surely be very different. Try throwing away your cell phones and computers! Last month, March, was the 30th anniversary of a note written at CERN by Tim Berners-Lee (now Sir Tim) titled “Information Management: A Proposal.” That was the origin of the World Wide Web.

From Atlas Obscura, April 2, 2019: In February 1971, physicists at National Accelerator Laboratory began testing the biggest machine in the world: a ring-shaped, 200-billion-electronvolt proton synchrotron particle accelerator. The stakes were high. They soon ran into a perplexing problem: Magnets that were essential to its operation kept failing. The low-tech solution proposed for this high-tech trouble? A ferret named Felicia.

From CNN, March 7, 2019: Fermilab scientist Don Lincoln tells the history of the start of the World Wide Web, which has its 30th anniversary this month. It started an unpublished manuscript by Tim Berners-Lee titled “Information Management: A Proposal,” was submitted to the publication office of CERN.