Monday, July 31, 2006

Italian Students Visit the Library

Thanks to a tip by Louis Zanoni of WZBN, executive director Alex Magoun contacted Dr. Chiara Nappi of Princeton University's Physics Department to invite her summer course visitors to visit the Library. They appeared, all 46 including chaperones, on Friday afternoon, July 28. Alex led them on a tour of Mr. Sarnoff's office and exhibits, during which they learned about his origins, his motivation, and his strategies for improving the world's ability to exchange information. Alex also explained how industrial physicists, chemists, and engineers manipulated electrons, light, and phosphors, in vacuum and then in solids, in order to accomplish Sarnoff's goals.

Here are two photos, courtesy of Mr. Zanoni, of the tour and the group:

Lectures, Exhibits Attract Great Crowds

Over 220 people attended the three lectures on Thomas Edison, Bell Laboratories, and David Sarnoff last month in Sarnoff Corporation's Auditorium. Besides engaging with the speakers--Drs. Paul Israel, Sheldon Hochheiser, and Alexander Magoun--they also took in the new exhibits on David Sarnoff and the Innovative Spirit and Six Innovations that Changed the World. The lectures and exhibits were made possible in part by a project grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, an operating support grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, and the support of Mr. Arthur Sarnoff.

Here's Dr. Hochheiser on-stage, and one of the slides highlighting Claude Shannon and information theory as one of Bell Labs' signal contributions to the world in which we live:

Here's the audience for Sheldon Hochheiser's lecture on Looking Down from Murray Hill: Six Innovations that Changed the World, on Tuesday, June 13:

Videographer Dave Sica of Sica Productions generously donated his time and skills to filming the lecture. Thanks to him and the equally generous Dave Hall of Davideo Multimedia, the three lectures will be made available on-line; for now, you can watch Dr. Hochheiser on Google Video here!

The exhibits involved renovating the artifact displays and mounting posters prepared by Alex Magoun, Sam Missimer of Venezia Associates, and Maria Mattera of Suite6 Design. On Saturday, May 20, Alex called on the strong backs of the New Jersey Antique Radio Club to remove the glass covers from the three main cases in the Library. In five hours he rearranged the exhibits to highlight Sarnoff's early career, video cameras, semiconductors, and computers.

On Memorial Day, Louise Grafton recovered the plinths in the five vertical cabinets with black, white, red, green, and blue fabric before Alex rearranged some of the contents. In particular, you can now see the first color TV picture tube and a signed baseball from the first night game broadcast in color between the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Giants on May 16, 1960 (the Reds won at Crosley Field, 9-2)

Finally, with the arrival of the posters portraying David Sarnoff's innovative spirit, carpenters Charlie Brzezynski and Bob Sanders of Sarnoff Corporation's Facilities crew installed mountings on the Library's columns to which the posters could be attached with velcro. Volunteer Phil Vourtsis helped fasten them on the level.

Our thanks to all above as well as Sarnoff Corporation's Lou Ann Wingerter for consulting on poster placement; Scott Marshall of Fedex Kinko's for sterling work in producing labels and mini-posters; and to Sharon Chapman for supervising refreshments and encouraging so many of the audience to fill out the NJCH's surveys after each lecture!