Thursday, September 27, 2007

The David Sarnoff Library's First Annual YouTube Video Contest

The Martians have landed—then or now.
Cover the breaking story in three minutes or less!

The theme of aliens arriving on Earth is an old one with many variations. How do they arrive? Where do they land? What do they look, sound, feel, or smell like? How do they communicate? What do we have that they want? What do they give that we need? Are they angelic, evil, or something in-between? How do we, the people, respond? What do we observe, assume, or do? All answers are up to you, the director!

Contest details
Begins: September 24, 2007
Ends: Entries must be received by 11:59:59 EST on October 20, 2007 to be eligible for prizes.
Must be 13 years of age or older

Register and Post Video: Online at - or -Download form at and email to: - and -

Post video at: with the tag .

Winners to be announced after the evening performance of War of the Worlds at the Library on October 27, 2007.

- Yubz Talk cell phone handset, courtesy Oh No So Ho of West Windsor
- Two other cool prizes
- Great publicity for your handiwork!

Visit to enter today!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Library on WHYY

WHYY TV in Philadelphia is promoting the Library and its namesake through a three-minue Experience Arts & Culture video that currently runs between some programs and also on its website. Scroll down to the second entry and give mad props to director Andrea Campbell and cameraman Eric Sennhenn, who spent five hours interviewing our executive director, Alex Magoun, and shooting footage of exhibits and the TV ceiling!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Welcome Back Grover's Mill Coffee Company!

We are pleased to announce that the Grover's Mill Coffee Company will once again be providing coffee during the dessert reception following this year's evening performance of the War of the Worlds, which will be held on October 27th.

Come for the performance....stay for the coffee!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Brainstorming Meeting for Field Trips on Monday

Remember to come to the Library on Monday, September 24th at 7:30 PM in order to come up with ideas for our emerging field trip program. Help shape the direction of our activities as we strive to reach out to the schoolchildren of our area.

Hope to see you then!

Friday, September 21, 2007

What They Did for Their Summer Vacation

The summer of 2007 was the summer of volunteers for the Library, and most of them are local high school students. What started with one in the fall of 2006 has snowballed into twelve. They hail from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and perform a variety of invaluable archival services, ranging from cataloging to sorting to rehousing to digitizing RCA collections of documents and periodicals.

Kunal Deopare, the pioneer, started scanning the lab notebook pages of RCA Labs staff who contributed to the invention of liquid crystal displays (LCDs) in the 1960s. Swapnil Mhatre joined him a few weeks later and after scanning to PDF format several hundred 1940s and 1950s RCA Princeton engineering memos and technical reports, he started in full-time last summer on scanning the 31 volumes of RCA Engineer, 1955-86. These illustrated magazines, published four to six times a year, contain articles by technical and managerial staff on new and old technologies, from radio and TV antennas to space cameras to solid-state lasers and computers, and how they fit in the company's changing strategies for return on investment.

Over the winter of 2006-7, they were joined by Ujaas Barvalia, Adnan Khan, Kishore Ryali, Hamad Masood, and Kirin Masood, joined in the scanning and downloading of reports, and did the preliminary sorting and weeding of the collections of John Coleman, biophysicist and super-electron microscope designer, and Charlie Wine, Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at the David Sarnoff Research Center. Over the summer, with Jonathan Slawitzky, they removed the oxidizing (rusting) metal fasteners and foldered some 2,500 Princeton Engineering Memos between 1952 and 1969, and are gearing up for the Princeton and Zurich Technical Reports.

In addition this summer we saw Rohit and Renuka Reddy, and Vidya Nandarpurkar and Aleesha Shaik come on board. Rohit is busy digitizing and formatting for the history of the invention of electronic color television at RCA's Princeton Labs, 1945-54, while Renuka is carefully typing into a spreadsheet the somewhat chaotic handtyped index to the Labs' newsletter, Radiations (so named in a contest by Labs staff member Lawrence Giacoletto to reflect RCA's use of electromagnetic phenomena in its products). Last but hardly least, over the summer Vidya Nandarpurkar typed in the annual tables of contents for RCA Review, the company's elite technical journal, 1952-86, into a spreadsheet and then scanned to PDF all the Reviews' contents from 1936-64 before school started. She recruited Aleesha Shaik to join her, and Aleesha has rehoused and relabeled in archival (acid- and lignin-free) envelopes some 2,500 4x5 photonegatives for the Carl Byoir RCA collection, before joining the PEM rehousing project. Executive Director Dr. Alex Magoun couldn't ask for a more productive and dynamic group of students, who are doing so much to preserve the legacy of invention and innovation at one of the country's greatest companies!

photo by Frank Wojciechowski

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Volunteers At The Library

Last night was the first of our volunteer brainstorming sessions at the Library. We discussed the War of the Worlds event and the soon-to-be-announced YouTube contest, and came up with some exciting ideas.

Your next chance to be part of the fun is this Monday, September 24th, when we brainstorm about our developing field trip program. Anyone who wants to help out with these trips or anyone who has ideas about how to make these programs more intriguing for youngsters is welcome to attend.

Hope to see you then!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Coming Soon - War of the Worlds YouTube Contest!

In conjunction with this year's War of the Worlds re-enactment on October 27th, the David Sarnoff Library will be holding a YouTube contest.

To support our efforts, our lovely and generous friends at Oh No So Ho in West Windsor have donated a state-of-the-art YubzTalk handset as a prize. As described on its website, YubzTalk handsets attach to most mobile phone devices and come with a Yubz-answering function and a Push Volume feature (note - the mobile phone pictured with the handset above is NOT included). It should also be noted that, at this point in time, Oh No So Ho is the ONLY store in the state of New Jersey that is selling YubzTalk handsets.

So get your recording devices ready and start thinking about what you need to do in order to win this fabulous prize. Check this blog in the coming days for details about this event.

Remember To Come To The Library Tonight!

Come to the David Sarnoff Library tonight at 7:30. We'll be brainstorming about this year's War of the Worlds event - come and be a part of the fun!

If you've never visited the Library before, this is a great opportunity to look around, visit our displays, and see what makes the Library such a special place.

Directions to the Library can be found here.

Hope to see you at the meeting!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Martians Are Coming!

"War of the Worlds" David Sarnoff Library Fund Raiser

Saturday, October 27, 2007
Afternoon Matinee: 2:00 PM
Evening Performance: 7:30 PM.

PRINCETON: And now, with Halloween drawing nigh, it's time once again for the David Sarnoff Library's War of the Worlds! Yes, the Big Broadcast of 2007 takes place on Saturday, October 27, in a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening performance at 7:30 p.m. Staged by the Hunterdon Radio Theatre's veteran cast and broadcast over 16 antique radios by the New Jersey Antique Radio Club, Orson Welles and Howard Koch's adaptation of H. G. Wells's story of the Martian attack on Earth takes you back to a time before the internet and television, when your ears and mind filled in what you could not see. Staged in Sarnoff Corporation's Auditorium at 201 Washington Road in Princeton, New Jersey, just a mile from the Martians' 1938 landing site at Grover's Mill, this annual fundraising event is guaranteed to entertain, educate, and enlighten you!

In addition, acclaimed thereminist Kip Rosser will accompany electronic musicians Gregg Waltzer and Howard Moscovitz of the Martian Radio Orchestra for a half hour of appropriate "mood music" before each show!

Click here to order tickets on-line, call Hawkins + Company at 215-885-5355 for reservations, or order in advance through this page (Word Document) or this page (PDF). Matinee tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door; Evening tickets including a dessert reception with the cast are $20 in advance for ages 13-64, $25 at the door; $10 in advance for children and senior citizens, $15 at the door. Hundreds of people of all ages flocked to last year's shows; don't miss out!

RCA's CT-100 Color TV is "Greatest Gadget of all Time"

So say the readers of! The company that started us on the path to color video everywhere introduced its $995 home television receiver in March 1954, and didn't make a profit on the whole $100 million investment in research, development, manufacture, marketing, servicing, and programming until 1962. That's not forgeting the nine years it took to get color TV to mass production in 1954.

A tip of the hat to Library friend and NJARC member Dave Sica for bringing this to our attention, and to for its very fine and illustrated report.

The runner-up? It's not the iPod, Walkman, or the Macintosh; the editors reached back to the 18th century for John Bird's sextant, although it appears they mistook it for his quadrant.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

You Add Us To Your Blogroll, And We'll Add You To Ours

If you add our link ( ) to your blogroll and e-mail the link to your blog to us at, we'll include your blog on our blogroll.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Calling All Volunteers!

These are exciting times for the David Sarnoff Library. We have big plans for the future - as more people have become aware of us, we're planning on serving the community in all sorts of unique and interesting ways.

With big plans, however, comes the need for manpower. With that in mind, we're holding five Brainstorming Sessions at the Library so that its Friends, old and new, can meet likeminded people dedicated to education and history, and help develop the programs that will shape the Library's future. Out of these sessions, we expect to form committees that will help executive director Alex Magoun expand the scope and scale of the Library's activities in accord with its mission.

All of these meetings will be held at the Library, will begin at 7:30, offer refreshments, and last approximately one hour -
  1. Tuesday, September 18 - The annual War of the Worlds Broadcast fundraiser takes place on Saturday, October 27th. Help us plan and generate publicity, solicit sponsors for the Program, and promote the YouTube video contest!
  2. Monday, September 24 - Field Trips. Our 3rd grade program on David Sarnoff, sound, and electronic communications needs docents and publicity. We also want to develop programs for middle school students in electricity, light, magnetism, video, and digital logic. If you like working with and inspiring children, or have ideas for hands-on activities, this is for you!
  3. Tuesday, October 2 - Fundraising. We need to raise funds for field trips and exhibits, based on a strategy proposed by Library friend Michael Lundy and on our online store at help us develop a Superfriends network and create popular RCA- and Nipper-related items!
  4. Monday, October 8 - Tours. We expect an increased demand for tours this fall: can you help us prepare tours and schedules, or serve as a docent?
  5. Monday, October 15 - Archives. We want to catalog, rehouse, and organize the collections of RCA Broadcast manuals, RCA technical reports, and lab notebooks recovered from April's devastating flood. Can you help?
We are looking forward to seeing many of you at these sessions. Come to as many as you think you can help with - we greatly appreciate whatever time, thought, and muscles you can offer.

If you have questions or suggestions, contact the Library by email or phone at (609) 734-2636.

The Library is located on Sarnoff Corporation's campus at 201 Washington Road, Princeton NJ 08540-6449. Directions can be found here. At the company's entrance, follow signs to the left for the Library and its "Private Entrance."