CSS Colloquium - Arne Schirrmacher: From Particles to Pedagogy
Alternative Careers of US Atomic Physicists in the 1960s and the Invention of the Science Center
Oplysninger om arrangementet
From Particles to Pedagogy. Alternative Careers of US Atomic Physicists in the 1960s and the Invention of the Science Center.
Why is it that we find Frank Oppenheimer, who was developing a proton accelerator with Luis Alvarez in in the years after World War II, observing school children crash his self-build science exhibits some 20 years later? How come that Harvey White, who had worked on atomic spectroscopy and who had pictured the electron clouds of atoms, was addressing audiences on TV nationwide at 6 in the morning in the 1950s? And why do we find Robert Karplus, whose incredible calculations convinced physicists in 1949 of the validity and applicability of QED, wondering with elementary school children how to relate objects in space two decades later? – My paper will show a decisive impact of Sputnik shock accelerated spending on educational reform on the reinvention of the science museum. In particular in the Bay Area one can find both the derailed grand plans for the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley and the improbably successful alternative project of the San Francisco Exploratorium. In a twisted story, including the three mentioned physicists, I will show that the very person, who aimed at an educational project had to resort to reinvent the science museum, while those with plans for a momentous museum in honor of Lawrence did never succeed.