Timelineexhibitsvoicesactive learningreference room


Display Information

Engines of Our Ingenuity

NOTE: Episodes open in a new window; close that window to return to this page.

Edwin Hubble Digital History ID 4484
Now we've set the Hubble Observatory in space, and we wait to see all that it has to show us. But who was Hubble? Where does this great space telescope get its name? Edwin Hubble was born in Missouri in 1889. He was educated at the University of Chicago and Oxford. After WW-I he joined the Mount Wilson Observatory. And there, until his death in 1953, he expanded the Universe far beyond what it had been.
Listen to this episode
1900 Digital History ID 4517
I'm reading a 1900 magazine, The World's Work. First, book reviews: Conrad's Lord Jim, they say, is told "with remarkable literary art." Alice of Old Vincennes is "a cheerful book of action, of little literary art and no permanent value, but a rattling story for a passing day." Not-yet-president Theodore Roosevelt's biography of Oliver Cromwell is "attractive less for its literary quality than for its direct grip in the larger aspects of his subject."
Listen to this episode
Women in the Academy Digital History ID 4477
Nobel laureate Marie Curie was nominated to the French Academy of Sciences in 1910. After heated debate, the Academy turned her down by only two votes. That was so close that the members voted again -- this time to decide whether women should ever be admitted. Women in general fared worse than Mme Curie in particular. She'd barely lost, but the Academy voted resoundingly -- 90 to 52 -- to bar women completely.
Listen to this episode
Wright and Langley Digital History ID 4502
The close of the 19th century saw Samuel Pierpoint Langley and Orville and Wilbur Wright laboring to create powered controlable flight. Langley worked with government support and enormous public exposure, while the Wright brothers worked quietly using their own resources. Langley attempted flight on October 7th, 1903. His huge 54-foot-long flying machine had two 48-foot wings -- one in front and one in back. It was launched from a catapult on the Potomac River, and it fell like a sack of cement into the water. On December 8th he tried again. This time the rear wing caved in before it got off its catapult.
Listen to this episode