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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - ISU Atomic Energy Lab


Wordless (nearly) Wednesday - ISU Atomic Energy Lab


[Click to see enlarged image]

This photo (which I only recently came across) actually should have gone along with the following story I wrote about my work in 1959-1961 at Iowa State University in the Atomic Energy Commission Physics Lab in Ames as a student-assistant to a Ph.D. student in Physics (assisting with his lab work):

http://drbilltellsancestorstories.blogspot.com/2011/12/sharing-memories-sunday-senior-year-at.html:

"First, the Ph.D.-level research I was involved with related to determining the electrical properties of a material (as compared to silicon, it turned out) for possible use in making 'computer chips' - as they would eventually be called. In processing the data, I got my first exposure to using the 'computer' of the day [the first electronic digital computer was officially invented at ISU, of course - see ABC at link] - writing initially in 'machine language' - before compilers"

The control box in front of me, to the right, with the black knobs, is where I put electrical pulses through the bits of materials (usually magnesium of some sort) and measured the properties of the sample for my 'boss' to analyze. This was the data that led to his Ph.D. dissertation. I assisted him with preparing tables of the data in the draft of this dissertation, and, received from him on the draft copies of his dissertation, as his 'thank you' for my assistance.

Of course, in the end, silicon won out over magnesium for the eventual manufacture of computer chips... but that came later, of course!


Families are Forever!  ;-)

7 comments:

  1. And here I thought /I/ was the computer guy in the family... ;-)

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  2. Happy blogiversary Dr. Bill....looking forward to reading and enjoying your blog for many many more years....keep up the great work

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  3. @ Tray - thanks for the reminder and your thoughts!

    @ Grant - Yes, I have tried to avoid it over the years, but cannot seem to get away from them... ;-) You are welcome to hold and continue the title, by the way! Continued best wishes! ;-)

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  4. @ Jim S - Thank you, so much. And, of course, thanks to Thomas for the reminder at GeneaBlogger! ;-)

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  5. This is an amazing photo. It reminds me of taking computer programming classes in the late 70s and early 80s on the mainframe!

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  6. I agree, Annette. The more I look at the enlarged image, the more amazed I get... at where we were, and how far we have come... another reminder of how important basic research is to our way of live... one bit of new information at a time... so essential to real progress in all our lives... ;-)

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