Museum of Science and Industry (was: Interesting places in Ch icago area?)

From: Feldman, Robert <>
Date: Wed Mar 13 08:24:39 2002

IIRC, they were in a great exhibit done by IBM -- not just computers, but
math, statistics and probability also. I never tired of seeing it. Too bad
that exhibit got pulled a number of years ago.

Most of the exhibits have corporate sponsors, which often means they have
the content and intellectual level of your average TV commercial. There is a
new exibit on petroleum that includes two sections with arcade games (car
racing and skiing). They are straight, unmodified arcade games. How they
relate to petroleum one can only guess -- OK cars use gas, but what a waste
of floor space.

There are some good exhibits. The one on imaging is about 5 years old and
makes good use of computer technology (SGI and Macs, IIRC). They also have
one of the Burlington Zyphir trains (1930's stainless steel streamlined
diesel). The Navy exhibit is interesing also. The Coal mine is still there,
and has been updated. And the model railroad is still there -- a big O-gauge
layout sponsored by Santa Fe. It is "computer controlled" and might by


-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Battle []
Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 10:56 PM
Subject: Museum of Science and Industry (was: Interesting places in
Chicago area?)


It was quite influential in my life path. Who knows, maybe I would have
turned out the same, but besides all the cool off-topic stuff displayed
there, two of the exhibits I still recall and are more on topic as they
relate to computers.

One exhibit was a little display about the size of a podium. It had an
exposed PC board on top with heavy gauge copper in an odd pattern. A metal
"pen" was used to draw a digit from 0 to 9, and based on which traces you
touched and the sequence you touched them in, it would display what digit
you had written. On the front was the schematic of the thing, containing
many dozens of transistors. Was it the first palm pilot? This was
probably around 1974 or so.

The other display I recall vividly was the tic-tac-toe machine implemented
as a clacking relay computer. You could see the relays activating behind
the plexiglass. <snip>

I visited there about five years ago and it didn't hold the same appeal. I
don't know if it was just that I had matured and the wonder of the world
has been lost, or if the displays just have a different flavor now that
doesn't appeal to me.

Ah, memories.

Jim Battle ==
Received on Wed Mar 13 2002 - 08:24:39 GMT

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