Thursday, January 19, 2017


History of Science
by Edward Hessler

The previous post about blackboards leads to another.

Several readers responded to Professor Peter Woit's comments on the blackboards found in Columbia University's mathematics department.

Whiteboard [Pexels]
Some of the comments are on the merits of blackboards v whiteboards, blackboards, whiteboards but highlight two others here.

—Blackboards in toilets can be found in the Newton Institute, Cambridge University.

—I'd never heard about Einstein's blackboard known as the "Oxford blackboard." Einstein used that blackboard during a lecture at Oxford in May 1931.  It contains a numerical error, "an error that casts useful light on a puzzling mistake in a cosmology (Einstein) published later that year." I leave it to others to find the error.

Here is the Wiki entry about the blackboard (actually there are two but because one was wiped clean it is not on display) and the mistake.

And here is a short video  by a curator of the Oxford Museum of the History of Science.  He uses a lovely phrase for describing the use of a chalkboard. It is "chalked on." I was interested to learn that no attempt was ever made to "preserve" it, say with a varnish. The possibility of chalk deterioration is discussed. So far, it has not been observed.

And if you are interested in reading comments made by readers about chalkboards, here is the link to that entry in Not Even Wrong. You will find them interspersed with other comments about topics Dr. Woit described in his entry, "Various and Sundry."

People have strong opinions about chalkboards and whiteboards. There is a discussion of pollutants from both, too.

Thanks to Peter Woit, again.

No comments:

Post a Comment