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Artifacts become art--slide rules and turntables at LVAC

WTBS Radio Station: Console, turntables, reel-to-reel tape and station wall clock.
WTBS Radio Station: Console, turntables, reel-to-reel tape and station wall clock.
Photo / MIT Museum

In conjunction with Cerith Wyn Evans' installation, "Thoughts unsaid, now forgotten...," the List Visual Arts Center will hold a special discussion of the "Slide Rule Man," 1960s radio broadcasting technologies and their place in MIT's cultural heritage. "MIT history night" has been scheduled for this Friday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in Building E15.

"The Slide Rule Man" is an MIT audio recording from the 1960s about a man who traveled among science-based schools inscribing students' names on their slide rules for 35 cents. That recording is included in Wyn Evans' installation that also includes "WMBR Radio Station," an original 1960s wood-paneled broadcast studio from MIT's student-run radio station, then known as WTBS. The major themes of Wyn Evans' work--information, poetry, art, science and communication--are all incorporated in these relics, which Wyn Evans uses to investigate the aesthetics common to scientific and artistic vision.

List Curator Bill Arning will lead an evening of anecdotes with Martin Klein (S.B. 1962), former president and founder of Klein Associates, Inc. of Salem, N.H., who created the original recording of "The Slide Rule Man," and Ken Avery, a Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering, the current general manager for WMBR radio.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 8, 2004 (download PDF).

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