Science & Mathematics
The Museum's collections hold thousands of objects related to chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy, and other sciences. Instruments range from early American telescopes to lasers. Rare glassware and other artifacts from the laboratory of Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen, are among the scientific treasures here. A Gilbert chemistry set of about 1937 and other objects testify to the pleasures of amateur science. Artifacts also help illuminate the social and political history of biology and the roles of women and minorities in science.
The mathematics collection holds artifacts from slide rules and flash cards to code-breaking equipment. More than 1,000 models demonstrate some of the problems and principles of mathematics, and 80 abstract paintings by illustrator and cartoonist Crockett Johnson show his visual interpretations of mathematical theorems.
"Science & Mathematics - Overview" showing 1 items.
- This aluminum bar, with an X-shaped cross-section, is a replica of the platinum international meter prototype housed in Paris and used as a standard for the metric system from 1889 to 1960. On one side, the lower left corner is marked: A.27. The upper right corner is marked: B.27. Like an actual meter standard, the bar is 102 centimeters long and there are marks 1 centimeter from each end on this side to show the precise length of a meter. Compare to 2000.0126.25.
- A rectangular walnut case is lined with black felt. A brass plate on the top of the case is marked: REPLICA METER BAR (/) Presented to (/) BENJAMIN L. PAGE (/) Metrologist (/) National Bureau of Standards (/) On the occasion of his retirement (/) December 29, 1961.
- Benjamin Lorenzo Page (1894–1977) began working with length standards at the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) around 1920. He was presented with this replica when he retired. His widow, Helen (Bell) Page, then gave it to one of his colleagues, Rolland Ackermann (1905–1985).
- References: Catalog of Artifacts on Display in the NBS Museum, edited by H. L. Mason, NBSIR 76-1125 (Washington, D.C., 1977), 17; Robert P. Crease, World in the Balance: The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement (New York: W. W. Norton, 2011), 223; Herbert Arthur Klein, The Science of Measurement: A Historical Survey (reprint, New York: Dover, 1988), 185; "Benjamin Lorenzo 'Ben' Page," http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=35098794; Calibrations of the Line Standards of Length of the National Bureau of Standards, by Lewis V. Judson and Benjamin L. Page, RP743, Bureau of Standards Journal of Research 11 (July-December 1933).
- Currently not on view
- date made
- National Bureau of Standards
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- accession number
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center