Thursday, June 15, 2017

Two Worlds Collide in 1 Photo

This is one strange photo:
So many questions. So many. Staged photos (and yes, this obviously is one) will often do that, but this one seems to have gone off in a third dimension.

This was on the walls last month for a 50th class reunion so the age of image, the clothing and other fashion items are not what's strange. Nor is the lack of PPE, giving the time the original photo was taken. The biggest question to me is why is the instructor holding a condenser(?) with the tip just few inches away from the throat of the student? It's looks like the poor lad is being force to read a signed confession or otherwise threatened. The round-bottom flask in apparent isolation is also odd.

The writing on the chalkboard is equally strange. Not the the left side, where you have the conversion between Fahrenheit and Celsius - that's fine. Rather it's the (repeated) equation in the middle that is the head scratcher. It's a formula for cutting speed and it's used with machining equipment.

Two worlds colliding - machinists and chemists. I strongly suspect that at the very least, the instructor had no chemistry experience. The same would be true of the photographer. And certainly no one thought that the photo would be preserved for 50 years. I haven't been able to find any further details; it's just an old photo kicking around that was made into a poster. Keep that in mind next time you take a photo. It may end up being a poster somewhere where you least expect it and no backstory to explain it. Rather frightening, huh?


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The prof is handing the student a slide rule to do a calculation.

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