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Lecture Series: Sunday at the Sarnoff

Lecture Series: Sunday at the Sarnoff

Join us on the last Sunday of every month for Sunday at the Sarnoff, a conversation about topics from the intersection of technology, history, and culture. 

Schedule of talks:

  • Shooting the Apollo Moon Walks
    May 31, 1:30pm, via Zoom:
    As a kid, Sam Russell grew up tinkering with electronics and dreaming of travel to the moon. Fascinated by the prospects of the Apollo project, he joined the team at RCA’s Astro division to help bring the final three Apollo lunar explorations into the living rooms of hundreds of millions of people. Join us for a free Zoom talk as Russell discusses his experiences working on the Apollo missions and the history of the development of the camera and communication systems he helped build.
    Watch the talk on YouTube
  • “Sarnoff is a Klingon!” TV Programing in the Early Years of Color Television
    June 28, 1:30pm, via Zoom:
    In 1968, students from universities all across southern California marched on NBC’s studios in Burbank, CA. In the hands of one protester was a sign that read “Sarnoff is a Klingon.” But what did David Sarnoff, chairman of the board of the Radio Corporation of America, have to do with Star Trek?  Join the Sarnoff Collection for our Sunday at the Sarnoff Zoom talk about the early years of color television broadcasting, and the shows that graced the small screen in the 50s and 60s.
  • Televising the Presidential Conventions
    July 26, 1:30pm, via Zoom:
    It’s an election year, and election years mean political conventions! The first political convention was broadcast on the radio in 1924, and the first televised convention took place in 1940, when television was still in its infancy. Join the Sarnoff Collection for July’s Sunday at the Sarnoff Zoom discussion about the history of broadcasting the presidential conventions, and the cool technologies that were invented to cover those technologically challenging events.
  • Electronic Environmental Detectives
    August 30, 1:30 PM, via Zoom
    As we seek to solve, or even study, environmental problems effectively we must measure and analyze them. Electronics has been enabling atmospheric and other environmental sciences since the early 20th century. This talk, by physicist and Sarnoff volunteer Jonathan Allen, will discuss the evolution and current state of electronic instruments for atmospheric measurements, and analysis including both gaseous and particulate pollutants, as well as instruments developed by the author.
    Watch the talk on YouTube
  • Science on the Small Screen: A Short History of Science Education via Remote Learning
    September 27, 1:30, via Zoom
    As educators try to figure out what teaching looks like in COVID times, “ZOOM-learning” and “remote education” have become the phrases of the day. Yet, learning through the small screen isn’t a new idea; in fact, educators have debated the merit of educational television since the 1940s. In the 1950s, science educators, convinced of the merits of medium, pioneered television shows about science. In this talk, science historian Ingrid Ockert will take viewers through a whirlwind tour of the groundbreaking science television genre and will discuss what early lessons are useful for educators today. This talk is held in conjunction with the Sarnoff’s In Living Color exhibit.
    Click here to register
  • Operation Ballot: Electronics and Elections
    October 25 1:30, via ZoomTwo days after the incumbent US president Harry Truman was elected for a second term, he proudly brandished the front page of the Chicago Daily Tribune with its now iconic headline, “Dewey Defeats Truman.” In the era before computers, projecting election trends was difficult, but the electronic computer revolutionized the speed at which election predictions were made. Join the Sarnoff Collection curator for this this special, pre-election talk about the history of computer predictions from the 1952 UNIVAC stunt to NBC’s “Operation Ballot.”
    Click here to register.
  • Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra
    November 29, 1:30, via Zoom 
    In 1937, famed Italian composer Arturo Toscanini came out of retirement to conduct the newly formed NBC Symphony Orchestra at the behest of RCA’s chairman, David Sarnoff. This talk will trace the history of Toscanini’s time with NBS, show some of the Toscanini artifacts we have in the collection, and will explain how it is that the Sarnoff came to possess the maestro’s house keys.