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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.
    Click here to register
  • 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.
    Click here to register
  • Electronic Environmental Detectives
    August 30, 1:30 PM, Location TBD
    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.
  • Title TBA
    September 27, 1:30, via Zoom
    A talk by science historian Ingrid Ockert
  • War of the Worlds
    October 25 1:30, Location TBD
    Join the Sarnoff for a spooky pre-Halloween rebroadcast of the 1936 radio play, War of the Worlds.
  • Operation Ballot: Electronics and Elections
    November 1, 1:30pm, location TBD
    Two 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 using electronic data processing systems from the UNIVAC to NBC’s “Operation Ballot.”
  • Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra
    November 29, 1:30
    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.