Saturday, November 7, 2015

Retro Saturday: Universal Gravitation


Click the arrow to watch the film. Video source: Historia - Bel99TV YouTube channel.

We head to the Great White North for this week's Retro Saturday installment.

Universal Gravitation is a 30-minute documentary produced in 1960 by Physical Sciences Study Committee (PSSC) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was hosted by two professors with the University of Toronto.

According to the American Association of Physics Teachers, the PSSC was founded in 1956 “ to reshape how physics was taught in high schools.”

The impact of PSSC was world wide. By the early 1960s more than twenty percent of all high school teachers of physics were involved in this project. PSSC produced a major new text book, more than fifty extraordinary movies, a sequence of lab materials that has not been equaled, and a series of short books describing in an engaging and insightful way many different aspects of physics — crystal growing, waves and beaches, how a TV works, neutrons, electrons, the universe, and the physicists who led the way to deeper understanding of a fascinating variety of phenomena.

At the time this film was produced, satellites had orbited the earth for three years. Human spaceflight was a year away.

This is the 99th episode of Retro Saturday. Next week will be the 100th and final episode of Retro Saturday. I have something special for the series finale.

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