Available Fall 2019
What Do 350+ Years of Science, Architecture, and Engineering Have in Common?
~ The Slide Rule! ~
The Slide Rule is a mechanical analog computer that in the right hands can do all of the following with accuracy and precision:
Squares and Square Roots
Cubes and Cube Roots
Sines, Cosines, Tangents, and Cotangents
... and more (depending on the Rule used)!
This program explores the Slide Rule’s role in history’s greatest engineering and scientific achievements, beginning with its invention in the 1600s and ending with its obsolescence in the 1970s. Best of all, we'll have the chance to learn how to use the Slide Rule and see for ourselves how computing was done before the age of electricity and silicon. During this program students will follow my lead in using the venerable Pickett Mircoline 120 Student Prep Slide Rule to perform a range of mathematical operations. Each student will have her/his own slide rule during the program.
*No Advanced Math Skills Required in this program!*
Only everyday experience doing multiplication and division is needed to begin.
Why A Program on Slide Rules?
When you work on electronic calculators and screens, numbers appear out of nowhere, transform mysteriously inside microcircuits, and then disappear into electronic oblivion, all at the tap of a key. Slide Rules provide a physical, observable pallet for numbers and a way to visualize and even feel how they relate, operate, and change during mathematical operations. The tactile and visual input of a Slide Rule can transform your understanding of math and boost your confidence and proficiency in tackling equations. You'll also develop an appreciation for the genius behind the Slide Rule and the three centuries of invention, calculation, and construction it made possible before our modern world.
Want to step into the Slide Zone?
See When Slide Rules Ruled: A History & Primer Presentation (TBD)
Download the Program Description/Common Core Map
Please Note: Presentation and class materials are for showcase purposes only and not meant to be used without explicit permission.
Logistics, Fee & Delivery Requirements
Duration: 2.0 hour interactive program | Age Range: 8-Adult | Participants: 4-30 | Cost: Starting at $249 | Requirements: Video Projector with HDMI port and speakers ; Document Projector with Lighting, Zoom, and Image Rotate (I can provide) ; 1 large table for presenter's items ; tables and chair for participants ; 0.5 hour setup and breakdown times ; additional travel charges may apply. Contact for details.
Look into the Funding Options to help bring STEMpunk programming to your school or organization.
Slide Rule Links
Manuals for a variety of Slide Rules are available at the National Museum of American History, Greg's Slide Rules and The Slide Rule Museum. You can also take the Illustrated Self-Guided Course on How to Use a Slide Rule, some parts of which we will use in the program.