And again, writing this column, we collaborate with the JINR Museum of Science and Technology. Since we want to tell you about the ways of calculation in science of the 20th century. Or rather, about large and complicated computations in design and construction of facilities, data processing etc. Mental calculation and column multiplication are not of great value here.
Till the 1980s, the best assistant of an engineer or a designer was a slide rule. This quite simple device allowed not only multiplying and dividing numbers but also performing rather complicated computations.
A manual how to use a slide rule was found at the Museum-Study of Bruno Pontecorvo. The device itself was, alas, lost.
However, we took pictures of electronic calculators, which replaced step by step slide rules in everyday use by the early 1980s.
Amazingly, two out of three devices still operate. Displays with green characters will immerse into nostalgia those who happened to use these calculators or the first personal computers.
By the way, have you ever calculated using a slide rule or such a calculator?
In the photo: A slide rule manual of Bruno Pontecorvo; objects from the JINR Museum of Science and Technology—electronic calculators “Toshiba”, “Elektronika” and “Hewlett-Packard”.