Countdown: a journey throught history in the world of electronics


‘To many this may seem a pointless journey. Do we not already live in the world of electronics? In the last few years, electronics have heavily entered all the sectors of human activity, deeply changing our way of living, working and communicating… There is also a kind of electronics which we do not know, although it is very important for our everyday life: we should find out what lies behind a pleasant train journey or a simple phone call. Indeed, the sectors and the applications which require the greatest commitment of creative human resources, of economic resources and of labour, are the most unknown to the public at large: they are the ones which guarantee the safety of all the most usual services in our society, and which seem to be having very little to do with electronics… Microelectronics has already been defined as the “second industrial revolution”, because “it multiplies the potential of the human brain in the same way as the first industrial revolution multiplied muscular force ” (Sidney Webb in Busines Week of 5/7/76). Too often though, the consequences of this revolution are presented to us, even by the experts, only in superficially positive terms, if not triumphalistic. Information technology is regarded as a synonym for progress, in the same way as schools regard science: and therefore as the only effective solution to the problems of men. Information technology is associated with a hope that it cannot possibly have within itself. We need to disintoxicate ourselves. Very well, we are therefore going to take you to a journey inside a fascinating world, that of the infinitely small and infinitely big …a journey through the resources of man: imagination, genius, skill, curiosity, love for the truth, industriousness and desire to imitate created reality. Why a journey through history? Because that is the way to tackle this complex reality which corresponds more to the human dimension. Did you know that the telegraph was born before the battery?; and the cathode ray tube before the light bulb?; and that the punched cards had already been used for over a century for the control of weaving looms, before becoming famous with the advent of mechanographic machines first and calculators later?… After a right and proper homage to the “founders”, that is to the physicists of electromagnetism (from Volta to Maxwell), the exhibition will take us through the history of the telegraph and of the telephone, the adventure of Marconi and the radio, the history of television and of calculators, to our days, that is to the new revolution of microelectro-nics and the advent of microprocessors, which are ten years old this year. And given that our intent is not merely historical, we will not just display some documents, but we will get visitors to touch exhibits with their own hands, in order to experience all the steps taken … The exhibition includes some experiments which each visitor can repeat and which are the historical reconstructions of particularly significant experiments, illustrating the fundamental concepts of present techniques.’


21 Agosto 1982 - 29 Agosto 1982


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions