View Full Version : Magnet Laboratory, A (1959)

2010-Oct-17, 08:58 PM
This is described well enough on the page.

A Magnet Laboratory. (1959) (http://www.archive.org/details/magnet_laboratory_1959)

In the hands of another director, the inner-workings of a magnet laboratory could have caused a whole classroom to fall asleep of boredom. No so when Leacock was hired to produce this twenty-minute version of lab mayhem. Try this: six researchers in a lab at MIT in the late 1950's show-off the power of electro-magnets, and in the process, accidentally set an experiment on fire. Or this: half way through the film the phone rings off screen, and host Francis Bitter says "tell 'em I'll call 'em back later" while he's looking at the camera, discussing bus bars. Leacock’s fleshed out all the personalities here, from "Beans" Bardo, who cranks up the generator to nearly explosive proportions, to the mysterious Mr. Lin, who barely peeks over his shoulder at us, seemingly in mockery, disdain, or curiosity. Bitter is an important historical figure, whose degaussing techniques spared many an allied vessel from destruction by magnetic underwater mines during WWII. The generator shown was from Pittsbugh's street car system, relocated to MIT for use in Bitter's lab. This film is from the landmark Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) series of films. Produced by Kevin Smith and Dr. Jerrold Zacharias.

I would have loved to watch something like this in school. I would have made me want to do stuff like this sooner. It is a great work of art and a love of a mag lab.

EDIT: hate to double post but this is another awesome one

Frames of Reference (1960) (http://www.archive.org/details/frames_of_reference)

This PSSC film utilizes a fascinating set consisting of a rotating table and furniture occupying surprisingly unpredictable spots within the viewing area. The fine cinematography by Abraham Morochnik, and funny narration by University of Toronto professors Donald Ivey and Patterson Hume is a wonderful example of the fun a creative team of filmmakers can have with a subject that other, less imaginative types might find pedestrian.
Not as funny as the other. But a lot of great info.