Sunday, April 22, 2012

1923. F.V. Coville interviewed on the radio

When Clark first responded to Walcott’s request to contact the radio station, he still believed—along with many scientists of his day—that science could best gain publicity through printed media. After giving one radio talk, however, an October 19, 1923, presentation about the Smithsonian Institution itself, Clark realized that broadcasting offered another route. “We have been advised that your talk was received with much interest by your unseen auditors,” the station manager reported. Clark quickly brokered a talk by ethnologist J. Walter Fewkes for October 22 and arranged talks by six other local scientists that fall, including F. V. Coville’s description of the National Herbarium and Charles G. Abbot’s discussion of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. These talks elicited many favorable comments from listeners, and the scientists often heard from neighbors and friends who had caught a broadcast. Fewkes forwarded his fan letters to the station manager, saying that “I think it proves without question the desirability of using the wonderful instrument for broadcasting scientific knowledge.”


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