[time-nuts] 1968 Scientific American Magazine: Cesium ClockStandards

Jim Lux jimlux at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 10 10:07:08 EST 2014

On 12/10/14, 6:31 AM, Alan Melia wrote:
> Hi Dave, as a long time reader (since 1955) and subscriber I remember
> the Amateur scientist pages ending in the 1980s. I think the contributer
> retired. At around that time I think the many adherents formed the
> Society of Amateur Scientists. Though I have not visited fot several
> years the web site was www.sas.org  and I believe had pdfs of old SciAm
> Amateur Scientist articles.

Wikipedia probably has a page with the history
Started with Ingalls and telescope making kinds of things.

C.L. "Red" Stong ran the Amateur Scientist for many years and the 
projects ranged from mundane "A detailed survey of pond life" to exotic: 
  "How an ambitious amateur splits atoms"

We tend to remember the exotic: potential drop linear accelerators 
(which got Science First started in business, as it happens), HeNe, CO2, 
and N2 lasers, zinc sulfur propellant amateur rockets, etc.

There were less exciting ones: an early one about operational amplifiers 
using some of the first hybrid microcircuit amps.

Jearl Walker picked it up when Stong died, and the format changed a bit 
to be more "accessible" and more about everyday phenomena. For instance, 
the column on why honey makes the patterns it does as it drips down in a 
stream.  Less reporting on "ambitious amateur does X" and more "you can 
do Y".

Then there was the Forrest Mims saga, although I don't recall seeing 
many of Mims's columns, but he had written a lot of electronics 
experimenting books for Radio Shack and so forth, so it was very hands 
on practical.  But Mims's anti-evolution stance caused a bit of heartburn.

Somewhere at the end they got hooked up with Shawn(sp?) Carlson of the 
society for amateur scientists (http://www.sas.org/) who had a very 
successful run in the C.L.Stong vein. around year 2000 or so. I'm sure 
Carlson's efforts were helped by not needing an income for a few years 
after getting a MacArthur fellowship.  The SAS seemed like a tough way 
to make a living.

  Then the magazine changed editorial approach in general.

More information about the time-nuts mailing list