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Re: Who needs scientific calculators now?

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>We went to the moon & back with slide rules & adding machines; I 
>resisted RPN for 20 years.
Not entirely. I worked on some of the original man-in-space projects as a 
co-op starting in 1959. NASA Marshall and its predecessor agency had a 
fair number of computers. Not much interactive graphics though--I spent a 
lot of time plotting results from wind tunnel tests and theoretical 
analyses. And what we called 'paliminating'--using a planimeter to run 
around plotted curves to integrate pressure and force distribution. The 
desk calculators of the day (Monroes, which were fast by fragile, 
Marchants which were rock solid but slow and Fridens, which would render 
a drum cadence when dividing 1111111111 into 3311331133) could do all the 
usual arithmetic operations, and some Friden calculators could do square 
roots. You needed a slide rule or a set of log tables for stuff like 
isentropic flow relationships.

The first real computer I ever saw was a Bendix model with a green 
crinkle finish about the size of a large refrigerator at the Marshall 
wind tunnel facility. The programmer and I worked together to 
back-calculate the size of a hole in a pressure compartment of a 
sattelite using the telemetered pressure decay. Only took her a couple of 
days to program it. 

Christopher Wright P.E.    |"They couldn't hit an elephant at
chrisw(--nospam--at)        | this distance"   (last words of Gen.
___________________________| John Sedgwick, Spotsylvania 1864)

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