After four decades in Snygg Hall, Kenneth Hyde, distinguished teaching professor of chemistry, traded in his course notes for a hammer and level. Retiring after a 43-year career in the classroom, he has a new avocation: fixing up an old camp on the south shore of Skaneateles Lake, where he and his wife will spend time in retirement.
Try an at-home science project. The Discovery Center at the Museum of Science, Boston, has many activities to choose from, including copter engineering, bridge building and paper recycling. Visit mos.org/discoverycenter/aotm for ideas.
Take a “tech walk” around your home or school. Make a list of everything that is engineered by humans. Make another list of things that are not (Hint: there won’t be many).
Watch TV. Well, particularly shows that have an element of engineering, like Design Squad Nation on PBS. The hosts work with kids on an entertaining variety of challenges.
Visit pbs.org/designsquad for details.
SOURCE: Museum of Science, Boston
Ed. Note: In January, at a session titled “In Search of TV’s Next Big Thing” at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show, Peter Bocko ’75 and four other industry executives debated trends in hardware, software and the sociology of future TV. Here, Pete shares some highlights of their discussion.
Are there big differences between brands of flat panel display?
I prefer the efficiency and look of LCD over plasma displays especially in normal room lighting. Among LCDs, there is little on-screen difference between TV brands when watching conventional HDTV. Specs, although improving continually, are past the point of diminishing returns. A 1,000,000-to-1 dynamic contrast ratio may be important to video engineers skulking in a dark room filled with $200,000 worth of measurement equipment but not to the normal consumer.
Today, one should buy a 120- or 240-hertz LED backlit LCD (LED makes a big difference in color reproduction and motion rendering). Focus on your personal preferences for the “look” of the TV picture, ease of use of the remote and overall set style. Many showrooms have their LCDs set to “showroom mode” in which the picture is amped up. Ask the salesperson to set it back to “normal viewing” to see what it will look like in your living room. If the salesperson doesn’t know what you are talking about, buy your TV elsewhere.
In terms of style trends, check out the new slim “borderless” designs in which an additional piece of glass protects the screen and creates a futuristic look. I think we have come a long way from the days where the TV set is a living room eyesore.
What is the status of 3-D TV?
Although strides have been made, 3-D technology is still in its infancy and many may find themselves disappointed by the lack of quality content. Bad 3-D is worse than no 3-D: Poorly rendered 3-D sometimes makes people (including me) queasy. Gamers get value out of 3-D TV now; a compelling 3-D experience requires both advanced 3-D TV technologies and improved 3-D video production.
What is Internet TV?
This is the most compelling trend in TV today. Some new flat screen TVs allow transparent access to online content and social networking. A modern Internet-enabled TV is potentially never obsolete, because its onboard software can be updated with new capabilities. The cable box will become a thing of the past as content will be highly personalized and increasingly from “the cloud”. Viewers will be accessing “their TV” anywhere — not just their living room — using a variety of portable devices that fit with their lifestyle.
But Internet TV also creates the potential for your TV to be watching you. Imagine your TV processing and collecting information from your Web browsing and viewing history to customize what commercials are directed to you when watching “free” content. Won’t that be just a little creepy?
What comes next? Will the Web beam TV directly to your brain?
I was asked a number of years ago whether “retinal injection” of images might obsolete the need for big screen TV. I thought then and still believe, new technologies notwithstanding, TV is still fundamentally a social activity. New gadgets and content are important but secondary to the fact that we mostly watch video with friends and family. It is not what we watch so much as with whom we watch that makes the experience enjoyable. All my HDTV big screens and surround sound still cannot improve upon watching Planet of the Apes on an 11-inch B&W Emerson TV in my Riggs Hall dorm room late one Friday night in 1973 with my roommate Lynn Stone ’75.
— Peter Bocko ’75
With sharpened focus on the cutting edge of science, technology, engineeringand math, SUNY Oswego leaders broke ground on a campus-transforming, $118 million build Sept. 17.
Rita Irwin ’77 calls her coworkers her family. Never mind that some of them have flippers.
An $86,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will provide SUNY Oswego meteorology faculty member Scott Steiger ’99 and his students the tools to chase the most intense snowstorms and collect first-of-its-kind data.
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission has awarded a SUNY Oswego conservation geneticist a $62,822 grant to study small, bottom-dwelling Lake Ontario fish called deepwater sculpin — once thought extinct there.
SUNY Oswego’s will receive a $200,000 grant to study the status of women faculty in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, disciplines at the college.
Thinking outside the box helped David Troilo ’80 create an interdisciplinary major that combined his interest in psychology with animal behavior and neuroscience. The freedom Oswego gave him to create his own course of study allowed him to go on to graduate study and a successful career in developmental visual neuroscience.
Noah Clay ’97 is a guy who likes to put things into simple terms. You might say he likes to cut things down to size – both in terms of his work and his nature.