Odds and quads

A Brown University chemistry class from the 1870s poses for a photograph on the steps of Rogers Hall (now the Salomon Center) as a professor, John Appleton, appears to watch current students leaving the 150-year-old building after a morning class.

July 26, 2012

The other compound image shows two astronomers and their instruments in the Ladd Observatory, separated by a gap of more than a century. Frederick Slocum, who worked there in the early 20th century, used a spectroscope attached to the main telescope to observe the spectral lines of distant stars with the naked eye.

Today, however, curator Michael Umbricht relies on a nitrogen spectrum discharge tube to calibrate a spectrograph through a digital computer interface.

Both photographs form part of a larger series, recently created by Mike Cohea, multimedia producer at Brown, to reveal the changes and continuities in teaching, research and student life witnessed at the Ivy League institution in Rhode Island over the generations.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz @tsleducation.com.

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