AHTC 2012 Summer Institute
The History of Scientific Innovation and Computing in the United States
July 23-27, 2012
Web Resources
*PSD: Primary Source Documents
Website: Description:
General History of Science in America

American Science and Invention


This site offers some great videos about inventions, inventors, scientists, technology, and industry.  “Frontiers of the Future” is an example of a film made during the Great Depression in an attempt to calm people’s fears by showing how scientists are working to solve the problems of the universe.

“How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries”



“Adam Savage (from “Mythbusters”) walks through two spectacular examples of profound scientific discoveries that came from simple, creative methods anyone could have followed -- Eratosthenes' calculation of the Earth's circumference around 200 BC and Hippolyte Fizeau's measurement of the speed of light in 1849” (TED.com).

The Nature of Science: NSTA Position Statement


The National Science Teachers Association published this official position statement on the nature of science.  It includes the following statement, “The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts.”

Smithsonian Science: Science Spotlight

This site, published by the Smithsonian Institution, is an archive of videos and articles from May 2009-present.

Computers and Supercomputing

25 Years of Mac: From Boxy Beige to Silver Sleek

This 2008 article in Wired Magazine celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the Apple Macintosh with a full sized timeline of Apple products and several links to everything Mac.

Apple in Education: Thousands of Apps. Endless Potential


This site organizes educational apps for use in English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, history and geography, language development, art, music, creativity, reference, productivity, and collaboration.

The Apple Computer Network

This primary document from Jef Raskin (First Macintosh Designer) in 1979 states, “There are very few potential uses of the personal computer per se in the home at the present time….More to the point there are a number of easily foreseen potential uses for a network of personal computers.”

BBC Timeline: Bill Gates and Microsoft

This BBC site offers several links to the life and significance of Bill Gates and his vision of “a computer on every desk and in every home.”

The Computer History Museum (PSD*)

The Computer History Museum is located in California.  This website includes online exhibits about the history of computers and the Internet.  It offers over 100 lectures, historical videos, and oral histories focused on computer history on its YouTube channel.

Intel: Making Silicon Chips: The Surprising Process of Intel Technology

This site provides an overview and fun facts about how Intel makes integrated circuit chips in a modern “fab,” a building that has close to a million square feet of space.

Energy and Conservation




This site includes two images of the original document that made Yellowstone the first Federally protected national park by the Act of Congress.  It was signed into law on March 1, 1872.


Amory Lovins: A 40-Year Plan for Energy”


“In this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation. In his new book, "Reinventing Fire," Amory Lovins shares ingenious ideas for the next era of energy” (TED.com).

“Bill Gates on Energy: Innovating to Zero”



“At TED2010, Bill Gates unveils his vision for the world's energy future, describing the need for "miracles" to avoid planetary catastrophe and explaining why he's backing a dramatically different type of nuclear reactor. The necessary goal? Zero carbon emissions globally by 2050” (TED.com).

“Donald Sadoway: The Missing Link to Renewable Energy”

“What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage -- so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap” (TED.com).

The Evolution of the Conservation Movement: 1850-1920 (PSD*)


This site includes government documents, manuscripts, photographs and more from several divisions of the Library of Congress.  It also includes a special presentation on the “Chronology of Selected Events in the Development of the American Conservation Movement from 1847-1920.”

 A History of Energy and What Has Brought Us to the Green Solution


This site provides a timeline of the history of energy that was gathered from the Energy Information Administration (IEA).   “Records of humans using petroleum can be traced back as far as 300 B.C with the Mesopotamians…Understanding the long history of our use on non-renewable fuel sources is needed to give you a point of reference to discuss the emergence of green energy".

U.S. Department of Energy


This site provides users with an interactive renewable energy usage map of the United States as well as explanations of the different types of renewable energy.

U.S. Department of Energy: Office of Science


This site includes multiple links to stories of discovery and innovation that have occurred from March 2011-present.

U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (PSD*)


This site publishes the latest democratic and republican news as well as current legislation such as “S.2146, The Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012.”  It also allows users to research legislations according to month, year, bill type, issue, senator, state, or subcommittee.

History of NASA and Space Exploration

30th Anniversary of Apollo 11: 1969-1999 (PSD*)

This site celebrates the 30th anniversary of Apollo 11 with pictures, mission summaries, a transcript of Apollo 11 communications, and links to many other resources about the Apollo 11 mission.

Apollo Funding History: 1962-1973

This site provides the funding history of the Apollo program from 1962-1973.

Celebrating NASA’s 50th Anniversary

NASA’s 50th Anniversary website is an interactive timeline covering 5 decades of accomplishments, videos, music, interview, spacecraft. This is a great site for students to explore independently.

 “End of Shuttle Era Could Usher in New Space Age: NASA Chief”

This is an MSNBC report about the retirement of the space shuttle program.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is quote as saying, “I believe the best is yet to come.  Our bigger dreams are just stating to come to fruition.”

“The End Of The Space Shuttle Era”

This is an MSNBC report about the retirement of the space shuttle program.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is quote as saying, “I believe the best is yet to come.  Our bigger dreams are just stating to come to fruition.”

Imagine Mars Interdisciplinary Project

“The Imagine Mars Project is a hands-on, STEM-based project that asks students to work with NASA scientists and engineers to imagine and design a community on Mars, and then express their ideas through the arts and humanities, integrating 21st Century skills.”

John F. Kennedy’s “Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs, May 25, 1961”  (PSD*)

This site includes the transcript as well as an audio version of John F. Kennedy’s Speech to Congress.  In the speech Kennedy said, “First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

“John Nguyen: Tour the Solar System from Home”

“Jon began working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an academic part-time engineer in the Mars Science Laboratory project. He is now the principal architect and lead programmer for "Eyes on the Solar System” (TED.com).

“National Space Policy of the United States of America: June 28, 2010” (PSD*)

This provides access to the 14 page “National Space Policy of the United States of America.”  It includes principles, goals, and sections dedicated to “International cooperation,” “Preserving the Space Environment and the Responsible use of Space,” “Space Nuclear Power,”  as well as many other guidelines.

Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (PSD*)

This site provides a copy of the “Outer Space Treaty of 1967” which states, ”The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of the degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.”

“Report of the Preidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident” (PSD*)

This site includes links to all nine chapters from Volume I of the report.  There is only one link to Volume II and no links are provided to Volumes III-V at this time.

“Sarah Parcak: Archeology From Space”

“In this short talk, TED Fellow Sarah Parcak introduces the field of "space archeology" -- using satellite images to search for clues to the lost sites of past civilizations. Sarah Parcak uses satellite imagery to discover ancient, previously unknown archeological sites” (TED.com).

“Transcript of John Glenn’s Official Communication with the Command Center (1962)” (PSD*)

This site includes the pages of the official flight transcript of Glenn’s in-flight communication with Mission Control.  On February 20, 1962, Glenn conducted the first manned space orbit of the earth.

Inventors and Innovators

Alexander Graham Bell
“The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers: 1862-1939” (PSD*)

This site, published by the Library of Congress, contains 4,695 items including correspondence, scientific notebooks, journals, blueprints, articles, and photographs documenting Bell’s invention of the telephone.

Steve Jobs
“Steve Jobs: How to Live Before You Die”

“At his Stanford University commencement speech, Steve Jobs, CEO and co-founder of Apple and Pixar, urges us to pursue our dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks -- including death itself” (TED.com).

Steve Jobs
“E.O. Wilson: Advice to Young Scientists”


“Previewing his upcoming book, he gives advice collected from a lifetime of experience -- reminding us that wonder and creativity are the center of the scientific life” (TED.com).

Thomas Alva Edison
“Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Picture and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies” (PSD*)

In his lifetime, Thomas Alva Edison patented 1,093 inventions.  This site, published by the Library of Congress, features 341 motion pictures, 81 disc sound recordings, photographs, and original magazine articles.

Thomas Alva Edison


On January 27, 1880, Thomas Edison received the patent for his incandescent lamp.  This site includes two images of the original patent.

The Wright Brothers

This site, published by the Library of Congress, includes about 10,121 library items or approximately 49,084 digital images that document the work which led to the “world’s first powered, controlled and sustained flight.”

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

“Just How Small is an Atom?”


“Just how small are atoms? Really, really, really small. This fast-paced animation from TED-Ed uses metaphors (imagine a blueberry the size of a football stadium!) to give a visceral sense of just how small atoms are. Lesson by Jon Bergmann, animation by Cognitive Media.  Jon Bergmann co-wrote the book on the "flipped classroom" -- using video to help students master new ideas outside the traditional class setting” (TED.com).

“Nathan Wolfe: What’s Left to Explore?”


“We've been to the moon, we've mapped the continents, we've even been to the deepest point in the ocean -- twice. What's left for the next generation to explore? Biologist and explorer Nathan Wolfe suggests this answer: Almost everything. And we can start, he says, with the world of the unseeably small.  Armed with blood samples, high-tech tools and a small army of fieldworkers, Nathan Wolfe hopes to re-invent pandemic control -- and reveal hidden secrets of the planet's dominant lifeform: the virus” (TED.com).

National Science Foundation: Nanoscience


This National Science Foundation site provides users with background knowledge about nanoscience, how it’s used, and what is means to society.  It also includes a long list of recent nanoscience discoveries.

Northwestern University: Discover Nano


This is an interactive website developed by Northwestern University that focuses on the applications of nanotechnology is areas of security, medicine, energy, and the environment.

Robots and Drones

“Ken Goldberg: 4 Lessons From Robots About Being Human”


“The more that robots ingrain themselves into our everyday lives, the more we're forced to examine ourselves as people. At TEDxBerkeley, Ken Goldberg shares four very human lessons that he's learned from working with robots. Ken Goldberg works reflect the intersection of robotics, social media, and art” (TED.com).

“Regina Dugan: From Mach-20 Glider to Humming Bird Drone”


"’What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?’ asks Regina Dugan, then director of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. In this breathtaking talk she describes some of the extraordinary projects -- a robotic hummingbird, a prosthetic arm controlled by thought, and, well, the internet -- that her agency has created by not worrying that they might fail” (TED.com).

“Vijay Kumar: Robots That Fly…and Cooperate”


“In his lab at Penn, Vijay Kumar and his team build flying quadrotors, small, agile robots that swarm, sense each other, and form ad hoc teams -- for construction, surveying disasters and far more. At the University of Pennsylvania, Vijay Kumar studies the control and coordination of multi-robot formations” (TED.com).

History of NASA & Space Exploration