|UBC's copy, or at least the copy in my hands, comes from the library of Dr. J. S. Milsum, who seems like an interesting guy in his own right.|
Given a choice of which numbers of The Engineer and Engineering I was going to epitomise last week, I ended up choosing the ones that didn't have reviews of James, Nicholls and Philips, Theory of Servomechanisms (Internet archive entry), which came out, as Number 25 in the Radar Handbook series from the MIT Radiation Laboratory, in June of 1948. It's in the 18 June issue of Engineering, which means that it's not up as a pdf yet at Grace's Guide, so you'll have to trust me that it's quite a nice notice.
You will have noted that all three of the British technical periodicals I follow, have notices about the upcoming summer schools on the theory of servomechanisms, to be held around the North. (No comment needed.) It has now been a year since the Institution of Electrical Engineers' special session on a"automatic regulators and servo mechanisms," which was held in May of 1947. As far as I can put a finger on it, it would be the publication of the proceedings of that conference in the Journal of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, as much as anything, that inspired the summer schools. These are huge developments in the history of information technology; the problem is that our received history of same is so shallow and episodic, that I might be the lone voice in the wilderness of history of science who is even aware that the conference happened. I don't blame the profession. It's just too small to cover this enormous subject. I do blame the people making policy based on bad history, but I say that every week, and I haven't changed the world yet.
Also to be caught up on here are the intersection of race and natural disaster at Vanport, Washington, and the Berlin Blockade. The latter is pretty closely connected to the history of servomechanisms via the problems of air navigation, while the former . . . is not.
|Black soldiers on flood control at Vanport, 1948, from the files of the Oregon History Project|