Slip Slidin' Away

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I never had a slide rule of my own, but my father taught me how to use his, and I recall using it in high school, which was right around the time the first electronic calculators came out--you know, the ones that would simply add, subtract, multiply, and divide (no memory function, even), and cost something like $100 apiece.

Quote from: mystictechgal on March 27, 2013,  3:45:57 PM

We took one in and showed the teens at the zoo how to use it, once, pointing out that this was what was used to get us to the moon and back. They were duly impressed and spent a couple of hours trying to decipher its workings with the help of the manual.

One of my favorite scenes in Apollo 13 (a movie I love, and not simply because I remember the actual events) is when all the NASA geeks whip out their slide rules.  Ah, different times!  I'm afraid that, in many ways, our technology (and I'm including Velcro right there along with computers) is making us more ignorant.

I have my grandfather's, which I treasure, but have no idea how to use it.

I have one, and I have used it, but only for the simple functions. I took my HS math in the early '90s, so calculators were available.

When I was in 9th grade, long after calculators were available, we had to learn to use slide rules competently in science class before we were allowed to move on to calculators.  I thought it was fun.

I think there's still one at my parents' house that I failed to return to a high school science class.  That was years after calculators were commonplace, but I had one crusty old teacher who allowed only slide rules or pencil and paper.  I should retrieve it and bust it out sometime when I'm teaching. 

You should have heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth a year or two ago when I gave an exam with one or two problems involving easy arithmetic and declared that calculators were not needed or permitted.


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