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Stories of Technology

Series produced by William S. Hammack

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A series of 200+ commentaries on technology and engineering

In 200+ commentaries Bill Hammack explored the technological world. The series was best described by Science magazine:

"Bill Hammack can rhapsodize over the clever design of a soda can or a Scotch tape dispenser. Every week he explores the genesis of ordinary things such as superglue, contact lenses, the Internet, matches, and even SPAM, the canned meat. His light, often humorous essays also provide insight into the cultural forces that speed or hamper the acceptance of new products and the inventors? often unexpected sources of inspiration.? [Science May 17, 2002 p. 1207]

He's revealed the secrets of his high-tech underwear, explored the mysteries of mood rings, probed the perils of nanotechnology, and examined the threats to privacy from technology. Bill's work reflects a humanistic approach: He emphasizes the human dimension to technology - from the trial, tribulations, and triumphs of inventors and scientists to the effect of technology on our daily lives. The commentaries explore the role and ramifications of science and technology within the broader society, and also emphasize the creative aspects of being an engineer. These have appears - in various forms on Marketplace, Illinois Public Radio, and Radio National Australia's Science Show. All were originally produced and broadcast by WILL-AM 580 Urbana, Illinois. They were produced between August 1999 and August 2005.

The series received many journalism, scientific and engineering organizations have recognized his work. He's received the top awards in science journalism: The National Association of Science Writers Science in Society Award, the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, and the American Chemical Society's Grady-Stack Medal. [See http://www.engineerguy.com/biosheet/awardlist.htm]
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*Currently just about 150are on PRX of the commentaries are available, but at 2010 unfolds about 100 more will be commentaries will be listed on PRX.

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In 200+ commentaries Bill Hammack explored the technological world. The series was best described by Science magazine:"Bill Hammack can rhapsodize over the clever design of a soda can or a Scotch tape dispenser. Every week he explores the genesis of ordinary things such as superglue, contact lenses, the Internet, matches, and even SPAM, the canned meat. His light, often humorous essays also provide insight into the cultural forces that speed or hamper the acceptance of new products and the inventors? often unexpected sources of inspiration.? [Science May 17, 2002 p. 1207]He's revealed the secrets of his high-tech underwear, explored the mysteries of mood rings, probed the perils of nanotechnology, and examined the threats to privacy from technology. Bill's work reflects a humanistic... Show full description


143 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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Adam Osborne marketed the first successful a compact computer: A 24-pound portable computer!

Bought by Prairie Public


  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:43
  • Purchases: 1
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A pothole is a uniquely American phenomenon. Drive the highways of South Africa, Germany or France and you'll find few ruts and divots. Why pothole...

Bought by Delta College Public Radio, KFAI, and KFAI


  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:47
  • Purchases: 3
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But information, of course, isn't knowledge ... and therein lies Google great success.

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:47
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With the Concorde soon to stop flying, an era of air transport has come to an end. Unknown to most people the era ending is the 1950s, and the Conc...

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:51
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Jack Kilby invented the microchip, and thus, indirectly, helped me to learn to dance.

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:15
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While VOIP is popular it is a difficult problem to make it work with 9-1-1.

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:44
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Most power plants waste much energy because they are so inefficient. Moving them closer to where their power is used would waste much less energy

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:21
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The Firefox browser represents the pinnacle of open source software, this commentary explains the open source movement.

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:27
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We owe a major step in the eradication of polio, and a host of other diseases, to one unsung person. I'd say hero, but this person never knew what ...

Bought by KUOW and WAMC


  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:27
  • Purchases: 2
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Making ice cream is a tricky business - its a careful mixture of air bubbles, globes of oil and ice crystals suspended in water.

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:28
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Every breath a SCUBA diving takes is due to Jacques Cousteau. We think of him as just a television showman of sorts, yet he was a real innovator i...

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:37
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Duct tape is a pop icon of the technological world - but only in America. It's sold in other countries, but no where else does it have this reputat...

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:43
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The reason we stand in our basements and do laundry is a complex mix of scientific facts, technological innovation, and worry about class and statu...

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:41
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Energy from the wind is renewable and pollutes very little, yet the wind supplies only a small percent of the United States electricity. Why?

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:51
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The microwave oven came directly from World War II technology: The Radar.

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:43
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The iPod threatens the free flow of intellectual property

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:34
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The introducation of technology has not reduced the amount of time spent on housework.

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:18
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Moore's Law postulates that computing power will double every 18 months, what if it fails?

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:25
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The story of Richard Feynman who physics revealed a new world

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:56
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The story of John von Neumann whose work laid the foundations for digital computing

  • Added: Nov 02, 2009
  • Length: 02:53