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Museum of Science and Industry Cornerstone
Museum of Science and Industry Cornerstone
Resource Typeimage
TitleMuseum of Science and Industry Cornerstone
Coverage / Year1952
DescriptionDuplicates of physically of biologically "alive" experiments in tubes laid in the Museum of Science and Industry's Cornerstone in 1952. Specifically, these tubes contain: slow crystallization, lotus seeds, parasite eggs, hydrogen and oxygen, viruses, lead diffusion, bacteria, aluminum alloys, molds, proteins, thermostatic clock, metal and quartz. SLOW CRYSTALLIZATION: These silver tubes contain the materials albite, anorthite, and zoiste, which crystallize very slowly from the water contained with them in the tube. The crystals formed in this way will be compared with crystals formed more rapidly at higher temperatures from solutions of the same chemical composition. LOTUS SEEDS: These seeds are the seeds of the double pink lotus, Nelebium roseum plenum. They are very durable seeds and will be planted after the cornerstone is opened to determine whether the seeds are still living at that time. PARASITE EGGS: These tubes contain the eggs of the parasite, Ascaris suis, a roundworm found in the intestinal tract of pigs. The eggs are very resistant and are being tested to see whether they will survive and grow when the cornerstone is reopened. HYDROGEN PLUS OXYGEN: These bulbs contain a mixture of dry gases- hydrogen and oxygen in the exact proportions to form water 2H2+O2+2H2O. If the gases react to form water, they will probably react with explosive violence. For this reason, the bulbs are protected from each other and the rest of the contents of the box. VIRUSES: These tubes each contain more than one trillion viruses of the type T 6 L+. The viruses in some of the tubes have radioactive carbon in them instead of ordinary carbon. The number of viruses surviving for 100 years will be measured in each case. DIFFUSION IN LEAD: This tube contains a cylinder of ordinary lead with an infinitesimal layer of radioactive lead on the surface. The atomic movement of the radioactive lead atoms causes them to diffuse slowly through out the crystal. The extent of this motion will be measured by cutting the crystal into thin slices and measuring the radioactivity of each instrument. BACTERIA: These tubes contain three varieties of poisonous bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, and Clostridium botulinum. Clostridium botulinum is the bacterium that causes fatal food poisoning. After 100 years, the bacteria will be treated to establish whether any type has survived. AGE HARDENING ALLOY: This is a standard test specimen of modern age-hardening aluminum alloy. The properties of this alloy change over a period of years. A tensile stress-strain curve will be measured after the box is opened and compared with the present curve. MOLDS: These vials contain several important varieties of agriculturally and industrially important molds, including the mold that produces penicillin. When the cornerstone is reopened, these molds will be tested to determine if they are still alive and capable of production. PROTEINS: These vials contain samples of some of the biologically active proteins, such as Insulin, ACTH, and many others. After 100 years, these proteins will be examined to find if they still possess the same biological activity. THERMOSTATIC CLOCK: This clock is constructed to register once the mercury level falls to 20 degrees Fahrenheit and will not count again until the temperature has risen to 85 degrees and again fallen to 20 degrees. It will register once each winter and count the number of years that have passed since the laying of the cornerstone. FATIGUE IN METAL AND QUARTZ: An apparatus designed to test the permanent bone and elasticity of quartz and a metal alloy, elgiloy, is included. Weights are suspended from small rods of each substance.
InterpretationThese glass tubes consist of physically or biologically "alive" experiments such as viruses and biologically active proteins. While traditional cornerstones are laid when buildings are constructed and contain mementos of the past, the Museum of Science and Industry's stone was laid in 1952, approximately fifty years after the building opened, and was dedicated to the future. When the cornerstone is opened in 2052, the material within will be tested to help confirm or disprove various scientific theories.
Lesson Plans / ThemesHow we learn about communities;
Learning Standards16 History; 10-12 Science; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorMuseum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Ill.)
SourceMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Accession file #1991.2
Subject / KeywordsCornerstones; Time capsules; Scientific experiments; Viruses; Bacteria; Chemistry; Physics;
Collection PublisherMuseum of Science and Industry, Chicago;
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See http://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/tdc for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statementhttp://images.library.uiuc.edu/projects/tdc/conditions.htm
Resource Identifier1991.2
CONTENTdm file name51526151982002_CORNERST.jpg
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