Montana State University

MSU displays rare books, top-selling computer through summer

June 18, 2007 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN -- An exhibit that celebrates 400 years of science and includes rare books from the 17th and 18th centuries and a best-selling computer will be displayed through the summer at Montana State University.

The display, titled "From Bacon to Bits: 400 Years of Science," includes a first edition book by Francis Bacon, second edition books by Charles Darwin and John Locke, and a book published in 1726 by Isaac Newton. Also displayed are the issue of "Nature" that announced the molecular structure of DNA and a Commodore 64 Computer. The Guinness Book of World Records called the computer the best-selling single personal computer model of all time, with 17 to 22 million sold world-wide.

The exhibit arrived compliments of George Keremedjiev, director of the American Computer Museum in Bozeman. The display is located in Wilson Hall, in the northwest corner of the first floor. Visitors are welcome any time the building is open, generally from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

"Finding the books (especially before the advent of the Internet) was both a pleasurable and challenging undertaking as these important books are collected by serious book lovers worldwide who move very quickly to acquire a volume as soon as it becomes available," Keremedjiev said. "Most probably the highlight of the collection for me was going page by page through Isaac Newton's ‛Principia,' knowing that others before me leafed through the same book with the same awe as I experienced.

"To hold in one's hands a book that transformed the understanding of gravity and to know that just a few hundred of this edition were printed is a truly joyous experience for me," Keremedjiev said.

The display is located in a new exhibit space that will eventually include a plasma TV screen. The area used to be a lobby that housed vending machines. Future displays will feature MSU research, as well as rotating displays from the American Computer Museum on the history of technology and science.

"It's a marvelous resource for faculty and students," said George Tuthill, interim dean of the College of Letters and Science.

Keremedjiev said, "Wilson Hall and the space where the display is located are at the heart of the academic intersections for the various core requirements. The location exposes students studying mathematics, history, philosophy, religion, etc. to some of the very books they would cover in their studies."

The exhibit area was developed by the American Computer Museum, the MSU College of Letters and Science and the MSU Department of History.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or evelynb@montana.edu