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Exploring Dr. McOuat's office

Dr. Gordon McOuat is a professor at King’s. His office often inspires envy and admiration from passers-by. He gave The Watch a tour of his office, explaining some of the room’s most interesting items.

Photo: Evan McIntyre

1. Dr. Gordon McOuat is a professor at King’s. He co-founded the History of Science and Technology Programme and teaches in the Contemporary Sciences Programme. Also, his office often inspires envy and admiration from passers-by. He gave The Watch a tour of his office, explaining some of the room’s most interesting items.
2. Skulls “One of the areas of my expertise is the rise of idealistic morphology in the 19th century. This one is a very expensive anatomical skull. I measure them and the students get to measure their own heads compared to ideal forms and stuff like that.
3. Metropolis Bobble Head – “It was given to me by Melanie Frappier, because she knows I teach Metropolis (a film) in varous classes, but also the situating science cluster.”
“We in conjunction with the Halifax Independant Filmmakers Festival showed Metropolis with a live orchestra. It was spectacular and it started a whole series of events where we work with filmmakers and artists to combine the study of science and technology along with aesthetic engagements.”
4. Theremin – “The theremin was developed by a Russian engineer to create a totally new electronic instrument that had no mechanical parts.”
“I’m trying to link it up to detect if there’s students in the room in case I’m ignoring them.”
5. Galilean Telescope – “It’s a replication that I use in my History of Science classes to show that what Galileo claims he saw with his telescope actually requires a whole lot of tacit knowledge to see what he was seeing.”
“Galileo, when he pointed his telescope to the heavens, made a bunch of claims about the orbiting of planets and the nature of the moon. He was training his audience to look at a new type of technology to be able to see what the world was like.”
6. Pasteur’s Experiment – “This is used in my Contemporary Studies Class, it’s Louis Pasteur’s famous crucial experiment on spontaneous generation. It was a debate over if spontaneous generation was possible, if life came from non life.”
“To create this elongated swan neck glass, it was blown for me by the Dalhousie gass blower. When we redo the experiement in class and we find it very hard to replicate.”
7. Stillman Drake’s Chair – “That chair is the chair that was owned by the greatest Galileo Scholar that ever lived, named Stillman Drake. That was sent to me by somebody who inherited it because they thought it would be great for the History of Science program to have Stillman Drake’s chair. I feel inspiration in it every once in a while.”
“The wearing (on the arm rests) was probably him picking at it while thinking about Galileo.”

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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