Thursday, October 23, 2008


Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
Modeling the unknown: how to make a perfect whale

Michael Rossia,

aProgram in Science, Technology and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, E51-185 Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Available online 5 June 2008.

This article is not included in your organization's subscription. However, you may be able to access this article under your organization's agreement with Elsevier.
Making a life-sized model of a blue whale is difficult. Making one to the exacting standards of ‘scientific accuracy’ is backbreaking. When, in the early 1960s, the American Museum of Natural History in New York undertook to fabricate a replica of the largest animal that ever lived, little was known about how blue whales really looked and behaved in the wild. Exhibitors like Richard Van Gelder guided themselves by old photographs, illustrations, tables of measurements and the experience of other institutions – as well as their own educated guesswork, and ideas of beauty, value and pride.

Article Outline
Jaw dropping
Scientific accuracy
The problem with whales
Looking for inspiration, hoping for accuracy
The biggest whale model in the world
Raising the whale

Figure 1. The American Museum of Natural History's blue whale – the ‘jewel in the museum's crown’ – just before the opening of the renovated Hall of Ocean Life in 1969. An unknown observer stands beneath the whale. © American Museum of Natural History.


Figure 2. Leaping Laelaps painted by Charles R. Knight in 1897 for the American Museum of Natural History.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
St. Augustine, Florida, United States
I spill ink ,it collects here.