07. 27. 2006
Slocum puzzle exhibit opens next week
This week Margaret Wertheim from the NYT ran a great piece on all kinds of ancient and modern puzzles. Mr. Jerry Slocum is donating his 30,000 piece personal collection of amusements and diversions to Indiana Universityís Lilly Library in Bloomington, IN. Slocum is a former aerospace engineer, and his penchant for tactile mechanical problems turned into almost 70 years of collecting.
Slocumís life collection of puzzles includes gimmick drinking cups from the 10th century, an original autographed Rubik's cube, ancient Chinese ivory puzzles, and Japanese wooden puzzle boxes made by modern masters. One such puzzle box requires knowledge of astronomy; the box will only unlock when an internal compass signals that the star constellation on top has been properly aligned. In a word: invigorating!
With all the video games and rap music kids play and listen to these days, itís easy to imagine these hands-on physics wonders disappearing, and Iím glad that one man would spend years collecting and cataloguing them. If anyone lives near Bloomington I would love to see some photos of the Lilly exhibit when it opens next week.