August 14, 2013

How About Center of Engineering Quadrangle For Monument to Inventor of Air Conditioner?

To the Editor:

Good people receive the Nobel Prize. How about engineers?

During the recent unpleasant heat, only our home air-conditioner saved us! Let’s build a monument to the AC inventor — in the center of the Princeton University Engineering Quadrangle!

The pedestal to be white marble — with a bronze statue at each of its four corners. At one corner, a prehistoric man would be chipping away at a block of stone — to make it round — inventing the wheel. At another corner, a historic woman would hold pieces of wire to form a safety pin. At the next corner would sit Edison with a light bulb in his hand. At the last corner would be Steve Jobs with an iPhone and iPad in his hands!

Above the pedestal would be the principal bronze monument — on an ice cream cone (lightly inscribed “Thomas Sweets”, if that store contributes to the cost of the monument), depicted as an early 20th century engineer, holding his hand on a box with a grill in front, out of which comes a stream of air with great noise (the way they originally were).

Out of the ice cream cone reach several hands attempting to tear that engineer down: one is the hand of the physicist who discovered that expanding air cools off. The second hand belongs to the first inventor of a laboratory cooling apparatus to study cryogenics, the science of deep cold. The third hand belongs to the engineer who invented the railroad AC, permitting cooled transport of fruit and meats, doing away with all dry-goods stores and bringing healthy food to the cities – saving millions of lives.

And the Latin inscription:

“Fortuna Ex Inventio Surget”

This should become the motto for the whole engineering department, guiding students aspiring to obtain their own monument — at least to sit at the corner of one!

Helmut Schwab,

Westcott Road


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