Friday, April 11, 2008

Errol Morris and the strange power of slo-mo. - By Ron Rosenbaum - Slate Magazine:

Did you know (I didn't until very recently) that slow motion was an invention—patented, in fact? Who knew time could be patented? Back in 1904, an Austrian priest-turned-physicist named August Musger obtained a patent for a process by which he modified film projectors to produce slo-mo on screen. The irony was that August Musger (named after the slowest month?) was slo-pay, too. He lost his patent in 1914 because he failed to pay the fees for its renewal on time.

My fantasy now is that Albert Einstein—working in the Swiss patent office in Bern in 1904, when Musger patented slo-mo in (relatively) nearby Austria—might have become aware of Musger's slow-motion patent (perhaps it even crossed his desk?) and that contemplation of slo-mo might have influenced Einstein's thinking about the nonabsoluteness, the relativity, of time.

3:59 PM