Thursday, November 16, 2023

PSSC Film Archive posted on Reddit

In retirement, I find moments of serendipity from time to time. While meandering the Interwebz looking for the source material used in a lesson on electric field lines, I came across a Reddit post by user SchoggiToeff. They compiled a list of films produced for the Physical Sciences Study Committee (PSSC) in the Cold War era that have survived through to the Age of YouTube (and The Internet Archive).

The Physical Science Study Committee (PSSC) Films are a set of 53 films made in the late 1950 early 1960 for US high school physics. The films are also referenced in the Berkeley Physics Course, of which the 2nd book is the well renowned Electricity and Magnetism by Edward M. Purcell.

While dated, the films are still educational and can bring some insight in various physical observations and phenomena. I personally like the Frames of Reference film.

Unfortunately I could not find all of the films, thus the gaps. If you know other ones, please leave a comment. On the Internet Archive one can also find Italian dubbed versions. [u/SchoggiToeff on Reddit r/Physics.]
Impressive work! And a great way to while away an afternoon, checking out these old classics. Clips from many of these were restored and digitized around 1990 and released as Ztek's Physics: Cinema Classics (P:CC). P:CC included clips from a host of other sources, too. It appears that project has gone dormant. I had P:CC on LaserDisc, and then on DVD, when I was still in the classroom.

Here's one of the classic treasures you can find on the Reddit list. A popular favorite among physics instructors of a certain age.

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