A $3,000,000 Projector?


Adler President Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., talks about the Adler’s Zeiss Mark VI projector in the Sky Theater, clarifying that it is not a simple “overhead projector,” which was brought out for comparison. (Jean Lachat/Sun-Times)

In Tuesday evenings Presidential debate, John McCain mentioned a word that always makes my ears perk up and pay attenion. What word is that? You guessed it. “Projector.” Projectors are our life here at Projector People, you know. Here is what Senator McCain said Tuesday :

[Obama] voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?

~ John McCain

We wanted to post about this yesterday, but our Panasonic PT-AE3000U demonstration kept us pretty busy. But in searching projector news today, we learned that we were not the only people with that $3,000,000 projector in our thoughts.

Fact checkers, news reporters, scientists, and people all over the web have researched the story and found out more than most folks care to know about the Adler Planetarium and it’s projector. We gathered a few links and quotes just for fun. We are the Projector People after all!

Don’t Mess with Scientists

One article (found on Yahoo! news) focused on the reaction from a few in the science community. It quotes Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log’s coverage listing a few responses:

Planetariums are Bridges to the Future, and America would be a much better place if all the congressional earmarks went to projects like them.

~ The Perfect Silence

“The logo for Senator John McCain’s campaign has a star in the middle. I wonder what his guide star is? It can’t be the same one that ten million children have seen at the Adler Planetarium. Why should anyone want their star to dim?” (Discovery Space) [ click for complete story ]

What’s a Sky Projector?

The Chicago Sun Times ran a story with a cool picture (see above). No video projectors are shown, but rather an old school overhead projector. It is not clear where Paul H. Knappenberger Jr., the Adler Planetarium president, found this relic. But it is does appear he may need more than just a new Sky Theater. [ read complete story ]

The official press release from Adler reads :

To clarify, the Adler Planetarium requested federal support — which was not funded — to replace the projector in its historic Sky Theater, the first planetarium theater in the Western Hemisphere…. To remain competitive and ensure national security, it is vital that we educate and inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Visit the Adler Planetaruim Online

I am sure traffic to the Adler Planetarium website is dramatically increasing these days. But if you have a little time and are interested in stars (not Hollywood kind), check out their website for more coverage of efforts to fund their new projector and planetarium.

More Links Covering the Three-Million Dollar Projector

There are, of course, hundreds of other bloggers and news outlets covering this story. Just for fun, here are a few more links, enjoy! :