National Geographic : 1986 Nov
On Assignment SOR ADVENTUROUS HISTORIANS, technology has always been the handmaiden of new ideas. The oldest existing terrestrial globe (top), designed by Mar tin Behaim in Niirnberg, Germany, and made in 1492 even as Columbus was sailing across the Atlantic, was a marvel of its time-although it displayed a round world a quarter too small. To show the area from Eu rope to Asia in one flat view, GEOGRAPHIC cartographer Richard IC Rogers (right)and his staff reproduced gores of a facsimile made in 1908 and pasted them on the inside half of a globe. A fish-eye lens provided the unique 1800 view on pages 563-5. It was another bit of a technological array that had been brought to bear on the mystery of the true Colum bus landfall. Marc Auslander (below, at right), an IBM research scientist and a sailor like Luis Marden, left, applied his superb programming skills to an IBM personal computer to check the Marden transatlantic track. Marden himself had supplemented his wife Ethel's trigonometric calculations with two small navi gation computers, a Tamaya NC-77 and NC-88. But the highest technology was provided by Control Data Corporation. CarlaRyti and ScottDevitt (lower right)were members of a team that developed the Co lumbus Research Tool, or CRT. An interactive system employing CDC's powerful Cyber 170/865 computer and a Ramtek color monitor, it enabled researchers to enter courses and distances from Columbus's log and PHOTOGRAPHSBYJOSEPHD. AVENBURG,NGS(ABOVE), STEVENZERBY(BELOW), AND NICKKELSH sail on their screen voyages through the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands-a tool, like the Behaim globe of 500 years ago, for searching after truth.