Blackboards were wiped after use: they were meant for immediate communication, not for record. Even as they were being used, their messages were continuously revised, erased and renewed. But when Einstein came to Oxford in 1931, he was already an international celebrity. After one of his lectures a blackboard was preserved and has become a kind of relic. It is the most famous object in this Museum.
This exhibition marks the centenary of the Special Theory of Relativity by inviting a number of well-known people in Britain today to chalk on blackboards the same size as Einstein’s. All these guest blackboards have been prepared in the early months of 2005. The result is an exhibition about science, art, celebrity and nostalgia. The blackboard is fast disappearing from meetings, classes and lectures: ‘bye-bye blackboard’.