While digging outside of MIT.nano, a brand-new research facility slated to open in 2018, construction workers at MIT unearthed a surprise find: a high-tech time capsule, which was wedged into a pipe in the ground by the university’s 10th president, James R. Killian, and famous professor of electrical engineering Harold Edgerton.
The custom-built, airtight glass container was planted in 1957 to honor the building of the university’s brand-new Karl Taylor Compton Laboratories—a facility named after the prominent physicist, who served as MIT’s president before Killian. According to MIT News, it was filled with nostalgic items, including new coins, a Class of 1957 mug, and Compton's 1955 book A Scientist Speaks.
However, being MIT, this wasn’t your ordinary time capsule. To prevent decomposition, the capsule was filled with argon gas. A tiny amount of carbon-14 was also placed into the capsule, ensuring that future scientists could determine the exact year it was buried.
The capsule’s most unique feature might be its label, which tells finders not to open it until the year 2957–exactly 1000 years after it was first buried. The Boston Globe reports that MIT might re-bury it along with a new capsule when the MIT.nano building is finished. Learn more about the unexpected find in the video above, or visit the MIT News website for more information.
Photo courtesy of YouTube.