Occupation Science writer
1 Career 2 Awards 3 References 4 External links
Waldemar (Bernhard) Kaempffert was born and raised in New York City.
He received his Bachelor of Science from the City College of New York
in 1897. Thereafter, he was employed by Scientific American, first as
a translator (1897–1900), then as managing editor (1900–1916). He
also wrote articles about science for other publications during this
time, including three articles for Harper's, beginning in 1908. In
1916, he started working as the editor of Popular Science Monthly.
In 1922, he began writing essays about science for The New York Times,
where he was named Editor of Science and Engineering in 1927. During
the 1920s, he also wrote free-lance magazine articles. in a June 1924
essay for Forum magazine, "The Social Destiny of Radio," he addressed
a non-technical audience, discussing where radio had been and how it
was changing American life.
In 1928, following a nationwide search for a director, the Museum of
Science and Industry Chicago asked Kaempffert to become its first
director. He enthusiastically devoted himself to the work of laying
out the history of the sciences and of the industries. He encouraged
his curators and exhibit designers to base their exhibits on careful
research in order to be as objectively truthful as possible. This
devotion to objectivity, however, led to disputes with the board of
directors, especially around the appointment of George Ranney, who was
also a director of International Harvester. This appointment created
an apparent conflict of interest in the museum, as International
Harvester was contributing to an exhibit on farm tractors that claimed
that an IH predecessor company was responsible for the invention of
the tractor. Research by both Kaempffert and his staff showed
otherwise, but he could not antagonize donors to the museum nor his
board of directors.
The board also found issue with Kaempffert's cost accounting. The
board, all business executives, kept careful track of every dollar
spent. Kaempffert, however, was more lax in his accounting. No
wrongdoing was alleged, but the board wanted greater oversight. To
achieve that, the board created a new layer of management, "assistant
directors," who reported not only to Kaempffert but also directly to
the Board. It was this usurpation of Kaempffert's authority that led
him to ask
The New York Times
^ George "Foster Peabody Awards Board Members". Peabody Awards. ^ Berger, Arthur S. (1988). Lives and Letters in American Parapsychology: A Biographical History, 1850-1897. McFarland. p. 212. ISBN 0-89950-345-4 ^ Misiroglu, Gina. (2009). American Countercultures: An Encyclopedia of Nonconformists, Alternative Lifestyles, and Radical Ideas in U.S. History. Routledge. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-7656-8060-0 ^ Hickey, Walt (2017-03-21). "A Mistranslated Word Led To Some Of The Best Fake News Of The 20th Century". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
"The A.B.C. of radio: The underlying principles of wireless telephony
in simple language" 1922 by Waldemar Kaempffert
Cattel, Jaques (ed.) "Kaempffert, Waldemar Bernhard" American Men of
Science: A Biographical Directory, 9th ed., vol. 1, Physical Sciences.
Lancaster, PA: The Science Press, 1955.
Kaempffert, Waldemar. "The Social Destiny of Radio" Forum, vol. 71,
#6, pp. 764–769.
WorldCat Identities VIAF: 30536676 LCCN: n84803786 ISNI: 0000 0001 0884 3211 SUDOC: 087285