College to host screening of new Steinmetz documentary

Publication Date

Union will host a screening of the new documentary, “Divine Discontent: Charles Proteus Steinmetz,” at 6 p.m. Wednesday May 7, in the auditorium of the Reamer Campus Center.

Hosted by Robert Altman, president and CEO of WMHT, the screening is free and open to the public.

The documentary premiered May 1 on WMHT, the PBS member station for the Capital Region.

Last fall, independent producers Paul Frederick and Bruce Carlin visited campus as part of their research to tell the story of Steinmetz, “a man small in stature, but massive in intellect and accomplishment.”

John Spinelli, the Horace E. Dodge III Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Ellen Fladger, the recently retired head of Special Collections, are featured in the documentary.

The one-hour film is narrated by award-winning actress Kate Mulgrew.

An engineer who stressed the importance of basic science and classical study, Steinmetz (1865-1923) taught electrical engineering and applied physics at Union. Also chief consulting engineer for the General Electric Company, he was widely regarded as America’s leading electrical engineer.

Each spring, the Steinmetz Symposium showcases undergraduate research at Union. Classes are canceled to allow parents, faculty, staff and students to sample projects from every discipline, including hundreds of oral presentations and poster presentations. This year’s symposium is Friday, May 9. To learn more, click here.

Also, to help celebrate Steinmetz’s 149th birthday, the College last month unveiled a permanent display in the first-floor corridor between the Wold Center and F.W. Olin building for a top-of-the-line 1914 “Duplex Drive Brougham” Detroit Electric automobile once owned by the great inventor.

Found rotting in a Glenville field 40 years after Steinmetz’s death in 1923, the car was purchased by the College in 1971. For the next 10 years, it was painstakingly restored by Union faculty and engineering students.

The vehicle is used sparingly for campus ceremonies, including Commencement.