OOPSLA 2008Our Logo

At OOPSLA 2007 in Montreal, the conference chair for 2008 explained how the logo for 2008 came to be. This is what she said.

I could tell you about the plans already underway for next year. I could tell you about the dates to send in your submissions. I could tell you about how great it will be to have OOPSLA in Nashville. Instead, let me tell you about the 2008 logo.

Argent (white), a mullet Gules, and on the mullet 5 pallets moline argent, one bar moline argent.

which roughly means

"a red star on a white field, the star having 5 white vertical lines that do not reach the edge and one white horizontal line that does not reach the edge."

OK... I admit it ... I don't really know heraldry, but it was fun to try to come up with something. Now "Where did this come from?" you ask.

Map of USA with Tennessee highlighted

In 1796 Tennessee became the 16th state of the of the Union. The name of Tennessee comes from the Cherokee name Tanasai, which was a Village in the area. Within the next century, Tennessee transformed from a trading post, frequented by Mountain Men exploring the fur trades, to a thriving Educational and Commerce center. In the 1840's educator Philip Lindsay thought that Nashville should encourage the ideals of Classical Greek education, such as Philosophy and Latin, and be known as the Athens of the West.

By the 1850’s, Nashville had earned the nickname “Athens of the South” by having established numerous higher education institutions as well as being the first Southern City to establish a public school system. By the end of the century, Nashville would see Fisk University, Montgomery Bell Academy, Meharry Medical College, and Vanderbilt University all open their doors.

At the time Nashville was known to be one of the most refined and educated cities of the south, filled with wealth and culture. It had several theatres as well as plenty of elegant accommodations. Nashville was a vibrant expanding town, but that would all come to a complete halt with the civil war beginning in 1861; it would devastate Nashville and it’s residents until it ended in 1865.

Following the civil war Nashville would begin it’s rebuilding and growth once again with the completion of Jubilee Hall in 1876, General Hospital in 1890, The Union Gospel Tabernacle in 1892, a new state prison in 1898, and finally the Union Station opening in 1900.

Map of USA with Tennessee highlighted In 1895 Tennessee searched for a way to commemorate its upcoming 100-year anniversary and decided on a Centennial Exposition in Nashville, the capital. The plans included constructing an exact replica of the Parthenon of Athens Greece, 26 other buildings followed including the Memphis Pyramid, Negro Building, Cuban Building, Knights of Pythias building and many others. With the time constraints of having to complete the Exposition grounds by 1896, all of the Buildings were constructed using materials that would only survive through the duration of the Exposition.

Within two yeas of the close of the Centennial Exposition, all of the buildings had been torn down with the exception of three, The Parthenon, The Alabama Building and the Knights of Pythias building. When it came time to remove the Parthenon, there was such a revolt in Nashville, that the demolition was halted. The Parthenon replica, built with its temporary materials, lasted for 23 years.

During the 1920's, because of the popularity of the structure, the city of Nashville replaced the plaster, wood and brick building using permanent materials; and that version still stands today.

Where would mathematics and science be without the great greek philosophers: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and so many others? Computer Science is built on their foundations. It seems particularly fitting that the OOPSLA 2008 logo simultaneously incorporate the history of Nashville and the history of science!

I invite you to explore new ideas during the coming year and share them in discourse in Nashville at OOPSLA 2008.