I was just answering the feedback from Protons for Breakfast this weekend when I reached for my calculator to work out the skin depth of microwaves in a steel plate.
And all of a sudden I realised just how long I had had this calculator by my side. I recall buying it in Lewis’s Department store in Manchester in the summer of 1978, with my first girlfriend Janice PIlling at my side. As I recall, it cost £28. It was just few weeks before I headed off to university, and she persuaded me to buy the fx120 with 10 digits of resolution rather than a cheaper version which cost a few pounds less. I thought about all the calculations this calculator had helped me with – in laboratory classes, projects, exams, my PhD and beyond – and how I had eventually come to understand all the buttons on the front – even the mysterious [HYP] button.
And in that moment I was filled with admiration for the engineers who created this device. It has suffered all kinds of spills and knocks throughout the years, and it still works perfectly. Indeed, it is possibly the best value object I have ever purchased.