This image continually spreads across social media with the claim that the photo shows scientists at NASA during the 1960’s, “before PowerPoint”.
In fact the incredibly popular yet often inaccurate Twitter account “Historical Pics” tweeted out the image to their [at the time of writing] 6.27 million Twitter followers, as you can see below.
Despite the claim this is a photo from NASA in the 60’s, it isn’t. In fact according to the source of the image – which appears to be a LIFE picture collection where the photos are now owned by Getty – the images were taken in 1957, a full year before NASA was formed.
According to the Getty caption, the scientists were “working out” satellite orbits at System Labs in California. We use quotation marks because the photo was actually staged – a number of other photos were available with the same scientists posing.
Additionally a collection of photos hosted on Google show in more detail how the photo came to be.
So the claim by “Historical Pics” among others that the photo shows scientists from NASA in the 1960’s is not accurate. We’re also not sure why many captions include the claim the photo was taken “before PowerPoint”. PowerPoint is a slideshow based software made solely for creating presentations, and would not be relevant to any of the mathematical/equation based work the scientists are pictured doing on this chalkboard.
Those who follow Twitter accounts like “Historical Pics” (@HistoricalPics) should perhaps take what they post (nay, tweet) with a little pinch of salt since this is far from the first time this account has tweeted misleading photos. It appears the admin of the account don’t “fact check” their photos before posting. For example only days before posting this inaccurate chalkboard photo, they also posted a photo of President JFK “moments before he was shot” – the photo was actually taken 3 years before he was shot, when JFK was still a senator.