Secret Lives: Jonathan Langberg

Professor Langberg in his workshop

Kay Hinton

Day Job: Professor of medicine, School of Medicine; director of cardiac electrophysiology for Emory Healthcare

Secret Life: Clock and watchmaker

Jonathan Langberg collects discarded machinery such as old printers, phones, and stereos and repurposes their parts to create what he calls “functional art”—namely clocks and wristwatches that are fashioned from pocket watches. Langberg’s mother was an artist and his father an engineer; he says he has been making things his whole life. He dabbled in sculpture, but was drawn to the functionality of artistic timepieces, like his “eclipse clock” that produces a mechanical mini-eclipse every twenty seconds when the spinning moon passes between the decorative metal sun and a small light bulb. Langberg’s work can be found at a local art gallery near Emory, but he confesses that he and his wife, Jill Prigerson Langberg 79C, keep a number of his timepieces.

His Words: “I spend an hour or two a night working on these, but I find it very relaxing. It’s like solving a puzzle. That’s the fun part, figuring out how to take what you have, which might look like old junk, and turn it into something interesting and beautiful and useful. I guess it was a natural interest because I listen to heart rhythms all day and work with electricity  .  .  . rhythm and timing is a big part of my day job.”

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