Tag Archives: labs

I’ve been thinking a lot about the variety of authors we have at Engineer Blogs. We have a mix of  academic and industry engineers and each arena provides its own challenges and goals. But one major thing we have in common is probably getting the test equipment you need. In the photo, USN avionics technician Norton is repairing a test bench (via Morning Calm News). Test equipment can kind of run our lives and our schedules if we aren’t careful. Academics are probably familiar with scheduling time at strange hours and working around the other researchers and students who might need to share the same equipment. Those of us in industry have similar issues with whose project takes priority for the EMI chamber or the oven. Does heat treating a production piece after a weld take priority over an emergency investigation of a material that might be failing at lower…

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Lately, I’ve been discussing a lot about proposals (see here and here) and some work outside of academia but I’ve only briefly touched on the some of the other aspects of being a professor. Presently, I’m finishing up a young investigator proposal which is due shortly and consuming most of my time (hence my lack of posts at GEARS). Well, the fall semester starts at the end of August so as soon as I’m done with this proposal, I’ll have to focus more on teaching preparation. Luckily, at SnowU, I only have to teach one class in the fall and one in the spring. Unluckily, however, my first class will be a senior comprehensive lab-project course. In addition to a class full of seniors, there are usually about 10 graduate students who take it who did not go through UG at SnowU. Now, many new profs negotiate to have their first semester off from…

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              Last week, Miss Outlier’s contribution to the cross-disciplinary work theme discussed how she doesn’t believe in the modeling approach to engineering.  Given simulation work is my bread and butter, I felt the need to respond at length to her post.  However, I’ve already discussed many of the issues on my own blog.  I’ve talked about how people who don’t believe in modeling often don’t understand validation, how one needs to understand the limitations of modeling, and also why I find modeling fun.  As I’ve addressed most of the main points, you might think I have nothing left to say. However, I could not let this comment pass: Where is the enjoyment when you spend all the day in front of the computer? No wonder the stereotype is that the programmers running the algorithms are anti-social  – if I spent my whole career interacting…

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A profesor I once knew began a conversation with, “What classes are you taking this semester?” I responded, “I’m taking a class on teaching, a-” “Teaching?! Why are you taking a class on teaching? You don’t need a class to learn how to teach. You just do it.” The irony of this is that this professor was considered one of the worst teachers in the whole department. Chris’ post on a ‘tinkering class’ got me thinking (again) about what is really a good way to educate people.  And despite some of the comments on Reddit, Chris is actually on the right track for some of the more current thinking on approaches to STEM education. So what do you want from someone educated in a STEM field?  Obviously they have to have a certain amount of background knowledge, they need to have problem solving skills, they need to be inquisitive and…

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