UTexas: Engineering Career Podcasts

Posted on September 25, 2006  Comments (0)

Introducing the Engineering Career Assistance Center Podcast

The University of Texas at Austin “ECAC provides resources for students ranging from resume tips, job counseling, workshops, internship and externship programs, and yearly career fairs.” I’m not sure why they require iTunes but that is the choice they made. It would seem better to me to make things available in formats that don’t require one particular player.

externs.com (affiliated with this blog) offers a directory of externships and internships. It is completely free: add your internship openings or search for opportunities. We will be making an effort to increase the science and engineering related opportunities. Please add your internship positions.

Japan Project X: Innovators Documentaries

Posted on September 24, 2006  Comments (2)

Project X is a popular Japanese TV documentary that examines historically successful companies and the engineers that made them successful – and more.

Japan in stew over recalls:

Perhaps only in Japan could a television series like Project X have become one of the most popular TV shows. No, it isn’t a science fiction thriller. It’s about product quality.

More specifically, it’s about a bunch of corporate engineers who invented the handheld calculators and ink-jet printers that helped turn this nation into an industrial powerhouse.

MIT Sloan Japan club on Project X

Searching on the web I see that Japanese embassies have made them available overseas but I can’t find them online. I did find this list of the episodes: Project X: Innovators. Maybe Japan will copy a recent move by the White House and post the videos online.

Related: Recalls at Toyota and SonyGoogle Tech Webcasts

New NRC Report on k-8 Science Education in the USA

Posted on September 23, 2006  Comments (0)

Major Changes Needed To Boost K-8 Science Achievement according to a report from the National Research Council (NRC):

First, students should know, use, and interpret scientific explanations of the natural world. Second, they should be able to generate and evaluate scientific evidence and explanations. Third, they should understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge. And finally, students’ work should include active participation in scientific collaboration and discussion. All K-8 education should offer students opportunities to engage in the four strands of science proficiency.

Related: posts on k-12 science and engineering educationReport Calls for Improvement in K-8 Science Education
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Math for America

Posted on September 23, 2006  Comments (0)

Math for America is an organization focused on improving math education in the USA. They offer Newton Fellowships for those who would like to become math teachers in New York City (for 180 individuals between 2004 and 2008). They plan to expand the program to other cities in the future. Aplications are due by 9 February, 2007.

Putting his Money Where His Math is by Joshua Roebke:

Nearly 40 percent of all public high school math teachers do not have a degree in math or a related field. Even the best curriculum in the world, the reasoning goes, isn’t going to inspire students if unqualified individuals are teaching them. (In a recent round of testing, the U.S. placed 24th out of 29 nations in math proficiency.)

The fellowships above aim to encourage those with math, and related, degrees to teach math.

Related: The Economic Benefits of MathMath and Science Challenges for the USAExcellence in K-12 Mathematics and Science TeachingMath and Science Teacher ShortageThe man who saved geometryPoincaré Conjecture

2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge

Posted on September 22, 2006  Comments (0)

da Vinci Vitruvian Man image

2006 Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge Winners

the contest recognizes outstanding achievement in the use of visual media to promote understanding of research results and scientific phenomena. The judges’ criteria for evaluating the entries included visual impact, innovation and accuracy, among others.

Winning entries communicate information about complex mathematical concepts, the intricacies of the human body, air-flight patterns, the latest scientific imaging technologies to analyze Leonardo da Vinci’s art, and more.

Read more

China Invests More in Science and Engineering

Posted on September 22, 2006  Comments (1)

China to invest 6 bln yuan in scientific infrastructure

The Chinese central government will invest at least 6 billion yuan (750 million U.S. dollars) in major scientific infrastructure projects in the next five years.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced Thursday that the 12 major projects include an accelerator-based neutron source, a large area space telescope, marine research vessels, a space remote sensing system and other key projects.

The NDRC will invest a further 5 billion yuan (625 million U.S. dollars) in the third phase of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ (CAS) innovation project, building or upgrading 50 national engineering institutes and 100 national labs, and supporting 300 national authorized enterprise tech centers.

Related: Chinese Engineering Innovation PlanChina’s Economic Science ExperimentChina and USA Basic Science ResearchDiplomacy and Science ResearchChina Builds a Better Internet

Protein Knots

Posted on September 22, 2006  Comments (2)

graphic of human ubiquitin hydrolase

Knotty problem puzzles protein researchers by Anne Trafton:

Knots are rare in proteins–less than 1 percent of all proteins have any knots, and most are fairly simple. The researchers analyzed 32,853 proteins, using a computational technique never before applied to proteins at this scale.

Of those that had knots, all were enzymes. Most had a simple three-crossing, or trefoil knot, a few had four crossings, and the most complicated, a five-crossing knot, was initially found in only one protein–ubiquitin hydrolase.

That complex knot may hold some protective value for ubiquitin hydrolase, whose function is to rescue other proteins from being destroyed–a dangerous job.

Photo: MIT researchers recently found that human ubiquitin hydrolase, shown here, has the most complicated knot ever observed in a protein. The simplified diagram, inset, shows the knot in the protein, which crosses itself five times. Larger image.

Purdue Graduate Fellows Teach Middle School Science

Posted on September 22, 2006  Comments (0)

Purdue to break ground on teaching center for improving science and .

The $10 million Discovery Learning Center, slated for completion in 2008, will focus on teaching techniques and environments conducive to learning. Also a focal point will be the way people learn best. An emphasis will be placed on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, also known as the STEM disciplines.

Wilella Burgess, managing director of the Discovery Learning Center, said projects like GK12 help make science seem more reachable for students in the primary grades.

“A lot of these kids don’t know there is such a thing as graduate school and it lets them meet scientists and grad students and learn that they’re not all weird, nerdy people,” she said. “It also lets classroom teachers have the access to cutting edge research.”

The Purdue Discovery Learning Center Gk-12 program brings graduate students to middle schools. Graduate “fellows will develop lesson plans and teach interdisciplinary-focused experiments geared toward science in everyday life.”

Related: Middle School EngineersEngineering Projects in Community ServiceK-12 Engineering Education Grant for PurdueScience Opportunities for StudentsNSF Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education

Yale to Provide Videos of Courses Online

Posted on September 21, 2006  Comments (1)

Yale to Make Select Courses Available on the Internet

Yale University is producing digital videos of selected undergraduate courses that it will make available for free on the Internet through a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Open Educational Resources Video Lecture Project has received $755,000 for an 18-month pilot phase. The project will create multidimensional packages—including full transcripts in several languages, syllabi, and other course materials—for seven courses and design a web interface for these materials, to be launched in the fall of 2007. If the venture proves successful, Yale hopes to significantly expand its online offerings over the next few years. The new venture joins a growing number of university-based initiatives that use the Internet to make educational materials widely available.

Good news. I hope, and expect that, they will do a better job with the web usability of their offering than others providing educational material online have recently.

Related: Open Educational Resources (OER) from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation – Open Course Ware from JapanOpen Access LegislationBerkeley and MIT courses online

Sports Science Open Access Journal

Posted on September 21, 2006  Comments (0)

Sport Science is a Peer-Reviewed Site for Sport Research (open access). An interesting recent publication: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Rowing Faster by Stephen Seiler:

Improvements in rowing technique have increased boat speed by reducing boat yaw, pitch and roll, and by improving the pattern of force application. New tools for real-time measurement and feedback of boat kinematics and force patterns are opening new approaches to training of individual rowers and to selection of rowers for team boats.

They also moderate a email list with items of interest including academic positions in areas such as: Mechanical Engineering, focusing on Biomechanics; Sports Physiologist; Exercise and Sport Science.

Related: Blog posts on open access sciencesports engineering and science posts

How Does a Missile Turns in Flight?

Posted on September 21, 2006  Comments (0)

An interesting and detailed explanation of the dynamics of missile flight: Missile Control Systems:

In order to turn the missile during flight, at least one set of aerodynamic surfaces is designed to rotate about a center pivot point. In so doing, the angle of attack of the fin is changed so that the lift force acting on it changes. The changes in the direction and magnitude of the forces acting on the missile cause it to move in a different direction and allow the vehicle to maneuver along its path and guide itself towards its intended target.