October 2009 Archives

Excel for Engineers

Next week I'm teaching a workshop called Excel for Engineers and Scientists. I taught a similar workshop at the instructor's request for a Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering class last winter, and have been eager to try it again as an open workshop. I'll be teaching primarily about using Visual Basic for Applications to interact with Excel.

In the BBE class, I showed them how to solve a particular watershed problem from their homework. I could use more good engineering examples. If you've got one, or if you've got suggestions about what engineers should know about using Excel, I'd love to hear from you. Email me, or leave a comment.

Academic Bread and Butter

If you are a graduate student or a faculty member, research is likely your primary focus. But you know that to continue to do the research you love, you need to develop two important skills: getting grants and publishing the results of your research.

Next week, librarians at Walter Library will be offering two workshops designed for graduate students and early-career faculty:

  • Monday, 10/19 (1:30-2:30) Getting Published: How to Publish Your Science Research Article will help you identify journals to consider when submitting your article and discuss how to manage your rights when signing a contract with a publisher.
  • Tuesday, 10/20 (3:00-4:15) Grant Funding - Search Tools and Resources introduces you to searching for grant opportunities with IRIS, SPIN, and Community of Science and the Foundation Directory. You'll learn to set up email updates on specific subjects, as well as find out about internal U of M funding sources.

We hope to record these sessions. If you can't attend, check our Tutorials and Recorded Workshops page next week. If we're successful, you'll see these workshops on that page by the end of next week.

Aerospace Artistic Endeavors


One bright side of our recent cold, rainy weather: When I walk to the West Bank, I get to take a look at how different groups on campus express themselves. Every year, groups can sign up for a panel along the Washington Ave Bridge shelter's inside walls. This year's AIAA entry caught my eye--especially the disclaimer at the bottom.


The Aerospace majors of my era weren't known for our artistic ability, either, but a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of a classmate's flash of inspiration. My niece must have dug pretty deep when raiding her dad's closet, and came up with an AIAA t-shirt I'd given him in about 1985. My friend Nick put together the design--younger readers need to understand that this was back in the Bloom County days, when Opus was funny. The design got a lot of traction on campus, probably the first AIAA shirt to sell widely outside of the AEM department.

No, we didn't get into copyright trouble. As I recall, we were just naive enough to worry more about what Burt Rutan would think of another shirt that featured the Rutan Voyager than about Berke Breathed.