Who's who from The Simpsons

Who has time to pleasure read during the semester? Especially the one we just completed, you know--the one that went by so quickly! But, during the long break between semesters, you might have a chance to read a bestseller or two.
The book chosen for this past fall’s Science Libraries Book Discussion is a quick read: What’s Science Ever Done for Us? What The Simpsons Can Teach Us about Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe by Paul Halpern. The Engineering & Science Library has a copy on our book shelves under this number: Q162 .H3154 2007.

And, even if you don’t read the book, you can try your hand at matching the person (real or fictional) to the quote:
Quotes from the Halpern book.

Trivia: Carnegie Mellon was mentioned by name in an episode of The Simpsons. If you can't find out which one, contact your friendly research librarian!

Do you have a book suggestion for the Engineering & Science Library? Go to our home page: search.library.cmu.edu. Click on “Frequently Asked Questions” and then arrow down under “CAMEO library catalog FAQ” to find the last question, “Can I ask you to buy a book?”

Or simply send any of the Engineering Research Specialists an email with your suggestion.

Happy Holidays and have a safe and happy break!


Chemical prices

This posting is geared toward Chemical Engineering students who will use ICIS Chemical Business to view historical chemical prices. The “student page” is currently still available.

To go to the direct link: historical chemical prices.
August 2006 prices are the last listed.

If you would like to log-in to ICIS chemical business in order to search ICIS articles, please email us at Science Libraries for the User Name and Password.

Like many of my librarian colleagues, I want to be able to “have an answer” for students looking for chemical pricing information. The one company that has provided this is ICIS—the replacement for Chemical Market Reporter.

Randy Reichardt, Research and Services Librarian, from the Science and Technology Library at the University of Alberta has been on the case to keep ICIS aware of this need. Recently, H. Stephen McMinn, Science and Technology Librarian from Iowa State University referred to Randy’s work in his SciTech Library Question post from “Re-Engineering Libraries”.


Academic OneFile

Usually when we recommend databases for engineering related topics, we point to the Engineering Index: Compendex or one of the many others from the Engineering link under our Databases by Subject listing.

However, have you looked at some of our more “Interdisciplinary” or general databases when doing research on your topic?

For a list of all our databases, go to our home page and click on “Articles & Databases.” Try a search in Academic OneFile. The opening page displays these tabs: “What’s New” “Global Warming” “Stem Cell Research” and “Animal Rights”—some hot research topics. Articles under “Global Warming”are from journals such as: Journal of Power Sources, Applied Energy, Bioresource Technology, and Chemical Engineering Journal. Notice that these are technology related titles!

But, here’s an even greater reason to search Academic OneFile--the cool new feature is the audio that is now included in all the articles. Have the article read TO you! Check it out for yourself!

I recently did a search in Academic OneFile by keyword for: H1N1. Results included some recently published information on the topic, including a full-text review article from the Annals of Thoracic Medicine 4.4 (Oct-Dec 2009): “The novel influenza A (H1N1) virus pandemic: An update.”

While I am on the topic of the flu, for a “Situation Update” on H1N1, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—the CDC H1N1 flu site.

One more related source to look at. Have you seen Google Flu Trends? Google makes efforts to predict an increase in the number of seasonal flu cases before the CDC can put out their updates. Go Google!

During this flu season, even an Engineering Librarian can give out this advice: WASH your hands OFTEN!


NCBI's Bookshelf

Looking for more biomedical books than what we have in our collection here at Carnegie Mellon? NCBI—National Center for Biotechnology Information provides the NCBI Bookshelf.

An example online title available via the Bookshelf is the 2nd edition of The Cell: A Molecular Approach by Geoffrey M. Cooper. (The Engineering and Science Library has the 1st edition.)

Check out NCBI's website for more classic biology and medical titles and to search the collection; as well as, to take a look at the other resources they have to offer via their powerful search engine.


Knovel University Challenge

Attention all CIT students!
Take a minute next week (starting on 9/14) to answer 3 questions by participating in the Knovel University Challenge contest.
Win prizes! Help Carnegie Mellon get rewarded for 100 correct entries or more:

About the Contest

Carnegie Mellon subscribes to the Knovel database. Perhaps you will find it of research value to you! Use it as a tool to increase your productivity. Our subscription includes 1,700+ full-text handbooks and technical references.

Go to our home page: search.library.cmu.edu. Click on Articles & Databases. Then, click on Databases A-Z. Then, click on K to get to the Knovel link.

Read about how engineers have solved problems on Knovel’s “Solution Stories” page:


Popcorn and also book discussion

The ACS (American Chemical Society) just came out with this headline:
“Whole grain cereals, popcorn rich in antioxidants, not just fiber; new research concludes.”

Read the news release at EurekAlert!

By the way, Carnegie Mellon subscribes to ACS Publications.
Go to the library's home page, then click on Articles & Databases. Then click on Databases A-Z. Your last click will be on the link: ACS Publications - eJournal Collection. Enjoy browsing journals of research interest.

So, if you want to snack while you are reading, go ahead and grab that bag of popcorn or whole grain Quaker Life cereal and snack on some antioxidants.

Looking for something to read this weekend before classes start?
How about our taking a look at What’s Science Ever Done for Us? What The Simpsons Can Teach Us about Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe by Paul Halpern.

Too late to get a copy of the book? For a preview, go to Google Books

Then, I’ll see you Thursday August 27 between 4:30pm-5:30pm in the Peace Garden outside of Hunt Library. If it is raining, let’s meet inside Hunt Library near the Maggie Murph CafĂ©.

(popcorn bag clipart courtesy: http://www.clipartguide.com)


Peregrines and Library Tours

Welcome incoming students!

Here’s another invitation to participate in Library tours of Hunt Library and/or the Engineering and Science Library on Friday Aug. 21. Tours will begin at 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm.

(Peregrine image courtesy: http://animal.x0.com/)

Anyone interested in a brief overview is welcome to join us.--Meet at Hunt Library in front of the reference desk or come directly to the Engineering and Science Library at the times given. We are eager to show you around.

Did you see me yesterday stopping sidewalk traffic along The Mall?
Yes, that was me, Donna Beck, your enthused Engineering Librarian escorting a group of first-years from Hunt Library to the Engineering & Science Library in Wean Hall. We were walking along past Baker/Porter Hall. As I was speaking to the students about their “Playfair” and hot, humid move-in day experiences, I heard the distinct rasping call of the peregrine falcon.
I stopped everyone and pointed up to the roof top of Porter so that we could all admire it.

Look up! Give your eyes a break from your computer screens! Peregrine falcons, as well as, red-tailed hawks are often seen on and around campus, especially on Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park, along Frew Street. Find out more about them at the wonderful Pittsburgh blog called “Outside My Window” published by Kate St. John of her view outside WQED office window.

By the way, for those of you new to Pittsburgh, WQED Multimedia includes WQED-TV and the all-classical radio station, WQED-FM.

Wishing you the best of luck as you begin your experiences at Carnegie Mellon!


The Library and the Summer Engineering Experience for Girls

A great program designed to help junior high girls learn about and explore careers in the field of Engineering is offered by our CIT College for 2 weeks each summer in July. This year it was held from July 13 through July 24. Twenty-three girls from local schools were selected to attend. Each applicant demonstrated an interest and aptitude in math and science skills and came with a eager interest in learning about different forms of energy and how engineers create alternative and environmentally-friendly sources of energy that protect the environment.

The goal of the program is to provide opportunities to learn about efficient sources of energy through classroom lecture, laboratory hands-on activities and through conducting research in an energy source of interest. At the end of the program each girl presents her research through a presentation format. The participants have the chance to work with engineers from all different areas in engineering, including chemical, civil and environmental, mechanical, and electrical and computer engineering.

The library faculty joined in the activities by presenting strategies for conducting research and in assisting the girls in packaging their research findings. It was a great adventure for CMU faculty and for the girls. Engineering is fun!


Announcing the 3rd Science Libraries Book Discussion

Here’s another one to consider for your summer reading:
What's Science Ever Done For Us: What the Simpsons Can Teach Us About Physics, Robots, Life, and the Universe
by Paul Halpern. You can get a copy for around six bucks thru Amazon.com. Or, if not checked out, you can borrow our Engineering & Science Library’s copy. Find it on our book shelves under this number: Q162 .H3154.

DISCUSSION date and place will be announced on this blog. I’m thinking Thursday Aug. 27 at 4:30pm. Does that give you enough time to read it? Let me know: Donna Beck, Engineering Librarian.


What are you reading this summer?

Have you read this?

Better late than never—for a summary of our 2nd Science Libraries book discussion, held Feb. 19, 2009 in the Engineering & Science Library. Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling was written by Carnegie Mellon Prof. Jay D. Aronson.
Prof. Aronson graciously came to the second half of our discussion.

If you haven’t read the book yet, why not take it to the beach with you? Hunt Library has a print copy and the Engineering & Science Library has a copy on our Kindle. You can check out the Kindle for 15 days.

Test your knowledge of terms used in the book by trying out the glossary puzzle. Contact Donna Beck, Engineering Librarian for the answer key.

The book details the concerns with the use of DNA profiling since its 1987 introduction in the courtroom. DNA analysis was examined by courts to see if it had acceptance by the greater scientific community. Private labs in their defense of the new technology argued that if a problem was encountered, no results would be obtained, not wrong results.

The book has all the elements to promote discussions of the interaction between emerging technologies and their applications in our legal system.

DNA fingerprint” as a term was purposely chosen to explain the process for the lay person’s understanding. Aronson credits defense attorneys for revealing problems in the use of DNA evidence.

Who has the authority to effectively regulate forensic DNA analysis?” At the time of the book’s publication, the author states that, “No agreed upon method to estimate frequency of errors in DNA testing existed or exists.”
Coincidentally, the day before our book discussion—the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) came out with a report (February 18, 2009) recommending a third party—to be known as the National Institute of Forensic Science— have the responsibility of developing standards. Jay Aronson suggested to us that any methodological errors would be viewed by NAS as a “passing thing”—therefore, no one would be charged with going back to review evidence from the past that may not have been sound.

Prof. Aronson emphasized that he did not want his book to take on DNA testing as the problem, but rather the system surrounding its development, implementation, and review as a standard. When asked if he met resistance during his research, he had one person from the FBI that simply never responded to his requests. Otherwise, he received encouragement from others with whom he had interactions.

Idea for the book: developed from a discussion with Dick Lewontin, a geneticist who was involved with the Yee case. Lewontin provided all the documentation to Aronson. Because these documents were used in court, they were in a sense a “public” record. Aronson commented, though, on the “necessity of trust” that he received when reviewing such collections of documents. So far, Prof. Aronson notes that he’s had no backlash from reviewers.

Nature Genetics 40, 3-3 (31 December 2007) doi:10.1038/ng0108-3.
We subscribe to this journal. If you go to our library homepage at search.library.cmu.edu, you can find Nature Genetics on our
eJournals A-Z” link.
For another review, see: American Journal of Human Genetics (“DNA Wars, Part 1”) available free from PubMed Central

Special thanks to our Engineering & Science Library’s Information Assistant, Bo Baker for taking notes during our discussion.


Flesh-eating robots!?

No, really.

In less terrifying news, a Swiss lab thinks optical switches could replace transistors in a few years.

If you want to keep tabs on what's going on in the science and engineering world, here are a few sites to check out:



e! Science News

Chemical & Engineering News



Now Available: Materials Research Society Online Proceedings

We are pleased to announce our new subscription to MRS Online Proceedings! The subscription to MRS Online currently provides full text access to roughly 30,000 papers from 1997 to present and by 2010 will include all proceedings past and present. Want more? MRS Online also provides full text access to MRS Bulletin from 2001 to present, presentations and tutorials from MRS meetings, and access to job classified ads. Access to MRS Online is available through our online databases.

Also remember to check out our subscription to the MRS Journal of Materials Research with online full text availability from the journal's first issue in 1986 through the most recent issue.

Happy Researching!


Engineering News Tidbits

CMU Robotics! First and foremost, CMU was named in CNET's special report, A user's guide to robotics higher ed. Colin Angle, the CEO of iRobot (maker of the Roomba), named Carnegie Mellon as one of the top three "places that we make sure we know what's going on," as far as robotics innovation goes.

Big news in lasers and fusion! The National Ignition Facility (NIF) in California has built the world's largest laser. From this article: "The record-breaking laser is made up of 192 individual beams, each about 40 centimeters square." According to the BBC, this laser was built for three reasons, including the exploration of fusion in the context of nuclear explosions, the exploration of fusion as an energy source, and the exploration of fusion in stars. A video about how the laser works (warning, there is a short ad before the video starts) is available here.

Making the world: In our search for interesting engineering news, we found a video showing how globes are made:

Biomedical news! Scientific American's July issue has an article called "Yanking Pathogens Out of Blood with Magnets." You can come see it in the Engineering & Science Library's reading area or check it out online here.


The US is ranked first in engineering

ScienceWatch reports that the rankings of the Top 20 Countries in Engineering, as determined by citation counts within Thompson-Reuters-indexed journals, have been released, and at present, the US is ranked number 1. In their words, the ranking lists "the top 20 countries which, as of the latest bimonthly update of Essential Science IndicatorsSM, attracted the highest total citations to their papers published in Thomson Reuters-indexed journals of Engineering over an 11-year period, (1998-December 31, 2008). These countries are of a pool of 96 countries comprising the top 50% ranked by total citation count in this field."

The full list:


News Tidbits

The Good:
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) has launched a free online database of 7,800 chemicals, called Common Chemistry. It is intended mostly for use by the general public, but may be of use to students and researchers at CMU, as well. Here is the press release.
  • NSF is spending stimulus money. From the linked story, "The ARRA funds set aside for new solicitations will be divided equally between facility updgrades and lab instrumentation purchases. NSF will invest $200 million to fund repairs and renovations to existing academic research facilities. Projects will be awarded up to $10 million each and can include research spaces such as buildings, mobile research facilities, and virtual facilities that use broadband-based technologies to bring scientists together. The other $200 million will fund the purchase and development of shared-use instruments. Up to $6 million each will go to individual projects."
The Bad:The Incredibly Beautiful:


Happy National Library Week!

It's National Library Week at the Science Libraries--well, all over the nation, actually--and we thought we'd celebrate by making a new and different kind of display. You can't really tell from the photo, but it's a list of fun facts about the Engineering & Science Library, Mellon Institute Library, and the CMU Libraries in general.

It will be in the display case at E&S through the end of the semester, so stop by and have a look!


Got projects?

First of all, happy spring break! The library will be closed this weekend, then open all week, with slightly reduced hours. We return to normal schedule on Sunday the 15th.

Second, as we all know, when spring break is over, crunch time is on! If you are working on a research project--whether it's a class paper, a publication, or a dissertation--please feel free to contact us to set up an appointment. Or if you're teaching a class and would like us to come talk to your students about subject-specific resources and research strategies, you can also set up an appointment for that; Donna is going to talk to a class about researching for Unit Operations projects after spring break, and any of our information specialists would be happy to come to your class when you need us.


News tidbits

Have you heard about the Snackbot? Although it is still under development, soon--hopefully later this semester--it will soon be roaming campus, selling snacks to students. (And it's so cute!) Here are some links with more information:
Also, a resource we really like and think you should be aware of: Purdue's Online Writing Lab. They do a really fantastic job of covering citation styles and even have an area of their site dedicated to engineering and technical writing, including Writing Engineering Reports and Writing Scientific Abstracts.

If you run into any news, resources, web sites, or information you think we should know about or would like to see posted to this blog, please feel free to leave it as a comment or send an e-mail to Donna Beck. We love hearing from you!


Genetic Witness

Hello, it's Coral-the-friendly-IA, and I wanted to tell you about my experience reading Jay D. Aronson's Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling on the E&S Kindle. (That's right, we have a Kindle, and our Kindle has February's book discussion book on it! Finding it in Cameo is easy: just type "kindle" into the search field, and hit either "title" or "keyword." You can also type "Genetic Witness" into the search field and hit "title" to bring up the E&S Kindle. If you look at the Kindle's record, you can see that we have seven books on there right now. If you have suggestions for others you'd like to see on there, comment here or e-mail Donna Beck.)

On the whole, I've liked it. The Kindle feels a lot like a book to hold, and E Ink really does look like print on paper--it isn't hard on the eyes like a computer screen. It is also not back-lit; plan accordingly. I like the little status bar that tells me how far in the book I am, and I like that I can read for several hours after only plugging the Kindle in for fifteen minutes--I only ever remember to charge it right before I'm leaving the house.

The two frustrating things about reading this book on the Kindle have been the page turn time--there is a noticeable pause between hitting the "next page" button and the current page disappearing--and the size of the images. For the first, I've learned to hit the button before I get to the very last line on the screen, which usually works; on the other hand, sometimes I feel like I'm rushing to finish the last line before the page turns, which is somewhat counter-productive. I should probably just be patient. As for the images, Aronson has a fair number of explanatory images and diagrams with text in them, and I haven't found a zoom feature or any way to make the images large enough that the text on them can be read. (I found the feature to make the text in the book larger or smaller--which is quite nice--but not one for images.) So, either there isn't an image zoom, or it isn't immediately obvious where it is; I think that's a shame.

Still, I would absolutely read another book on a Kindle. I like the portability (it will carry more books than I will!) and that it remembers my place when I turn it off. I like that I can make the font smaller when I'm reading in good light and larger when I'm at a poorly lit coffee shop.

What about you? Have you used a Kindle, or some other e-reader? Do you agree that it's generally a pretty good technology, or are you not a fan? Did you find an image zoom feature, because I'd really like to know about that, if it exists?

How about Genetic Witness? We're discussing it in about a month, but do you have any preliminary thoughts about it? Anything in particular you want us to make sure gets discussed? As a reminder, the information on where and when we're meeting is available here. And suggestions for future books-for-discussion can be sent to Donna Beck, or left in the comments here.