After a four year hiatus I am returning to Twitter (@) and quickly realizing that I have really missed out. As a participant in a MOOC, Introduction to Learning Technologies, I was prompted to connect via their hashtag (#ilt_usask) on Twitter (in 140 characters or less at a time).
For anyone new to Twitter, course instructors pointed us to the very sweet and useful Mom This is How Twitter Works. It has some quick tips if you are a little rusty as well. For example, if you start a tweet with a username like @mymom it will limit who gets to see it, versus putting a period or other characters in front of it.
We were also directed to 10 Commandments of Twitter for Academics from The Chronicle for Higher Education, with some sage advice on using Twitter in your personal and professional lives. I will of course recommend that you follow McGill Library (@McGillLib) but please do not stop there. I’m following a lot of Montreal- sci-tech- library-oriented people and discovering new things everyday.
Here is one that I will leave you with: British Library’s #ShareMyThesis competition. First prize for this worldwide competition is a 15-inch MacBook pro. Take a look at how past and present PhD students have been sharing why their project is important #ShareMyThesis and consider contributing.
I have the pleasure of living right between Fairmount and St-Viateur Bagel and I refuse to pick a side, but here is one cool thing that I noticed on my bag of bagels from Fairmount: 1st bagel in space!
The NASA mission to the International Space Station was STS 124 when Montreal-born astronaut, Greg Chamitoff, brought 18 sesame bagels with him. I don’t know how I missed this but you can read more about it in this 2008 article in The Gazette.
I checked this book out of the library to get myself thinking about graphic novels for the Schulich collection. Feynman, from our Education Curriculum Resources Centre, is juvenile literature and worth a read but there are other great ones out there written for adults.
I have been talking with librarians from other university science and engineering libraries that have been purchasing books in this format but I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any graphic novels to recommend that touch on science and technology?
Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) is inviting you to register to attend the event below, taking place on December 16th, 2014 at the Faculty Club.
A Course Showcase: Design and Analysis of Sustainable Urban Neighbourhoods for Energy, Water and Food Independence
5:30 pm – 7:15 pm (cocktail reception to follow)
McGill University’s Faculty Club, 3450 McTavish Street
REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED – PLEASE SIGN UP NOW
The first edition of the list of 382 Highly Cited Researchers (h>100) according to Google Scholar Citations includes two McGill scientists: Alan Evans has an h-index of 152, putting him at #34 in the list, and Andreas Warburton is #99 with an h-index of 128. Alan Evans is no stranger to citation fame, as he was also included in the 2014 Highly Cited Researchers list from Thomson Reuters, along with Chemistry professor, Chao-Jun Li (read more on this from McGill News and Events).
The h-index marks the place where the number of citations a researcher receives meets the number of papers they have published (see the graph below). Read more about the h-index from Hirsch’s article in arXiv.
You can create your own citations page in Google Scholar by looking for the “My Citations” option.
Image is in the public domain.
Once again this year on October 2nd in the lobby of McGill’s Arts building, students from the Faculty of Science will present their research projects at the tenth annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC). All the projects will be entered into a poster competition judged by a panel of distinguished McGill researchers. Keynote address and reception will come after the prize ceremony. This all day event is open to everyone. See details here.
I recently came across the Undergraduate Research Commons and thought I should share it with you. It is a portal where you will have access to hundreds of full-text undergraduate research papers from a large number of participating educational institutions worldwide. These include engineering capstone projects, faculty-supervised research, award-winning papers, peer-reviewed journal publications and so on.
You may browse by participating institution or type of documents, and find out the popular papers in each subject area. Of course, it also allows users to search by keywords. If you are interested in exploring the content, simply click on the info graphic at the left-bottom corner of the homepage to regroup the content by different criteria.
Welcome / welcome back! I wanted to bring your attention to some free resources, such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), that may help support your studies. I know, classes have just begun so the last thing that you are thinking about is enrolling in another course but there is some great material out there to help reinforce or expand your learning.
We have a new guide to MOOCs and open education resources (OERs for short) on our Schulich Library site. These include places where you can go to register for courses, but also options for viewing course materials, such as MIT’s OpenCourseWare, or for taking advantage of openly available textbooks in science and engineering.
I’m currently following (when I can) a Linux MOOC and waiting on Writing in the Sciences from Stanford.
There is also Comic Books and Graphic Novels starting in a few weeks on Coursera, but that is neither here nor there…
I am late on the bandwagon, but I recently read in greater detail about the new Maglev train technology, and I can safely say that I am simply marvelled.
Maglev (short for magnetic levitation) trains could truly revolutionise transportation of the 21st century, using the basic principles of magnets and electromagnetic propulsion. There are three components to the system: a large electrical power source, metal coils lining a track/guideway, and large guidance magnets attached to the underside of the train. The magnetic field created by the electrified coils in the walls and the track combine to propel the train. (Side note: Japanese engineers are actually developing a technology called an electrodynamic suspension system, which is based on the repelling force of superconducting magnets, therefore eliminating the need for a power supply. It remains expensive as of now, but looks promising.)
A huge advantage of these trains (apart from higher speeds and low maintenance costs)? The positive environmental impact. Indeed, they lack engines, thus eliminate the need/use of fossil fuels.
The first commercial maglev train made its test debut in Shanghai, China, in 2002. The Shanghai Transrapid line currently runs to and from the Longyang Road station at the city’s center and the Pudong airport. Traveling at an average speed of 430 km per hour, the 30 km journey takes less than 10 minutes on the train (as opposed to an hour-long taxi ride!).
Right now, the best maglev train reaches speeds exceeding 400 kilometres per hour. But Deng Zigang, a professor at Southwest Jiaotong University in China believes that these trains can go even faster (as if that wasn’t fast enough already!). Indeed, much of the energy used to propel the train is wasted battling air resistance. Thus, by placing a maglev train inside a vacuum tube, we could virtually eliminate speed’s worst enemy and allow the train to rocket along guideways at 3,000 km per hour.
Just when we feel like we’ve seen/invented it all, new engineering marvels arise. I am exited to see what the future holds for this train technology.
(Source: IEEE Spectrum July 2014 issue)