Grab your slide rule and let’s dig in!
So what is it, precisely, that we’re doing here?
First of all, I assume (a dangerous, yet often necessary, practice, as we’ll no doubt discuss at some length… but I digress) that you are either…
- A practicing engineer
- An engineering student
- Interested in engineering as a curiosity
- Lost, and honestly have no idea why you’re here
- Some combination of any/all of the above
So unless you’re totally, hopelessly lost (and if you are, please drop me a line and let me know how it is you actually found this place!) the chances are that you’re looking for some information on Engineering, mathematics, thermodynamics, mechanics and strength of materials, finite element analysis and other simulation methodologies, etc.
And if that’s the case, well then Engineering with Doctor BOOM is the place for you to be.
Well that’s all well and good, but just who the heck is Doctor BOOM?
Doctor BOOM (sometimes known as Doc Boom and more often just Doc) is the pseudonym for Jonathan Boom, Ph.D., P.E. (and no, that’s not his real last name). From this, you may perhaps infer several things about our principal author…
- He is a practicing engineer (indeed, he’s been around the block for over 3-decades as such)
- He has an earned doctorate (yep, earned a Ph.D. in Engineering (as well as a Masters in Math) from one of the smaller Ivy League schools)
- He is a registered Professional Engineer (also correct, registered in a state on the Atlantic coast of the USA)
- That he’s a fan of things that go BOOM! (well, how astute! Doc was once, long ago, a combat engineer in the US Army, specializing in, you guessed it, explosives and demolitions!)
- He prefers to write anonymously (right-ho, ’nuff said)
- Doc feels he has some knowledge that he’d like to pass on, which is perhaps obvious, but still somewhat important to get out there up front
Doc’s day job is that of a senior technical specialist with a large, international software company that you may have heard of. If you are in fact a practicing engineer, you may just be using some of this company’s tools. No, we’re not going to disclose Doc’s employer as that would sort of negate the whole “anonymity” thing. As part of his job, he uses finite element analysis to solve challenging problems in solid and structural mechanics and dynamics, the principal focus of his professional career of nearly 35-years (so far).
And here’s where we finally answer that question of what is it we’re doing here!
Though he’s spent is career as a practicing engineer, Doc has also taught engineering and mathematics at the high-school through graduate school level at several schools in-and-around the New England area. Many of the articles that will appear here are, essentially, Doc’s lecture notes from these classes, presented in compact, easy-to-digest chunks. Among other topics that are open for discussion here include…
- The how-and-why of engineering practice, as it happens in The Real World
- The classical natural philosophers (Newton, Lagrange, Hamilton, etc.), and how they viewed mathematics in terms of philosophy, and not as a means to an end
- Engineering education, as it is practiced today, and how it actually ought to be practiced (in Doc’s ever-so-humble opinion, of course)
- What engineering was like in the pre-computer days (just in case, you know…)
- Practical application of Finite Element Analysis, using the code_aster software package as a freely-available and very effective tool for learning the art and practice of FEA for structural mechanics
- As an aside, we’re going to be talking a fair bit about “freeware” and “open-source” tools here
- They’re a great place to get started and gain knowledge and confidence at a very low cost (though the cost in pain-and-suffering is, well, sometimes nontrivial!)
So with all that as background, what do you say we get going on our latest post.