Happy Birthday, Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis

Thomas Forrister May 21, 2018

Gustave-Gaspard Coriolis was a French physicist with a passion for mechanics. He spent much of his time contemplating the nature of movement in machinery and introduced the concept of kinetic energy in relation to work. When he extended these ideas to rotating machinery, his sphere of influence grew: The Coriolis force and subsequent Coriolis effect are observed in rotating systems with applications in engineering, meteorology, stellar dynamics, and more.

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Thomas Forrister May 3, 2018

Many antennas deployed in basic communications systems are linearly polarized, meaning that for the orientation of the electric field, polarization is confined to a single plane. Antennas that present the option of circular polarization give you more to work with, because the polarization of the wave varies while it propagates. Helical antennas, for instance, are able to generate circularly polarized waves in the axial operating mode. RF simulation can be used to optimize helical antenna designs.

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Thomas Forrister April 30, 2018

Known as the “father of information theory”, Claude Shannon shaped the way we think about computer operations and communications between devices as a single framework. His groundbreaking ideas about testing digital circuits, coding messages in binary, and programming artificial intelligence ushered us into the digital age. The internet was made possible by Shannon’s classical foundations in information science, and thanks to his equations, the amount of data we’re able to store and share consistently increases.

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Thomas Forrister April 24, 2018

Wastewater often contains organic and inorganic materials, which can be nonbiodegradable and even toxic. To reuse wastewater, these contaminants are removed via physical, chemical, and biological processes. Clarifiers treat wastewater by separating the particles via sedimentation, but their performance is affected by factors such as settling, turbulence, the ratio of the particles’ outer surfaces to mass, sudden direction changes in the flow, and the velocity profile. To design clarifiers for effective wastewater treatment, engineers can turn to fluid flow simulation.

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Thomas Forrister April 15, 2018

Prolific and profound, Leonhard Euler is considered one of the greatest mathematical scientists of all time. He made formative contributions to whole branches of mathematics, among them infinitesimal calculus, graph theory, and topology. Best known for his eponymous formula and identity equation, part of his genius was the ability to apply equations to the world around him and explain scientific concepts in terms that a layperson could understand.

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Thomas Forrister March 23, 2018

Pierre-Simon Laplace was a French physicist who made many contributions to mathematics and astronomy and is best known for demonstrating the stability of our solar system. Sometimes referred to as “the French Sir Isaac Newton”, Laplace confirmed Newton’s theory of gravitation by applying it to planetary orbits. Many of his formulas are still used by physicists today.

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Thomas Forrister March 22, 2018

In the 1970s and 80s, music fans would dedicate entire rooms of their homes to stereo systems. Big, boxy loudspeakers were essential fixtures of these stereo setups. Today, a new trend has emerged: Consumers want loudspeakers that are both powerful and portable, with the ability to connect to devices around the house and on the go. To design sophisticated yet lightweight loudspeakers, you can optimize the topology of their components, such as a magnetic circuit for the loudspeaker driver.

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Thomas Forrister March 5, 2018

The foundation of a tunnel, dam, building, or other structure can be analyzed with a method called triaxial testing. Performing triaxial tests before, during, and after construction helps to ensure that structures are safe and reliable. To better understand the mechanics of soil and improve a structure’s stability, you can model the loading and unloading curves for a triaxial testing apparatus and test the soil’s model parameters in the COMSOL Multiphysics® software.

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Thomas Forrister March 2, 2018

Frances Spence was an American mathematician and one of the first computer programmers in history. She is best known for her work as a programmer of the first digital computer, Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC). Although she helped program the computer during WWII, her contributions to computer programming have only recently been recognized.

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Thomas Forrister February 20, 2018

When a car hits a pothole, the suspension system can take on major damage in a matter of seconds. Suspension systems must be able to adapt to myriad road conditions while supporting the wheels, seats, and body of the car. To study the performance of a vehicle suspension system, you can use multibody analyses and a simplified lumped model of a mechanical system.

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Thomas Forrister February 18, 2018

“I collected the instruments of life around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.” So begins the iconic scene in Frankenstein, which was first published in 1818. While Shelley infused a spark of life into science fiction, Alessandro Volta helped foster innovation in the field of electrochemistry through also trying to “spark life” into a lifeless thing — literally.

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