Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Important IEEE Xplore information

IEEE Xplore is being upgraded on the 1st April, before I tell you about the new features, there are a couple of things you need to know:

1. All current saved searches and search history will be deleted. If you have any saved searches you would like to keep, then copy them into a document so you can recreate them after 1st April.

2. IEEE personal account user name change. If you have a personal account then you will be prompted to change your user name to your email address when you log in after 1st April.

The new features include:

  • Browse titles by topic

  • Sort results by most cited

  • Refine search by content type

  • Abstract pages streamlined with tabs for citations and references, and IEEE index terms listed

  • New citation diagram and more cited-by information

  • New interactive HTML full-text articles

  • Simpler personal account registration

  • Personal account sign-in link in top right-hand corner

Find out more here

Sign up for live webinar training here

Friday, 16 March 2012

Fun Friday Facts

Well, I hope you've all had a good week. Although this is the last post from me for NSEW 2012, don't forget that there is still plenty going on this weekend.

I am going to leave you with some factual motion-based snippets to impress your friends with over the weekend!

Firstly, from ''The Noticeably Stouter Qi book of General Ignorance' by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson, 2009, Faber and Faber limited, page 129-130:

Which way does the bathwater go down the plughole?

  • For the Alan Davies' amongst you: it isn't decided by the Coriolis force...unless a symmetrical pan with a tiny plughole was left for about a week and the plug was then removed without disturbing the water. Then a small Coriolis effect may send the water anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the south. Otherwise...

  • The direction is determined by the shape of the basin, the direction it was filled from, and the vortices introduced into it by washing or when the plug is removed.

  • So, basically, it depends, there just isn't a simple answer, of course!

Secondly, from 'Does Anything Eat Wasps? and 101 other questions', New Scientist, edited by Mick O'Hare, 2005, Profile Books, page 132-134:

What would be the effect on the Earth if an alien spaceship came along and dragged the moon away? (Steven Nairn)

  • According to Andrew Turpin:

  • As the moon is the main force over the tides, they would practically disappear.

  • Wild swings in the earth's rotational axis would give us drastic changes in climate.

  • The nautilus wouldn't know when to move compartments in its shell as the moon wouldn't be there to finish a revolution around earth. Poor stranded nautilus.

  • According to Simon Iveson:

  • Without nightime light, the behaviour of nocturnal animals would be confused, and their activities much harder to carry out.

Lastly, from 'Why Don't Penguins Feet Freeze? and 114 other questions', New Scientist, edited by Mick O'Hare, 2006, Profile Books, 2006, page 213-216, a mystery to me since childhood:

Why do boomerangs come back? (Adam Longley)

  • According to Alan Chester from Sheffield no less:

  • The top wing of a boomerang goes away from you faster than the bottom wing, so the sideways push on the top wing is strongest, which tilts the boomerang over.

  • According to Chips MacKinolty:

  • Boomerangs don't come back (indeed a distraught 8 year old me on the Bromyard Downs would agree).

  • They were designed by the Australian Aboriginal people for hunting and fighting. Not just for fun apparently.

So, I think that's it, it's bye from me for now, Happy National Science and Engineering Week to you all!

Remember there is also the Global Manufacturing Festival in Sheffield next Wednesday and Thursday.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

In a spin

Last night, Dr Tim Richardson gave a talk on things that rotate which I wish I could have gone to.

As I’m not an expert on the science of rotation, I've found some videos to keep you amused as the weekend approaches...

These fighting spinning tops are pretty impressive to watch (they start about 1 minute in).

As one of the comments says, Unbubblieveable!

Here’s one especially for you structural engineers: The Rotating Tower.

The Guinness World Record for the fastest spin on ice by Natalia Kanounnikova.

Cool Science Demo” of the ice skating spin.

Why didn’t I have one of these?

Talking of rotation, don’t forget you’ve only got a few more days left to check out the National Fairground Archive (NFA) exhibition at St Georges Library this week. You can also visit the NFA, or check out their image database.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Mid-week inspiration

Tonight at University House, Ian Woodall will be telling the emotional story of climbing Mount Everest. He is one of few to have climbed it by both its South and North sides; if you can’t make it tonight, you can find out more here.

If you’d like to feel inspired from your sofa then check out these films...

Everest (1998)

The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest (2010)

Touching the Void (2004)

Blindsight (2006)

...and books:

'Into thin air: a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster' by Jon Krakauer. In stock at St Georges Library, 796.522092 (K) in The Lifelong Learning Collection.

'Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest' by Wade Davis. Available in Sheffield Central Library.

'Touching the Void' by Joe Simpson. Available to reserve from Sheffield Central Library.

Don’t forget the NSEW Special Pub Quiz TONIGHT at The Showroom Cinema, 7:30, arrive early as places are limited!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cue the Physics

The mystery of motion is never more apparent to me than when watching some snooker...just how do they make those balls move to exactly where they want them??

I've found out a little bit about cue ball movement from

  • The cue ball's movement is determined by its forward rotation (spin) on impact.

  • With no spin on impact (a stun shot), it will deflect 90 degrees in the opposite direction to the object ball.

  • Forward spin (follow) and backward spin (draw) on the cue ball affects the amount of deviation from 90 degrees. So, more follow means a sharper curve upwards, and more draw, a sharper curve downwards.

  • It is also affected by the angle at which the cue ball hits the object ball; thicker contact means that the follow and draw have a bigger effect, both on position and speed.

This video shows an impressive curve of the cue ball when shooting with follow.

An impressive 28 second spin can be seen 1 minute and 3 seconds into this video.

And you just HAVE to check this out!

Feeling snooker loopy? Don't forget the Snooker World Championship here in Sheffield at The Crucible Theatre,  21 April- 7 May.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Alan Turing Centenary Year

Not heard of Alan Turing? It seems that many of us haven’t when we really should have. All you mathematicians out there may understand the work of Alan Turing without any help. For the rest of us, help is required! Derek Marriott gave this help in his talk at Sheffield Hallam on Friday, but what can you do if you missed it?


The Channel 4 documentary which enlightened more of us is unfortunately not available on 4oD but more information is here which shows why Stephen Hawking has rated Turing’s work as some of the most important in Human History. Hopefully the film will be available soon.

There are various books on Alan Turing in the Library including ‘The man who knew too much: Alan Turing and the invention of the computer’ by David Leavitt at the IC.

Friday, 9 March 2012

National Science and Engineering Week 2012

It’s here! Today is the beginning of National Science and Engineering Week, although I can’t be the only one who has noticed that 9-18 March is longer than a week!

The week runs every year to show the impact of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) on our everyday lives. The theme for 2012 is “Our world in motion”.

The week in South Yorkshire celebrates the impact of STEM on the region. Find out what is going on, starting today, here.

If you head to St. Georges Library you can grab yourself a freebie, and see the great exhibition on the history of going upside-down on fairgound rides and roller coasters put together by our National Fairground Archive.

I will be blogging throughout the “week” so watch this space!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Ebooks...the lowdown the fact that you can read them in bed any time of day and at the same time as your course mates but not sure about what you can and can't do with them?

The library buys access to ebooks from different suppliers and they all work slightly differently (just to make it extra confusing!). The provider is clear once you access an ebook .

The most common question we get asked is 'Can I download library ebooks to my Kindle/ebook reader?'. In short the answer is no I'm afraid. I could bore you with the licensing details but I won't!

Here is a handy guide to the main suppliers for Science and Engineering: