Archive for September, 2012

7 Survival Skills for Engineering Majors

Check out this useful advice from the Knovel blog:

And ask a librarian about the Knovel Library of online reference books, data and information!

Sonic Boom Analysis and its Mitigation

Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Fall 2012 Seminar Series
Thursday, September 20   4-5 PM in MEC 341
University of Virginia

Sriram Rallabhandi, Ph.D.,
Senior Research Engineer,
National Institute of Aerospace,
Resident at:
Aeronautics System Analysis Branch,
NASA Langley Research Center


This talk focuses on the recent advances in supersonic aircraft design methodology for the purpose of mitigating the adverse effects of sonic booms generated during supersonic flight. The fundamental aspects of sonic boom prediction are briefly described, followed by advanced sonic boom prediction techniques. Several approaches of aircraft design that attempt to mitigate the sonic boom will be addressed.

Host: Bob Lindberg (

To meet with the speaker: Lori Mohr Pedersen (

The Power of “Cabin Porn”: Producing and Consuming Electricity in Norwegian Leisure Cabins

Finn Arne Jørgensen
Rice Hall 128
University of Virginia
September 20, 2012, 3:30-5:00pm

The somewhat speculative phrase “cabin porn” reflects a growing international interest in cabins, shedworking, and rustic, exurban living off the grid – most of it romanticizing rural and low-tech lifestyles. A number of books, magazines, and websites (the most popular of the latter named simply “Cabin Porn”) encourage people to explore their inner Thoreau at their own cabin. The cabin has become an arena where people try to work out their ambivalent relationship to technology and all the bothersome things of modern life (including other people). The history of Norwegian cabins demonstrates what happens when this dream of more authentic living at the cabin comes true – very often, our wish for simplicity and comfort becomes a spearhead for technological upgrades. This talk will examine the question of electricity generation at the cabin, particularly focusing on the complex negotiations between consumers, commercial interests, property developers, available technological infrastructure (i.e. “the grid”), and cultural values about cabin living. The history of the Norwegian leisure cabin thus gives us insight into the unintended technological consequences of the dream of a simple life in nature.

Finn Arne Jørgensen is an assistant professor in history of technology and environment at Umeå University, Sweden, and a former visiting researcher at the UVA STS Department (2005-06). His first book, Making a Green Machine: The Infrastructure of Beverage Container Recycling, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2011. In this STS colloquium talk, he will present parts of his research on the history of the Norwegian leisure cabin, situating it within a larger international discussion of environment, technology, and society.

GIS Workshop: Getting Your Data on a Map

Wednesday, September 19
1:00 – 2:00pm
Campbell Hall, Room 105
University of Virginia

Session repeats on
Thursday, September 20
3:00 – 4:00pm
Adlerman Library, Room 421 (New Electronic Classroom)
University of Virginia

Do you have GPS points or a list of Latitude and Longitude you would like to show as points on a map? This session will show you how to turn your data into map layers and how to connect them to make lines and polygons as well.


Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering

Fall 2012 Seminar Series

Thursday, September 13 4-5 pm in MEC – 341

University of Virginia


Professor Riti Singh

Department of Power and Propulsion

Cranfield University, UK

The confluence of the growth of civil aviation and the need to limit its impact on climate change is set to bring the aerospace industry to its tryst with destiny. Anticipated large improvements in propulsion systems, airframes and operations are likely to be offset by market growth, not least by increasing demands from the BRIC economies. This presentation will focus on propulsion system developments within civil aviation. A drive to improve thermal and propulsive efficiencies still promises significant improvements. Bio‐mix ‘drop‐in’ fuels are likely in the next 20 years and offer further improvements. In the longer term, we are likely to see a shift to distributed propulsion to further improve both propulsive efficiency and air frame performance. This may result in a few very high‐efficiency generators, to drive a large number of small electric fans. Such a scenario opens up the possibility of significant advances with the ability to have ‘clean air frames’. In the long term, the growth of civil aviation may have to be curtailed, in spite of growing market demand. A way forward could be the combination of hydrogen and other technologies, including the intriguing possibility of an aircraft being able to produce global warming or cooling at will, perhaps allowing mankind to control the earth’s temperature by the use of civil aviation.

 Professor Riti Singh

Riti Singh is Professor Emeritus of Cranfield University. He leads the Gas Turbine Engineering & Technology Group within the Department of Power and Propulsion and is Director of the Rolls‐Royce University Technology Centre in Performance Engineering. He has given many plenary/keynote speeches. He holds numerous patents, and has published widely. His research has been strongly supported by industry, the European Union and EPSRC. Professor Singh has an interest in novel cycles for power and propulsion, particularly in the context of the environment. He has received many accolades during the course of his career, the most recent being ASME’s International Gas Turbine Institute’s Annual International Aircraft Engine Technology Award for 2010, presented to one individual each year for sustained, innovative personal contribution to the field. Professor Singh is a past chairman of the Aerospace Division and continues his involvement s a board member of this and the International Society of Air Breathing Engines. (ISABE).Professor Singh has consulted for over 40 organisations, including gas turbine manufacturers.

Control of Large Wind Turbines

Please attend the Lockheed-Martin sponsored ASSET seminar in Thornton Hall, Room E316, the University of Virginia, at 3:00 PM on Friday September 14, 2012.

Prof. Mark Balas, “Control of Large Wind Turbines: It Doesn’t Take a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows”

Abstract: The next generation of utility-scale wind turbines will be larger and more flexible than earlier designs to promote greater energy capture and reduce the cost of energy.  It is here that the implementation of active feedback control is crucial to meet design objectives.  Not only must there be power regulation or optimization but also load mitigation to extend the life of the turbine.  Wind turbine dynamics modeling for active control is composed of four principal parts: (1) Aerodynamics and Inflow Behavior (2) Structural Dynamics (3) Feedback Control Algorithms and (4) Power Electronics.  Active control is a relatively new technology for wind turbines.  Basic control theory used in this talk is linear time-invariant and periodic control using disturbance accommodation, but with a strong connection to the aerodynamics and structural dynamics of wind turbines.  This talk will be a non-specialist’s tutorial on control of large wind turbines but will also introduce our adaptive control work in this research area.  I hope, when we are done, no one will ever be able to “kick sand in your face” about utility-sized wind turbine control.

This seminar is a great opportunity to broaden your base of knowledge, which can help spark new ideas in your own research, and could be invaluable in job interviews.  The Q&A based Fireside Chat session will be useful to learn best-current practices. Plan some questions for this distinguished faculty member.

More info:

Malathi Veeraraghavan

Professor, Charles L. Brown Dept. of Elec. & Comp. Engineering University of Virginia


1-203-904-3724 (cell)

The Knovel University Challenge

The Knovel University Challenge Starts 9/10/2012!

What to expect:
More questions, more prizes, and many more opportunities for engineering and science students to hone critical information gathering and analytical skills. Each week, we’ll highlight a specific function in Knovel that engineers in the workplace say helps them get the job done!

What’s new this year?
We’re introducing new questions every week, so there are even more opportunities for students to play and win great prizes like the new Apple iPad, Beats Audio earphones (valued at $150 each) and more! We’ll also randomly select a grand prize winner and the contest-within-the-contest prize goes to the schools with the highest number of participating students.

How to Play:
Students can simply visit our webpage: and use the search box to search Knovel for the answers.

We had a great 2011 season and look forward to your help making this an even bigger Back-to- School event.

Honor Committee Roundtable Discussion

The University of Virginia Honor Committee is excited to announce a unique opportunity to engage in a frank conversation about our Community of Trust.  Tuesday, September 11th at 3:30 p.m., the Committee will host a roundtable discussion in Old Cabell Hall that will include Teresa Sullivan, President of the University; George Cohen, Chair of the Faculty Senate; Michael Levenson, William B. Christian Professor of English; Hillary Hurd, Student Member of the Board of Visitors; and moderated by Allen Groves, Dean of Students.  We will pose some of the community’s questions to our roundtable speakers and let them weigh in on important challenges facing our Community.

If you would like to attend, please e-mail me at You can also submit a question by going to our website. If you are teaching a class during this time and would like to bring your class, please contact me and we can reserve tickets for you and your class.
We are looking forward to engaging with you throughout the course of the year, and we hope to see you at this event during this important time in our University’s history.

Stephen Nash
Honor Committee, Chair

GIS Workshop: Making Your First Map

Wednesday, September 12
1:00 – 2:00pm
Campbell Hall, Room 105

Session repeats on
Thursday, September 13
3:00 – 4:00pm
Adlerman Library, Room 421 (New Electronic classroom)

Getting started with new software can be intimidating. This workshop introduces the skills you need to work with spatial goodness. Along the way you’ll get a taste of Earth’s most popular geographic software and a gentle introduction to map making. You’ll leave with your own cartographic masterpiece and tips for learning more in your pursuit of mappiness at UVa.
Sponsored by the Scholars’ Lab in Alderman Library at the University of Virginia.

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September 2012