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It’s Love Your Data Week!



Valentine’s Day isn’t just for people – it is time to Love Your Data, too!

Love Your Data Week (LYD) is about recognizing the ways in which individuals and institutions can care for their data – by adopting consistent practices, and then modeling and implementing those practices. Federal funding agencies have more and more requirements with which researchers must comply. More public access to research results – including data – is one of those requirements. Love Your Data week will help researchers, libraries, and students look at how to be responsible stewards of their work.  The LYD website provides tips and tricks for managing research data, resources to help with data management, and daily activities. 

According to the LYD website, “Loving your data means investing in it, taking care of it for the future. Over the five day event, we will guide you through five activities to help get your data organized, secure, and ready for write-up, sharing and reuse.”

Each day of LYD week has a different theme:

  • Monday, Feb. 8: “Data: Keep It Safe”
  • Tuesday, Feb. 9: “It’s the 21st Century — Do You Know Where Your Data Is?”
  • Wednesday, Feb. 10: “What Did I Mean Here?”
  • Thursday, Feb. 11: “Give/Get Credit for Data”
  • Friday, Feb. 12: “Think Big: Transforming, Extending, Reusing Data.”

Involvement across social media platforms is encouraged, and to be involved in the conversation use #LYD16 for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. For Pinterest use Resources to help you LYD, and The changing face of data.  Unsure about how best to get involved? Check out the logistical details link for all you need to know! Join in the conversation, share your experiences and connect with others in data management!

The University of Iowa Libraries also has a thorough Resource Data Services guide to help you with your data management. There is information on organizing and documenting your data, creating a data management plan and other resources. If you have any questions you may email Qianjin (Marina) Zhang, the Licthenberger Engineering  & Informatics Librarian at; Sara Sheib, University of Iowa Sciences Library Reference & Instruction Librarian at, or by emailing

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (#UIEngLib), and Pinterest to keep up-to-date on all our activities and resources.

Have fun checking out all the data resource management tools we have available and learn to Love Your Data!



Love Your Data. 2016.

Celebrate Love Your Data Week with Emory Libraries Feb. 8-12. February 2, 2016.  Emory Libraries & Information Technology. Emory University.

Libraries’ Love Your Data Week raises awareness among research universities. Feb. 5, 2016. Penn State News.


New Exhibit on Thomas Edison!

Thomas Edison, Feb. 11, 1847 to Oct. 18, 1931

Thomas Edison, Feb. 11, 1847 to Oct. 18, 1931

We  have a brand new exhibit honoring Thomas Edison’s 169th Birthday!

Thomas Alva Edison was born February 11, 1847 and died October 18, 1931 at the age of 84. Even though his primary school teacher, Rev. G.B. Engle, believed him to be “addled,” Edison went on to be awarded 1,093 U.S. Patents. When his foreign patents are included, he was received a total of 2,332! Our new display honoring him highlights some of those inventions.

To say he was creative and inventive seems well, obvious. However, much of that comes from his ability to learn from his failures and re-use and refine ideas and machinery. This ability is summed up in this famous quote:

I haven’t failed.
I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
— Thomas Edison

The fact that Edison and his team of researchers tested more than 3,000 designs for the light bulb between 1878 and 1880 is evidence of his persistence and ability to learn from his failures. In 1879 he filed for a patent for an electric lamp with a carbon filament. But even after the patent was awarded, he continued to test over 6,000 plants until it was discovered that a carbonized bamboo filament could burn for more that 1,200 hours.

It is reported that Edison’s favorite invention was the phonograph. He developed a way to record sound on tinfoil-covered cylinders. The first thing that Edison recorded? “Mary had a little lamb!” He suggested there were many other uses for the phonograph, such as books for the blind music boxes and toys, and a connection with the telephone so messages could be recorded, So many are now reality!

Acme Motion Picture Projector. Patented in 1922.

Acme Motion Picture Projector. Patented in 1922.

From 1888 to 1893 Edison worked with William Dickson on a motion picture camera. Edison always worked with very capable assistants, but this is the first really clear case where Edison took sole credit for a joint project. Dickson was a photographer and provided the photographic knowledge and Edison worked on the electromechanical parts. Edison and Dickson were only some of the many inventors who were working on motion pictures at the time but Edison is credited with introducing the first commercially viable system.

Even though the first projector used by the Edison film company was called the Edison Vitascope, Edison really didn’t have much to do with projector technology. Edwin S. Porter, a former Edison Studios cameraman, directed The Great Train Robbery, in 1903. He used innovative techniques which included composite editing, location shooting, and cross cutting. And some, but not all, of the prints from The Great Train Robbery were hand colored. This was the also the first movie that presented a story and not short skits. The Great Train Robbery is now largely considered to be the first American action film.

The Great Train Robbery.

Our thanks to The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections for the loan of several books for this exhibit. Thanks also to The University of Iowa Libraries Main Media Collection for lending us a copy of The Great Train Robbery. The University of Iowa Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering donated the motion picture projector and the film reels. Our thanks to them, also. Their contributions are invaluable to the exhibit.

So stop by and see our latest exhibit!! 

Our exhibit celebrating Thomas Edison

Our exhibit celebrating Thomas Edison

Interesting facts:

Edison had 3 children with his first wife, Mary Stillwell: Marion Estelle Edison was nicknamed ‘Dot,’ and Thomas Alva Edison, Jr. was nicknamed ‘Dash.’ The 3rd child, William Leslie Edison was also an inventor, but had no nickname…

Edison developed “foam concrete” which was used in building concrete homes. These homes were inexpensive, and easier to heat and cool. Ten of the 11 homes were still standing and occupied in 2009.

Edison also invented a ‘spirit phone.’ It was intended to open the lines of communications with the spirit world…


Jonnes, Jill. 2003. Empires of light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the race to electrify the world. New York : Random House. Engineering Library TK18 .J66 2003.

After a Schoolteacher Called Thomas Edison “Addled,”…. Accessed Jan. 12, 2016.

Edison’s concrete piano : flying tanks, six-nippled sheep, walk-on-water shoes, and 12 other flops from great inventors. 2009. Toronto : ECW Press. Engineering Library T47 .W42 2009.

10 Inventions by Thomas Edison (That You’ve Never Heard Of).  HowStuffWorks. Accessed January 13, 2016.

Motion Pictures. February 20, 2012. The Thomas Edison Papers. Rutgers.

The Great Train Robbery. youtube. Accessed January 13, 2016

The Great Train Robbery (1903 Film). Jan. 24, 2016. Wikipedia.

Edison Invents the Phonograph. America’s Story from America’s Library. The Library of Congress. Date accessed Jan. 28, 2016.

Other Resources:

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison. October, 13, 2015. Rutgers.

Who Invented the Light Bulb? Palermo, Elizabeth. Feb. 15, 2014.

Thomas Edison’s Most Famous Inventions. 2014. Edison Innovation Foundation.

Filmsite Movie Review: The Great Train Robbery (1903).  2016. AMC Networks.


New Resource! Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft Online!


We have just added an exciting new resource to our collection!!

With over 100 years of history, IHS Jane’s is the most trusted and respected public source of defense and security information in the world!
And we now have five of the Jane’s Online Products!

Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft: Development & Production

Ion 100, Tandem-seat kitbuilt.

Ion 100 prototype, flanked by second and third trials aircraft

Jane’s All the World Aircraft: Development and Production is the standard in aviation reference, providing exhaustive technical detail on civil and military aircraft that are both in production or are under development around the world. The information provided includes:

  • Aircraft platforms, systems and technologies
  • Detailed technical specifications
  • Photographs and line drawings
  • key contracts, programs, and customers

Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft: In Service

Apache Helicopter

Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) AH-64D Apache Longbow tandem-seat advanced attack helicopter (Mike Keep)

Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft: In Service is a comprehensive reference resource on both military and commercial aircraft upgrade programs from around the world. It includes:

  • Platforms in service but which are no longer in production
  • Upgrade programs by aircraft type
  • Technical descriptions
  • Manufacturers and upgrade companies


A BQM-167X aerial target being launched at USN's Point Mugu Test Range in 2008 (CEi)

A BQM-167X aerial target being launched at USN’s Point Mugu Test Range in 2008

Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft: Unmanned

Jane’s all the World’s Aircraft: Unmanned is the leading resource for information on hundreds of UAVs, aerial targets and related subsystems that are either in service or under development around the world. It includes information on:

  • Technical details and specifications
  • Payloads
  • Guidance and control systems
  • Customers and contractors


DALLAS (with DDS) (US Navy)

DALLAS (with DDS) (US Navy)


Jane’s Fighting Ships

The world’s most comprehensive and reliable open-source naval reference resource available, Jane’s Fighting Ships covers the navies and coast guards of 165 nations worldwide and provides detailed information on war ships, submarines, aircraft, weapon and sensor systems, both in service and under construction.



It includes information covering:

  • Military vessels in service and under development around the world
  • Detailed platform and subsystem technical data
  • Vessel photographs, drawings, and silhouettes

Jane’s Aero Engines

Carbon titanium fan (Rolls-Royce)

Carbon titanium fan (Rolls-Royce)


Jane’s Aero Engines delivers comprehensive profiles of civil and military gas-turbine engines both in production and in service, for air platforms around the world. It provides A&D businesses with critical independent technical and market intelligence to support effective business development, strategy and product development activity, and giving military and security organizations the information they need to support analysis, planning and procurement activities.


Our subscriptions are only available to on-campus users.


Explore this comprehensive new resource. The sky’s the limit!




The Weather Outside is Frightful….

It’s here…..are you ready? We’ve already had to scrape the frost from our car windows and shovel our driveways and sidewalks… And meteorological winter is upon us.

This is beautiful, right? photo by Carol Johnk

This is beautiful, right? photo by Carol Johnk

If you can look past the cold and the shoveling and scraping, snow and frost can really be quite beautiful. Really.

“Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty, and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design, and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone, without leaving any record behind.”  — Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)

We know there are different types of precipitation. Snow, sleet, freezing rain, hail, and graupel. (Seriously, there is a form of precipitation called graupel).

What is the difference between how sleet and freezing rain are formed?

We all know what sleet is when we are walking or driving in it. But what is sleet? Sleet forms when raindrops freeze in the air while they are falling. The raindrop then has to encounter warmer air, which again melts it and turns it into a raindrop again. Then, if the raindrop encounters another layer of air where the temperature is below 32°F it can refreeze and form sleet. However, while freezing rain looks like a gentle rain, when a raindrop is cooled to 32°F and then hits a surface it forms a thin film of water which quickly turns into a continuous sheet of ice. Freezing rain can cause more problems than sleet or snow because it makes travel more treacherous and can coat power lines and tree branches causing them break from the weight..

So, now, what the heck is graupel? In Understanding Weather and Climate, the authors state that graupel is formed, “When an ice crystal takes on additional mass by riming, its original six-sided structure becomes obscured and its sharp edges are smoothed out.” This new ice may have small air bubbles which can give it a milky-white appearance. (Riming is when ice crystals fall through a cloud and collide with super-cooled droplets and those droplets freezes on the ice crystals.) So, now when you are being bombarded by little ice pellets, you’ll know that is graupel! If graupel remains in the clouds, it provides the nuclei from which hail is formed. An updraft carries the groupel pellet above the freezing level, which forms the core of the hailstone. The pellet falls from the updraft, collides with liquid droplets that coat it in a film of water. If the pellet is caught in another updraft, the layer of water freezes, creating another coat of ice…..


A mini-snow person! Photo by Carol Johnk

Skiers love powder and kids love snow ball fights. Why are there different types of snow? Snow results from the growth of ice crystals from several different methods.  If a crystal from the cold, upper reaches of a cloud falls through to a warmer environment, the combination of moisture and temperature will create a particular structure at its core and other structures will layer on it. If riming is the dominant growth process, the crystals form a dense, wet snow pack – perfect for snowball fights, forts and snow people. That wet snowfall is heavy and not much fun for snowblowers and those who must shovel. Powder is formed when very cold snow falls and has smaller snowflakes than the more dense snowfall. Because they have a lower density the crystals have less adhesion and don’t pack well. Skiers love to ski this powder snow!

Frosty windowpane. Photo by Carol Johnk.

Frosty windowpane. Photo by Carol Johnk.

And then we come to frost….and frozen dew….and black ice…

Briefly, frost is when the temperature is lowered to 32°F and very small ice crystals are deposited onto solid surfaces giving them a white appearance. That type of frost (sometimes called hoar frost) happens with the transformation of water vapor directly into ice. Frost is easy to remove with window scraper (or a credit card!)


White frost, also known as Hoar frost. Photo by Carol Johnk.

Frozen dew, on the other hand, begins when the temperatures are slightly above 32°F and then cool to below freezing, which causes a thin, continuous layer of ice to form. This is what is difficult to remove from your windshield, get your key into your car door, or even open the door…. of course, the advantage of not being able to get into your car means you won’t be out driving on black ice (the frozen dew that forms on road surfaces and is nearly impossible to see).

Now, as you slip, slide, shovel, and ski your way through the winter, you’ll know why! Be careful out there!!


Aguado, Edward. 2010. Understanding weather and climate. Upper Saddle River, NJ : Pearson Education. Engineering Library QC871.3 .A38 2010

Other Resources:

Black Ice: How to Spot This Winter Driving Danger. 2015. AccuWeather, Inc.

Guide to Frost. February 1, 1999. Accessed November 24, 2015.

Rauber, Robert M. 2002. Severe and hazardous weather. Dubuque, IA : Kendall/Hunt Pub. Co.

Resources about the uniqueness of snowflakes:

It’s True That No Two Snowflakes Are Alike, But not For The Reason You Think. by Cate MatthewsJanuary 10, 2014.  HuffPost Science. Inc.

The Science of Snowflakes, and Why No Two Are Alike. by Julia Griffin, December 22, 2011. PBS Newshour. NewsHour Productions LLC. 

Snowflakes All Fall In One of 35 Different Shapes. by Marissa Fessenden, December 30, 2014.

Resources about hypothermia, frostbite

Diseases and Conditions Hypothermia. by Mayo Clinic Staff, June 18, 2014. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

What is Hypothermia?  Hypothermia: causes, symptoms and treatment.

Diseases and Conditions Frostbite. by Mayo Clinic Staff, October 15, 2014. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Frostbite. MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health.


DIY for the Weekend: Dancing Dolphins, Talking Puppets, and an Electric You

Have you ever wanted to know how ‘electric’ or ‘resistive’ you really are? Have a wall of dancing dolphins or a talking puppet? Whatever electronics project you’d like to try – we’ve got the resources you need!

Making Everyday Electronics Work: a Do-It-Yourself Guide will help you learn the basics of electricity, about everyday electronics, and what makes them work – or not. Author Stan Gibilisco starts with the basics by explaining direct current, alternative current, working his way through magnetic force, semiconductors and vacuum tubes. Each section has “Did you know?”, “Fact or Myth?” and “For Nerds Only” boxes and sidebars. And, since I’m sure you don’t want to be electrocuted, there are also warnings about dangers of which you will want to be aware!

Multimeter (Voltmeter) available for check out from our Tool Library

Multimeter available in our Tool Library

Gibilisco talks about building and stocking your workbench. He includes a detailed list of what you’ll need to have a well-stocked place to experiment. One of the items mentioned is a multimeter. We have one in our Tool Library – ready for you to check out!

Now that you are ‘grounded’ in the basics of electricity and everyday electronics, you can move on to the experiments that Gibilisco provides.. You can start by building a wet cell using distilled white vinegar, table salt and other items from your workbench. And, once you’ve created the wet cell, Gibilisco will walk you through using the left-over items to test both how electric and resistive you are!


Dancing Dolphins. Electronics Projects for Dummies

Dancing Dolphins. Electronics Projects for Dummies

Or maybe you’d like to have a wall of Dancing Dolphins….or birds…. or spaceships…. Using the dancing dolphins as an example, Electronics Projects for Dummies will teach you everything you need to know about putting the schematic together and building “a circuit with a porpoise.” (their words, not mine. Really). From making the circuit, the dolphins and the lighting, Electronics Projects for Dummies walks you through each of the steps, complete with photos to help you through the process.

Murmuring Merlin. Electronics Projects for Dummies

Murmuring Merlin. Electronics Projects for Dummies

Talking puppets (or just about anything else) more your style? You can learn about working with sound synthesizer chips and have fun making a “Murmuring Merlin” puppet. The project that is demonstrated in Electronics Projects for Dummies uses a wizard hand puppet. You can program the synthesizer chip to say anything you’d like.  Have anything you’d like to say to your roommate?

If you want to try your hand at making light dance to music, controlling a Go-Kart “infrared style,” or making your own metal detector, Electronics Projects for Dummies will help you through.


Have fun using these projects and your new knowledge as a jumping off point for your own projects and ideas!


Gibilisco, Stan. 2014. Making everyday electronics work: a do-it-yourself guide. New York : McGraw-Hill Education. Engineering Library TK7819 .G37 2014.

Ham Radio. February 24, 2008. Ham Radio.

Boysen, Earl. 2006. Electronics projects for dummies. Hoboken, NJ : Wiley. Engineering Library TK7819 .M38 2006

Other Resources:

Giblisco, Stan. 2005. Electronics demystified. New York : McGraw-Hill. Engineering Library TK7819 .G35 2005

Giblisco, Stan. 2011. Teach yourself electricity and electronics. New York : McGraw-Hill. Engineering Library TK7819 .G38 2011

Nuts & volts magazine. Corona, CA : T & L Publications.  Journal. Engineering Library No call number


DIY for the Weekend: Light Up Your Halloween Costume!

Okay, so Halloween is tomorrow and you still don’t have any really good ideas for a costume…

Want a costume that lights up? LED eyelashes? Or maybe a mask that will control your music wirelessly? We have the resources to help you turn your bright idea into the perfect costume.

You are a Super Hero and need to contact your Super Hero partner. Make: Wearable Electronics will help you learn the skills necessary to create your own super hero communicator cuffs. Each pair of cuffs has an electronic switch and when the wrists are crossed, a wireless signal is sent to your partner’s cuffs. The transmitted signal causes the cuffs to light up, letting your partner know you need them. Or maybe you want to let them know you found the best Halloween candy at the party….

"Dream Squawk" mask created by Amy Khoshbi.

“Dream Squawk” mask created by Amy Khoshbi.


Make: Wearable Electronics will help you learn Lilypad Arduino and Xbee – which are used to make the cuffs – and so much more.  Maybe you want to make a  “Dream Squawk” mask which allows you to control music and sound wirelessly. That could really amp up your party…..


"Tron: Quorra Costume" by Syuzi Pakchyan

“Tron: Quorra Costume” by Syuzi Pakchyan


How about Quorra from Tron: Legacy? This costume also uses LilyPad and Cool Neon‘s LED ribbon.  LilyPad was designed specifically for e-textiles and clothing and Make: Wearable Electronics provides experiments so you are able to try those new LilyPad skills.

Starboards are flexible circuits that can be sewn directly into garments. Creator Meredith Scheff also offers low resistance (2.5 ohms per yard) solderable conductive thread. It is a conductive thread that is also solderable and it strong enough to be used like regular sewing thread.


Space Face LED Galaxy Makeup

Space Face LED Galaxy Makeup

Wear Space Face Galaxy Light Up Makeup, inspired by the constellation Cassiopeia, and you could be the star of the evening. This spacey headpiece uses 5 FLORA NeoPixels. Make:Wearable Electronics has an example to help you get started using this versatile module. It is wearable, sewable, easily wired, individually addressable, ultra-bright, multicolored LEDs – what’s not to love?

Butterfly Dress designed by Alexander Reeder

Butterfly Dress designed by Alexander Reeder



Perhaps you are going dressed as a “social butterfly.” What could be better than a dress with butterflies that actually flap their wings? If you are interested in wearable tech that utilizes motors, both Make: Wearable Electronics and Making Things Move: DIY Mechanisms for Inventors, Hobbyists, and Artists can help you learn to do just that!



LED Eyelashes

LED Eyelashes by Soomi Park

How about LED eyelashes to go with your butterfly dress? Again, LillyPad is used to build those LED eyelashes that will brighten your eyes! Make: Wearable Electronics also also explains how to work with Aniomagic – an e-textile toolkit that is similar to LilyPad and FLORA. Use Aniomagic to create a light-up bracelet, belts and almost anything else you can dream up to go with those bright eyes and butterfly wings!

Want to have the brightest brain in the room? Create your own “Thinking Cap.” It is biometric-data-driven, and responds to fluctuations in EEG signals.



Whatever bright idea you have about a wearable tech costume – we’ve got the resources – information on everything from circuits and batteries to conductive materials and how to make your ideas wearable!

Happy Halloween!!!



Hartman, Kate. 2014. Make: wearable electronics. Sebastopol, CA : Maker Media. Engineering Library QA76.592 .H37 2014.

DIY: Superhero Communicator Cuffs. 2012. OCAD University.

Light Up Your Life With LEDs, Sewable Circuitry. May 29, 2011. Wired.

Roberts, Dustyn. 2011. Making things move: DIY mechanisms for inventors, hobbyists, and artists. New York : McGraw-Hill. Engineering Library TJ147 .R56 2011

XBee Buying Guide. Sparkfun Electronics. Accessed: Oct. 27, 2015

About LilyPad. LilyPad. Accessed: Oct. 27, 2015

Cool Neon Lighting. 2011. Cool Neon EL Wire.

SparkFun Inventor’s Kit. SparkFun Electronics. Accessed Oct. 27, 2015

How-To: Space Face LED Galaxy Makeup. Oct. 10, 2013.  Maker Media.

LED Galaxy Makeup – SPACE FACE. youtube. Oct. 9, 2013.


Other resources:

LED Eyelash_Soomi Park. youtube. July 20, 2009

Mom’s Homemade ‘Star Wars’ Costumes Will Blow You Away. Oct. 27, 2015. Yahoo! News. abc Good Morning America.

El Nino Costume with Lightning and Real Rain. Oct. 26, 2015.


Explore Our Library! Social Media!

Ever wonder about keeping up with everything we have going on her in the Engineering Library? It is easy – just follow us on social media!!

Follow us on Facebook and find out about special don’t-want-to-miss events – like Pi Day! On a weekly basis we “Spotlight” resources we have – you may discover lots of resources that you didn’t know we had – and maybe didn’t even know you needed!

like_us_fbWe also post “What will they think of next?” on a weekly basis. Find information on lots of new technology being developed and the resources we have that are directly related to these innovations. Resources that will help you learn more about the technology and give you the tools you need to be creative, explore and expand on that technology.

We also keep track of special “National Holidays” – like ‘clean your virtual desktop day,’ ‘Star Wars day,’ and ‘ chocolate day,’ to name just a few. And, yes, we do have resources about chocolate!!
Follow us on Twitter (@UIEngLib) and get brief updates on the latest happenings here at the library.  We do post “Spotlight,” “What will they think of next,” and national holidays here, too, like on we do on Facebook. But since Facebook is usually more in-depth, check Twitter for those quick updates!

There is something new on both Facebook and Twitter every day…don’t miss a day!

PinterestYou’ll want to check Pinterest, too! When we get new books, DVDs, or tools for the Tool Library, we post info on our Pinterest page! You’ll not only find images of the book and DVD covers and pictures of the tools, you’ll also find some brief information and the ability to link directly to the record in the libraries online catalog, InfoHawk.


And, don’t forget Instagram!  We are part of the University of Iowa Libraries Instagram account.Not only will you get interesting and (often fun!) photos from the Engineering Library, you’ll also be able to keep up on what the other libraries on campus are doing!

We also have a blog that you won’t want to miss! Once or twice a week (or more!) a new blog is posted on our homepage! “Explore our Library,” “DIY for the Weekend,” “Xpress Classes,” special events, information on specific resources or subject matter, are just some of the fascinating things that are covered! The links to our blogs are on the bottom left-side of our homepage under Engineering Library News.  The page with the latest blog has a list of archived blogs that are available – in case you’ve missed one!



So, click, like and follow us! You never know what you’ll find out!



DIY for the Weekend: Build Your Own BB-8!

Long ago in a galaxy far, far away….



Halloween is nearly here, The Force Awakens® is in the not too distant future – who doesn’t want a BB-8 to help celebrate?

If you’d like to make your own, working BB-8®Make: Technology On Your Time has all the info you need! Author Christian Poulsen, said “As I watched it [BB-8] roll around [at the Star Wars® Celebration], my only thought was, ‘Need!’ So, I made one.”

Issue 46 of Make provides 3 different approaches to building your own BB-8. The 1st is a DIY by Poulsen. The 2nd is by Kurt Zimmerman who shares the ups and downs of his BB-8 project, and the 3rd is written by Casey Kuhns and explores the way in which a team of engineers and artists created a BB-8 that looks and sounds like the real thing. The 3rd BB-8 design is all open source.

Embedding the magnet

Embedding the magnet


Poulsen estimates it will take one day to complete and cost somewhere between $150 and $200. Beginning with working with a Sphero toy, embedding the magnet, painting, and adding the magnets and felt, Poulsen walks you the process step-by-step. Each of the steps is accompanied by full-color photographs.


And if you really want to go all out with your Star Wars® costuming, MORE Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius has step-by-step instructions for making your own light saber!

Have fun making your own BB-8 and have a fun and safe Halloween!


Star Wars® BB-8 Droid made from a Sphero & Magnets


Make: Technology on Your Time

Make: Technology on Your Time

Poulsen, Christian. 2015: Aug/Sept. Building Your Own BB-8. Make: Technology On Your Time.  2015; pg. 58- 61

Make This Mini Star Wars BB-8 Ball Droid with a Hacked Sphero. 2015. Maker Media.

Iannini, Robert E. 2006. MORE electronic gadgets for the evil genius. New York : McGraw-Hill. Engineering Library TK9965 .I253 2006.



Other Resources:

Sphero. 2015. Sphero.

This is the Droid You’re Looking For.  Sphero. Date accessed October 22, 2015.

Progress Report: Secretive Club Designing, 3D Printing a Full-Size BB-8. Oct. 23, 2015. Maker Media.

Halloween costumes.


How Many Moles in a Mole?

mole It is National Mole Day! 

Sorry cute (?), burrowing creature, it isn’t your day.

National Mole Day is celebrated by chemists and chemistry students on October 23rd. The mole is honored between 6:02 a.m. and 6:02 p.m. This makes the date 6:02 10/23, And where did that number come from and why does it deserve it’s own day?

6.02×10^23 is called the Avogadro Constant and it defines the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in one mole of substance.

Periodic Table

Periodic Table

The mass of a mole of substance is called the molar mass. The molar mass is used to convert grams of a substance to moles. The molar mass of an element is found on the periodic table, and it is the element’s atomic mass in grams/mole (g/mol). An interactive periodic table can be found here: To explore calculating the mass of a single atom, you will also need to know the atomic mass. Want to try calculating an atomic mass? You can find an interactive example here:

In simple terms, a mole of anything is always 6.02×10²³. This invented unit is a consistent and convenient measuring unit much like saying a dozen or a byte.

How to celebrate National Mole Day, you ask? 

Chemistry for Today

Chemistry for Today Engineering Library FOLIO QD31.3 .S42 2014

1. Read a one of our many chemistry books! We have lots of resources, including:

Corwin, Charles H., Introductory Chemistry : Concepts and Critical Thinking, 7th edition. Boston : Pearson, 2014. Engineering Library FOLIO QD33.2 .C67 2014

Seager, Spencer L. Chemistry for Today : General, organic, and biochemistry. Belmont, CA : Brooks/Cole, 2014. Engineering Library FOLIO QD31.3 .S42 2014

2. Test your Mole knowledge by taking this quiz.

3. Tell mole jokes.

Where did Avogadro stay on is vacation? A mole-tel.
What do chemists wear when it’s cold? Ther-mole underwear.

4. Try a mole experiment.

5. Watch a New York Times science video about moles.


Amedeo Avogadro Biography. The Famous People. Accessed Oct. 22, 2015

What Is a Mole and Why are Moles Used?. 2015.  About Education.



Explore Our Library: Media:Scape!

Working on a group project? Finding it difficult to find a space to collaborate? Need a space where it is easy to share your ideas and information from your laptop?

We have just the space you need! We have 2 group study pods – and pod 1 is equipped with media:scape!

Group Study Pod 1

Group Study Pod 1

Media:scape is designed for easy collaboration – your group may connect up to 6 electronic devices. Each device is then able to send the info on their screens to the large-screen monitor. This allows your group to share documents, images, videos, or websites instantly. Connection cords are located in the “well” in the center of the table and each connection cord has a “puck” which will glow when it is properly connected.  Once your device is connected, you simply tap the puck and the information from your laptop is instantly displayed on the monitor. Being able to share your information so quickly and easily has obvious advantages when you are working on a group project. Each person is able to work individually and immediately share with the rest of the group. Being able to view all the group members’ contributions can really enhance brainstorming and the the creative process.

The adapters which are needed to connect personal devices to the media:scape are available for check out at the circulation desk. A reservation sign-up sheet is posted on the window of each group study pod. Both group study pods are also equipped with a large whiteboard and dry erase markers are available at the circulation desk.

The combination of the media:scape and the whiteboard makes group study pod 1 the ideal space to work on that group project!