Halloween Monster Alert!! How Will You Protect Yourself?


Happy Halloween: Vol. 3



It is nearly Halloween and goblins, mummies, zombies and monsters are everywhere!

How can you protect yourself??


There are several DIY projects that can help you detect those menacing monsters!

“Monster-B-Gone” can be built in 2-4 hours at a cost of about $30 to $40. Make : Technology on Your Time (v. 52, 2016 Aug/Sept) has step-by-step instruction (complete with color photos) that will teach you how to put it together, program it, and add upgrades (i.e. sound effects!). the perfect accessory to have with you as you creep through that haunted house….


Engineering Library TK7882.E2 G685 2012

Perhaps laser night vision is more your style. 101 Spy Gadgets for the Evil Genius can show you how to create your own long-range laser night vision illuminator. There are pictures and clear, step-by-step instructions. The author, Brad Graham, does warn, however, about the dangers of working with lasers and the need for proper laser safety equipment.  This is part of an entire section devoted to “Peering into the Night,” and it may give you more ideas to help facilitate your monster detection!

Maybe you’d prefer a portable alarm system? 101 Spy Gadgets for the Evil Genius has a portable alarm system that is “a simple yet effective security system that is perfect for temporarily protecting an area or building.” There is a parts list, photos, graphics, and complete instructions. And, if you aren’t worried about monsters and goblins, this alarm is perfect for protecting your luggage and valuables when you travel.

Do you have some basic electronic skills and about $30 to $45? More Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius will help you create your own body heat detector! Could be useful when you are out searching for zombies (wait, do zombies give off body heat?). Don’t want to go search for zombies and monsters? This body heat detector could help you locate that run-away dog or cat! Full of illustrations, photos and complete instructions, More Electronic Gadgets for the Evil Genius will help you create your very own body heat detector!

These resources should give your creativity a jump-start as you think about Halloween DIY projects!





Monster Detector. Make : Technology on your time. Volume 52, 2016 Aug/Sept.

Graham, Brad. 101 spy gadgets for the evil genius. 2nd edition. 2012. New York, NY : McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics. Engineering Library TK7882.E2 G685 2012

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

Guest Post: Open access journals, a valuable resource for researchers

Open Access logo

During the month of Open Access week (October 24-30, 2016) we will be highlighting a number of guest posts from University of Iowa Faculty and Staff who have personal experience making their work Open Access.  We appreciate their contributions.Leone~Jose

The second guest post is by Jose Pablo Leone, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology.

See his Iowa Research Online deposited publications here.

My name is Jose Pablo Leone, I am Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at the University of Iowa. I have used the University of Iowa Libraries’ OA Fund a number of times and it has been a great resource. The staff at the Library is extremely helpful, they have helped me identify target journals and search the literature several times. Publishing articles in open access journals in my experience has been very gratifying. It allows for a much broader reception of the manuscript, many more researchers around the world are able to read it, making for a wider audience, and as a result of these you become more acknowledged by these researchers. In addition, I have found the free access and the self archiving features very valuable, this allows you to easily share your articles with your peers and collaborators. Researchers often struggle when they cannot access an important manuscript due to non-open access policies. In this regard, the opportunity to publish your work in open access allows creating potential collaborations with researchers that are focusing on your same topic in different countries. I have had the pleasure of being contacted by researchers about some of the articles I published open access and it has been a great experience. Another advantage of open access journals is that as your article gets more reads, it could also get more citations, making the impact of your manuscript stronger. Most journals also offer very user friendly tools to track the reception of your article, such as number of reads, downloads, citations, social media, etc. Finally, there are many misconceptions about open access journals that I would like to mention, for example, many people have the wrong concept that an open access article will not be cited in public databases such as PubMed, this is not true and depends on the journal rather than the open access policy or not. Some researchers believe that the open access journal will not have an impact factor, this is not correct, many open access journals do have established impact factors, however it is important to check this with each journal, as many of the newer journals will not have an impact factor yet. Lastly, some authors do not consider open access journals under the wrong impression that the article will not be peer reviewed, the reality is that submissions to open access journals do undergo a full peer review process and in addition, quite often the timing of this process is faster in open access journals.

Vieussens, Neurographia Universalis | October 2016 Notes from the John Martin Rare Book Room


RAYMOND VIEUSSENS (1641-1715?). Neurographia universalis. Lyons: Apud Joannem Certe, 1685

picture of Raymond Vieussens

The son of a French army officer, Vieussens provided his own support, studying philosophy at Rhodez and medicine at Montpellier. As physician to the hospital of Saint Eloy in Montpellier,performed over five hundred postmortem examinations.  He made a number of anatomical discoveries during these exams.

This well-illustrated compendium of the anatomy of the nervous system is based on these examinations and provides the most complete description of the brain and spinal cord to appear during the seventeenth century.

Vieussens was one of the first anatomists to dissect out the internal capsule, corona radiata, cerebral peduncles, and the pyramidal fasiculi of the pons. The twenty-two folding copperplates, printed on fine, thin paper, are in excellent condition in this copy.

brain_transverse_section_of_cerebral_hemisphere__wellcome_l0002346You may view this book in the John Martin Rare Book Room, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.  Make a gift to the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences by donating online or setting up a recurring gift with The University of Iowa Foundation.

Have a Terror-ific Halloween!

Macaque Skeleton. On loan from the Museum of Natural History.

Happy Halloween: Vol. 2

The tress are changing color, the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer, and the weather is getting cooler – and that means that Halloween is just around the corner! What better way to get in the mood than to stop in to the Engineering Library and check out the Terror-ific Halloween exhibit! Come and see the many skeletons (including a vampire bat!) and a jar of newts (anybody find the eye?).

Common Vampire Bat Mounted Skeleton. On loan from the Museum of Natural History

Common Vampire Bat Mounted Skeleton. On loan from the Museum of Natural History

Interested in exploring how engineering relates to the human skeleton?

As baby boomers are maturing, more and more are having knees, shoulders, and hips replaced, vision correction surgery, hearing aids, and more. For more information pick up Biomedical Engineering Principles of the Bionic Man.  In it, author George K. Hung brings together principles and techniques for the repair and replacement of organs and joints. It has contributions from leading scientists in various areas, including biomedical, electrical, mechanical engineering, orthopedic surgery, optometry and more. Biomaterials in Modern Medicine : the Groningen Perspective, edited by Gerhard Rakhorst and Rutger Ploeg, is written from a medical perspective and moves through the process of medical product development. It includes information about design of biomedical products, technology assessments, haemocompatibility of medical devices, and tissue and cell interaction with materials. It also discusses several cases studies dealing with these issues.

Lumbar Injury Biomechanics deals directly with spinal injuries, looking at a broad range of causes. Editor Jeffrey A. Pike covers everything from transportation injuries, falls, military injuries, sports and personal violence. This is a great resource for anyone interested in biomechanics accident reconstruction, and rehabilitation! If you are interested in prosthetics, Technology and Touch : The Biopaolitics of Emerging Technologies looks at the development of new touch technologies – from technologies we touch (i.e. keyboards, smart phones) to the technologies that touch us (i.e. prosthetics, smart clothing).

Macaque Skeleton. On loan from the Museum of Natural History.

Macaque Skeleton. On loan from the Museum of Natural History.

Look at these eye sockets!

Did you know that prosthetic eyes date back to at least 2,900 BC? The materials and technology have (obviously) changed a great deal since the beginning. The prosthetic eye has gone from being made out of clay, wood and ivory, enameled silver and gold, glass and now to polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) plastic. Interested in learning more about ocular prosthetics? Clinical Ocular Prosthetics is a comprehensive look at ocular prosthetics and gathers information from ophthalmology, prosthetic eye and contact lens literature. The editors also tackle the psychological, anatomical and physiological aspects of eye loss, and includes patient evaluations, constructing prosthetic eyes, dealing with socket complications and more.

Besides the vampire bat and Macaque skeleton, and the jar of newts, the Museum of Natural History also lent us the casts of a rattlesnake, a bull frog and the skull of a red sheep. The University of Iowa’s Hardin Library for the Health Sciences lent a replica of a human skull – complete (or incomplete?) with missing teeth! They also lent us a replica of leg and foot bones. Thank you to both the Museum of Natural History and Hardin Library for the Health Sciences!

Come in the Library, check out our exhibit, and start thinking Halloween!!


Terror-ific Halloween Exhibit 2016

Terror-ific Halloween Exhibit 2016



Hung, George K. 2010. Biomedical engineering principles of the bionic man. Singapore : World Scientific. Engineering Library RD130 .B565 2010

Rakhorst, Gerhard; Ploeg, Rutger, editors. 2008. Biomaterials in modern medicine : the Groningen perspective. New Jersey : World Scientific. Engineering Library R857.M3 B5727 2008

Pike, Jeffrey A. 2013. Lumbar injury biomechanics. Warrendale, PA : SAE International. Engineering Library RD768 .P55 2013 

Cranny-Frances, Anne. 2013. Technology and touch : the biopolitics of emerging technologies. Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York, NY : Palgrave Macmillan. Engineering Library T173.8 .C736 2013

Pine, Keith R. 2015. Clinical Ocular Prosthetics. Cham : Springer International Publishing. Engineering Library RE986 .P56 2015


It is ‘Leaf-Peeping’ Season!


It’s fall!

Don’t miss the trees turning those gorgeous colors!

Fall colors in Vermont. Photo Credit: Elissa C. Johnk

Fall colors in Vermont. Photo Credit: Elissa C. Johnk

The days are shorter and cooler and the trees are changing colors. Beautiful deep reds, oranges, and vibrant yellows…. So, how does that happen, and why in the fall?

Trees that change color are called deciduous (which means it sheds leaves annually) or broad-leaf trees, which have, obviously, broad leaves with a relatively large surface area. Leaves have two purposes – to convert carbon dioxide to oxygen (thank a tree for our fresh air!) and also to convert sunlight into energy for the tree. The large surface area helps the leaves gather more sunlight and therefore, more energy. The leaves “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “exhale” oxygen (for more information about this process check Plant Biochemistry by Florence K. Gleason with Raymond Chollet).

Leaves actually have several other pigments, besides green, which are always present – red, yellow, orange and even purple (beets, carrots, cherries!). The leaves on trees (and many plants) have so much green pigment, however, that the other colors aren’t visible – until fall, that is! The green pigment comes from chlorophyll which is used in photosynthesis (the complex process by which carbon dioxide and water are converted into carbohydrates by using the energy from the sun). The carbohydrates that are formed are then stored in the branches, roots, and buds of the trees.


A deciduous tree which has turned red stands next to a coniferous tree which remained green. Photo Credit: Carol Grow Johnk

We all know that, in the fall, days get shorter and cooler and the nights get longer – and cooler! Broadleaf trees are sensitive to sunlight – they need the sunlight to transform the chlorophyll. When there is less sunlight, the leaves make less chlorophyll, which means the trees become less green and the other pigments begin to become visible. Different types of trees have differing amounts of pigment – for example, trees with more anthocynins (the pigment responsible for the red and purple hues) will be more red than those with less.  Temperature, sunlight, and soil moisture also influence the quality of the fall colors. A spring and summer with ample moisture followed by a dry, cool, and sunny autumn will produce the brightest fall colors.

Why do leaves fall? Without chlorophyll to help them make energy, they are no longer needed. The energy that they have produced is stored in the tree. The other pigments also eventually break down – when there is even less light, or if they are frozen. The only pigment that then remains is brown (tannins), and at that point the leaves drop off. The tree then lives through the winter on the energy that it has stored. When the days begin to get longer and warmer, the tree grows new leaves and the process begins all over again.

(Why don’t coniferous trees – evergreens, firs, etc. – change color and drop their needles? Briefly, needles are smaller, more watertight, more wind resistant and are able to photosynthesize all year long. Since needles have a reduced surface area, they are harder to destroy – and less tasty for insects!).

For a short, easy-to-understand, explanation of why leaves change color in the fall, watch this SciShow Kids video!


Here are resources where you can find more information!

Beck. Charles B. An introduction to plant structure and development : plant anatomy for the twenty-first century. Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press. Engineering Library QK641 .B38 2010

Gleason, Florence K. Plant Biochemistry. 2012. Sudbury, MA : Jones & Bartlett Learning. Engineering Library QK861 .G64 2012

Baranoski, G.V.G. 2004. Light interaction with plants : a computer graphics perspective. Chichester : Horwood Pub. Engineering Library QK757 .B37 2004

Deciduous vs. Coniferous. The Roaming Naturalist. Date Accessed: Oct. 5, 2016

The Science of Color in Autumn Leaves. 2011. The United States National Arboretum.

First man made, biologically functional Leaf that Turns Light and Water into Oxygen. 2014. youtube.com



Happy Leaf Peeping!!


Photo Credit: Elissa C. Johnk


Guest Post: Open

During the month of Open Access week (October 24-30, 2016) we will be highlighting a number of guest posts from University of Iowa Faculty and Staff who have personal experience making their work Open Access.  We appreciate their contributions.

The first guest post is by Chioma M. Okeoma, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Microbiology.  okeoma

See her Iowa Research Online deposited publications here.

Open access (OA) literally means making literature available to researchers, teachers, journalists, policy makers, and the general public without barriers. Without the open access mechanism, readers or consumers of scientific findings would face price and permission barriers for the use of research findings.

For authors like me, OA provides unlimited access to our work to anyone regardless of their geographic location. The benefits are optimal dissemination of intellectual findings, rigorous peer and public discourse, and increased citations. Above all, OA provides an author maximum visibility and impact for research findings. As authors benefit from publishing OA, so do institutions.

Of course OA publishing is not without a cost to authors because OA publishers charge fees to cover costs. However, the cost of publishing may be covered by grants to authors, or by government and/or institutional subsidies depending on the country and institution. For example, the University of Iowa is a huge proponent of OA publishing. The University through the Office of the Provost and University Libraries provides funds to cover the fees for OA publishing; http://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/scholarly_publishing/OAfund. So when next you think of publishing, think OA. Try it and you will find being “OPEN” truly rewarding.

Chioma M. Okeoma, Ph.D

Time to Kick-Start That Project!


Hey students!
Are you interested in giving your idea, project, or invention a kick-start?
Want to make that project a reality?


A new program, Kick-Start, has been developed for engineering students (undergraduate and graduate) to request funding to pay for prototyping and/or finishing projects using the services offered through the Creative Space, Engineering Electronic Shop (EES) and the Engineering Machine Shop (EMS). There will be ten $500 awards!! How exciting is that!?

There are a limited number of Kick-Starts to be awarded this year – so this is a competitive process! Make sure to check the Kick-Start webpage to get complete details!

Briefly, any student (graduate or undergraduate) may apply for a Kick-Start award. You come up with an idea, find a faculty or staff sponsor, complete an online application form, attend an in-person workshop (approximately an hour), and present your project in April! (Please be sure to check all the rules and recommendations before submitting your application!)

In case you haven’t seen our new Creative Space (what are you waiting for!?) – here’s a video from our Open House.

For more complete details, refer to the Kick-Start webpage. The September 30, 2016 Kick-Start blog also has more complete information.

We have the resources and the support needed to help bring your idea to reality!
So, what are you waiting for?
Kick-Start your project now!!


Measure your scholarly impact | H-Index, Impact Factor, Eigenfactor | workshop Wed., Oct. 5, 11-12pm


This class will teach participants how to use tools such as Ulrich’s, Journal Citation Reports, Web of Science, and Scopus to determine the impact that journals, articles, and authors have had on a particular field. Topics such as impact factors, Eigenfactors, and H-indices will also be discussed.
Register online or by calling 319-335-9151.

More information about H-Index
The h-index is an index to quantify an individual’s scientific research output. J.E. Hirsch – http://www.pnas.org/content/102/46/16569



Interested in doing some “Punkin Chunkin” for Halloween?


The days are getting cooler and Halloween is almost here!

Want to put your engineering skills to work and have fun doing it? How about making your own Punkin Chunkin trebuchet or catapult?

Pumpkin Chucking. Photo Credit Peter Dutton.

Punkin Chunkin. Photo Credit Peter Dutton.

Most of us know what a catapult is, but do you know what is different between a catapult and a trebuchet?  A trebuchet uses a sling and has a counter-weight which, as it is dropped, forces the long arm up to pull the sling and the projectile along a slide at the base. The counter-weight uses the pull of gravity to provide the force necessary for the arm to swing upwards. The sling increases the length of the arm which increases the length of the throw. The catapult, on the other hand, uses a leaf spring mechanism to release the long arm. A rope is wrapped around a rotating drum and when the spring mechanism is released, so is the arm and the projectile. A catapult also has a cup at the end rather than the sling that a trebuchet has.

In 15 Dangerously Mad Projects for the Evil Genius, author Simon Monk says, “The trebuchet takes its energy from the weight that falls as the arm swings. The ‘potential’ energy is transferred to the arm and sling of the trebuchet and is released as kinetic energy in the tennis ball.” (or pumpkin…). He then explains that when you know the energy stored in the weight and how far the projectile can be thrown, then the energy going into the system and the energy released can be measured.  Input energy can be calculated using the formula: E=mgh where ‘m’ is the mass of the weight, ‘g’ is the gravitational acceleration on Earth (9.8) and ‘h’ is the height.  You can also calculate the amount of energy transferred to the tennis ball using the distance it traveled and its weight. E=1|2 mv2 where d=v2|g v2=dg. You can then calculate the efficiency of the catapult by dividing the energy transferred by the energy input.  From this, you are then able to calculate the efficiency of your trebuchet! Ready to try to build your own? Monk also provides step-by-step, illustrated instructions, including a list of parts needed! The trebuchet project is  rated as “Small,” (1/2 day to 1 day to complete) and the skill level receives 2 out of 4 stars (a small mount of soldering is required).

Gravity Catapult. Photo credit: Make : Technology on Your Time

Gravity Catapult. Photo credit: Make : Technology on Your Time

Rather make a catapult? Make : Technology on Your Time (volume 28, pages 84-94) will walk you through the process of building a gravity catapult. The larger the item you want to hurl through the air, the larger the catapult needs to be. Author William Gurstelle cautions that there are incredible stresses on the working parts of the catapult and if something should bend or break, it can be dangerous. He also emphasizes that a catapult is big. Once you build it, you need to have a place to store it (and to use it!) The gravity catapult shown in this issue of Make is small and light enough for one person to move. It also has wheels and (sort of) folds flat. Still want to try your hand? This includes an explanation of how it works, a list of materials and tools needed and complete building instructions accompanied by color illustrations!


Trebuchet. Photo credit: Stirling Warsolf

Trebuchet. Photo credit: Stirling Warsolf

The World Championship Punkin Chunkin contest has categories for both the trebuchet and the catapult.  (Did you even know there is a World Championship Punkin Chunkin Contest?) It’s being held in Bridgeport, Delaware, this year. The goal is to encourage teams to use their science and engineering skills and also attract tourists. All the money raised goes to scholarships and community-based non-profits which support area youth. And in case you are wondering if Punkin Chunkin is a waste of good food, this is what the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) website says, “Majority of the pumpkins that are grown for competition are hybrids. Each year, we donate all the remaining edible pumpkins to farmers to feed to their animals. Shooting pumpkins has resulted in us being able to donate over 1 million dollars since 2000.”

If you don’t have the space to build a full-size catapult or trebuchet, how about making a smaller, desk-size version? Watch the video to learn to make a Mini Candy Launching Catapult!



Disclaimer: The Engineering Library does not condone the theft or destruction of personal property or harming anyone while punkin chunkin.



Monk, Simon. 2011. 15 dangerously mad projects for the evil genius. New York : McGraw Hill. Engineering Library TK9965 .M66 2011

World Championship Punkin Chunkin. 2016. Punkin Chunkin

Other Resources:

Punkin Chunkin 2010. Science Channel. Date accessed September 29, 2016.

Desktop Warfare: Jonas Dalidd’s Winning 3D Printed Catapult. 2013.  Make:

How to Build a Catapult – A Popsicle Stick Catapult. 2016. Storm Castle Catapults. Kalif Publishing.

Kids Too Old for Pumpkin Patches? Try Pumpkin Chucking. 2016. About Travel.


Special Collections News 9/30/2016

14494808_10210144147297106_2260681333170170544_nNewsfeed: Lichtenberger Library Stretches Imagination.  http://daily-iowan.com/2016/09/29/lichtenberger-library-stretches-imagination/ Jim Downey preserves history as a book conservator.  http://www.voxmagazine.com/arts/books/james-downey-preserves-history-as-a-book-conservationist/article_e7617891-4e3a-50b7-b4dc-7da414277c1e.html As the UI prepares for its 104th-annual Homecoming, traditions new and old are explored.  http://daily-iowan.com/2016/09/30/homecoming-roars-into-town/http://daily-iowan.com/2016/09/30/homecoming-roars-into-town/ Randy […]