New Sound Recordings Exhibit in the Library!

This week’s blog is from Keegan Hockett, who curated this exhibit. Keegan Hockett is a graduate music student pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Bassoon Performance and Pedagogy with a secondary area in musicology. He also works as a research assistant for the Office of Community Engagement, finding opportunities for UI students who wish to engage with their local communities.  

Listening to recorded music in our day and age is a simple process that is easy to take for granted. For many of us, it looks something like this: 


Step 1: Choose your preferred device 

Step 2: Open your music library or favorite streaming service 

Step 4: Search for a band, song, genre, etc. 

Step 5. Hit Play 


Digital audio formats allow music to be at our fingertips, but this ease of access has been a long journey in the making – sound could be recorded and reproduced as early as 1877! Early recordings were made using an analog, mechanical process, but these “records” had many limitations. Sound quality, storage capacity, and longevity have all improved through engineering innovations, whether they be electrical, chemical, or mechanical. Some recordings formats were short-lived and have been largely forgotten but others remain ubiquitous in contemporary culture. Vinyl records, cassette tapes, and CDs are made of different materials, have different forms, and work in different ways, but each are capable of holding sounds captured from a moment in time. To learn more about how these formats work, check out the Lichtenberger Engineering Library’s newest exhibit on recording technologies! Additional resources on acoustics and sound engineering are available in our stacks downstairs. 

Engineering Halloween

Happy Spooky Season! The weather is changing here on campus and it’s almost time for Halloween. You may wonder why the Engineering Library would care about a holiday that we celebrate by dressing up and eating candy. Remember – engineering is the science of applied EVERYTHING and that includes Halloween! Come on in and check out our exhibit: Engineering Halloween. It will be up through the end of the month.


Witches around a bubbling cauldron may seem far from scientific, but humans have long relied on home remedies to handle most illnesses, the making of some may resemble brewing a potion. You won’t find any eye of newt or blood of a dragon in modern pharmaceuticalsToday’s cauldron, the glass beaker, must be able to stand high heatThe ASTM creates standards for lab equipment to help ensure that chemists won’t end up with their potion on the bench. For more information on standards and their importance in engineering, visit our standards guide! 

Ghost Hunting

Some people believe that on Halloween the veil between the physical and spiritual worlds is pulled aside, which makes it the perfect time to go hunting for ghosts! If you’ve ever watched a ghost hunting show you might have seen ghost hunters use specialized tools like a spirit box or an EMF reader. Other tools are more commonplace. For example, some ghost hunters use thermal cameras and infrared thermometers, like the ones in our Tool Library, to capture cold spots – a supposed paranormal phenomenon. Sometimes ghosts can get more physical – like pushing and hitting people. Sometimes those sensations have a more earthly explanation that can be easily fixed. If people feel like they’re getting pushed down your stairs, check out a level to make sure those stairs are as flat and safe as they should be before you go calling the Ghostbusters. 


Want to take first place at this year’s costume contest? Consider integrating some wearable technology into your look. Use CAD and a 3D printer to create your whole costume, or just a piece or two and you’ll have a costume no one else does. You can also make sure you’re seen by adding LED’s! Check out this LilyPad Constellation Project to see the system in action. With a little knowledge of sewing and circuits, you can outshine the competition. With careful engineering and planning, you can also add elements like moving wings. It may be a little late to make glowing articulated wings like this project, but it’s not too early to plan for next year! 


Stop in and see our exhibit “Engineering Halloween” which will be up for the rest of the month.