National Worship of Tools Day!!!


Can you imagine a life without tools? We can’t! And you don’t have to! We have approximately 233 tools in our Tool Library – and are always adding more! 


We have all sorts of things! We have laptotps and iPads, chargers and cables,  hammers and screwdrivers, 3D scanners and hot glue guns, GoPro cameras and Raspberry Pi – all available to check out! We also have an Occulus Rift for use in the library! 



Need a video game screwdriver set? We’ve got that! Wire cutter/stripper? Yup, we’ve got that. Sound level meter? We have that, too! Multimeter? Projector? Heat Gun Kit? Oscilloscope? Yes, yes, yes, and yes! We have those!!  

We have 3D scanners, cables and chargers (63!), 5 laptops, 12 iPads, calipers, a 25-foot tape measure, speed gun, wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, socket set . . .

And, we have just added 2 Video Conference Meeting Cameras (Owls) and a vibration meter! 


Check our Tool Library to see everything that is available!

Happy National Worship of Tools Day!!



Other Resources:

Hardord, Tim. 2017. 50 Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy. New York : Riverhead Books. Engineering Library T15 .H343 2017

Worship of Tools Day : 2019 National Worship of Tools. Date accessed: March 2019.


It’s Pi Day 2018!!


March 14th is Pi Day!!!


Beginning geometry students might remember finding the area of a circle – pi x radius squared…. But, what is Pi (π) and why does it rate its very own day?

Pi is one of the most famous and mysterious of numbers. Defined as the ratio of the circumference of a circle to it’s diameter, Pi seems simple. However, it is an irrational number. An irrational number cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction and the decimal representation therefore never ends, nor does it ever settle into a permanent repeating pattern. Scientists have calculated billions of digits of Pi, starting with 3.14159265358979323…. with no end in sight. It could be calculated to infinity and there would be absolutely no way to know which number would come next.

Pi is not only irrational, it is also transcendental! A transcendental number is a number that is not a root of any algebraic equation having integral coefficients, as π  or e. All transcendental numbers are irrational, but not all irrational numbers are transcendental. . .

Pi is used all around us every day – Christian Constanda, the University of Tulsa’s C.S. Oliphant professor of mathematical sciences, says, “Look at a football: when you compute the volume, then Pi gets involved in the formula.” Constanda also said, “If you drive through a puddle, creating a wave with the car, that involves Pi. If you see a tornado, that definitely involves Pi.”

Designers Cristian Ilies Vasile and Martin Krzywinski transformed the number pi into stunning works of art. Check out Martin’s website for an explanation of how he creates his amazing works.


Dots are used to represent the adjacency between digits showing the progression and transition for the first 10,000 digits of pi. DailyMail
Accuracy of 10,000 rational approximations of π for each m/n and m=1…10000. Martin Krzywinski.



Want to see what 100,00 digits of Pi look like? Go here.

Some Pi Day Fun Facts:

  • In the Star Trek© television episode, Wolf in the Fold, Spock defeats an evil enemy in the Enterprise’s computer system. How? He ordered it to “compute to the last digit the value of pi.” Which we know can not be computed!
  • The number 360 occupies the 360th position in the digits of Pi.
  • Divide the length of a river – with all the bends and curves – by the length of the river would be “as the crow flies,” the average ration will be approximately Pi. Watch this youtube video for an explanation!
  • In 2008 a crop circle with Pi embedded in it appeared near Barbury Castle in Wiltshire, England.

Want to impress your friends with how many digits of Pi you can recite? Here is a song that should help you remember….

Code Embed: Cannot use CODECJ3 as a global code as it is being used to store 2 unique pieces of code in 13 posts

The Pi Song. Originally sung by Hard ‘N Phirm. Sept. 17, 2006

Take a look around today – how many instances of Pi can you find? Or sit and contemplate a piece of your favorite pie…

Just remember – you’d be irrational to not celebrate Pi Day!



Adrian, Y. E. O.. The pleasures of pi,e and other interesting numbers. 2006. Singapore : World Scientific. Engineering Library QA95 .A2 2006

Posamentier, Alfred S. 2004. [Pi] : a biography of the world’s most mysterious number. Amherst, N.Y. : Prometheus Books. Engineering Library QA484 .P67 2004

Maths has never looked so appealing! Oct. 3, 2013.

The Pi Song. Originally sung by Hard ‘N Phirm. Sept. 17, 2006.

Mead, Wendy. March 13, 2015. Fascinating Facts About Pi Day & Birthday Boy Albert Einstein. A&E Television Network, LLC. Bio.

Rouse, Margaret. Definition : Transcendental Number. TechTarget.

West, Marc. July 1, 2008. Pi appears in a crop circle. +plus magazine .

Interesting Facts about Pi. 2016.

Walton, Rod. March 14, 2014. Pi common in everyday life, not just dessert. Tulsa World .

Swanson, Ana. March 14, 2015. 10 stunning images show the beauty hidden in pi. The Washington Post .

Martin Krzywinski Science Art. 1999-2018.  Martin Krzywinski.


Other Resources:

Stewart, Ian. 2013. Visions of infinity : the great mathematical problems. New York, NY : Basic Books. Engineering Library QA93 .S75 2013

Stewart, Ian. 2015. Professor Stewart’s incredible numbers. New York : NY : Basic Books. Engineering Library QA241 .S8123 2015

Happy Pi Day (3.14) Domino Spiral. March 13, 2011.

It’s National Puzzle Day!!

Are you addicted to Sudoku? Rubik’s Cube© ? Logic puzzles?

Well, you are in luck, because —

January 29th is National Puzzle Day!!


  • Nothing is a difficult as it seems
  • Nothing is as easy as it looks
  • Puzzles always have one, several, or no solutions
(Gianni A. Sarcone in the introduction to Impossible Folding Puzzles and Other Mathematical Paradoxes)

SO many puzzles! Where does one even begin!?

How about Tic-Tac-Toe! 

How much time did you spend playing tick-tac-toe when you were a kid?  Did you realize the person who had the first go was at a disadvantage? The first player actually has to draw one connecting line longer than the opponent.  So, if you are the first to go and still win, that’s impressive! If you add more squares – say 18 – there are 153 connecting lines. Which means there are 3153 game situations – roughly equivalent to the number of particles in the universe. Searching for a winning strategy is quite impossible and sometimes referred to as “computational chaos.” I had trouble winning with just 9 squares….

Another popular grid puzzle is Sudoku. The most common version of the puzzle consists of 9 squares by 9 squares – a grid of 81 squares. The grid is divided into 9 blocks, each containing 9 squares. The rules: each of the 9 blocks must contain all the numbers 1 – 9 within the squares. Each number can only appear once in a row, column or box. The tricky part is that each vertical 9-square column or horizontal 9-square line – within the larger square – must also contain each of the numbers 1 – 9, with no repeats… Each puzzle has only one solution…

If that isn’t challenging enough, there are also circular Sudoku puzzles!

Each of the 4 rings and 8 quarter circles have the numbers 1 through 8 (unlike the square version which has 9). Of course, you can always have 3-ring puzzles, or 5 and 6 ring puzzles. Variants and puzzles can be found in Nets, Puzzles, and Postmen.

How many of us have tried to solve the Rubik’s Cube© ?

The classic Rubik’s Cube© consists  of 26 cubelets on 3 levels. Each level of cubelets can be twisted by 90 or 180 degrees. If you twist the layers independently the cube can be brought into approximately 43 million, trillion possible states of the cube (yes, really 43 million trillion!) … The goal? Make each side of nine cubelets the same color. Tomas Rokicki, a Stanford trained mathematician, ran a program on the supercomputer at Sony Pictures Imageworks. The computing time required the equivalent of 50 years of computing – and with solving more than 25 million billion configurations none were recorded that required fewer than 22 moves. Are you able to do it in 22 moves? Are you able to do it in fewer than 22 moves?

Are you able to solve it in a minute and a half? This robot made with Legos© and Raspberry Pi (we have the Raspberry Pi 2 in our Tool Library!) can!


Ready for the grown-up version of the baby donut stacker?

The Tower of Hanoi is a much more complicated form of the donut stacker. It was invented by the French mathematician, Edouard Lucas, and was first sold as a toy in 1883. The goal is to transfer the tower of 8 disks to one of the 2 vacant pegs in the fewest moves possible…without putting a larger disk on a smaller one…. For 8 disks that will take 255 moves… If you haven’t figured it out for yourself, the complete mathematical formulas are on pages 196-200 in Famous Puzzles of Great Mathematicians.



Logic puzzles more your style? Try to solve these – good luck!!

  • Wine & Water:
    • A dishonest servant takes 3 pints of wine from a barrel and replaces those pints with the same amount of water. He repeats his theft twice, removing a total of 9 pints, replacing those pints with water. As a result, the diluted wine remaining in the barrel lost half of its former strength. How much wine did the barrel originally hold?
  • Animals in a field:
    • A cow, a goat, and a goose graze on grass in a field. The cow eats the same quantity of grass as the goat and the goose together. the cow and the goat eat all of the grass in the field in 45 days, the cow and the goose in 60 days, and the goat and the goose in 90 days. How many days will it take the cow, the goat, and the goose together to eat all of the grass, assuming that the grass grows at the same daily rate?
  • Compose plane figures/Fibonacci’s numbers:
    • Make a rectangle without any gaps by using small squares whoe sides are the Fibonacci numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, and 21.

(answers to these puzzles can be found in Famous Puzzles of Great Mathematicians.)

Want more logic puzzles? Origami, Eleusis, and the Soma Cube, by Martin Gardner presents (among others) a puzzle called The Monkey and the Coconuts…

Ever heard of the “pea and the sun paradox?” A solid of any size (a small pea for example), can be partitioned into a finite number of pieces and then reassembled to form another solid of any specified shape and volume, (the sun, for example). Is that even possible? Author Leonard Wapner explores this (and many more) puzzles in The Pea & the Sun : A Mathematical Paradox.

Or perhaps you would rather eat the puzzle? Try the chocolate puzzle with real chocolate bars and enjoy them once you have solved the puzzle!




The solution may found on page 67 of Impossible Folding Puzzles and Other Mathematical Paradoxes.








Smullyan, Raymond M. 2009. Satan, Cantor and infinity : mind-boggling puzzles. Mineola, NY : Dover Publications. Engineering Library QA 95 .S5 2009 

Szpior, George. 2010. A mathematical medley : fifty easy pieces on mathematics. Providence, R.I. : American Mathematical Society. Engineering Library QA93 .S973 2010

Gardner, Martin. Hexaflexagons, probability paradoxes, and the tower of Hanoi. 2008. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press. Engineering Library QA95 .G247 2008

Higgins, Peter M. Nets, puzzles, and postmen. 2007. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press. Engineering Library QA95 .H54 2007

Clarke, Barry R. 2013. Mathematical puzzles & curiosities. Mineola, N.Y. : Dover Publications. Engineering Library QA95 .C53 2013

Petkovic, Miodrag S. Famous puzzles of great mathematicians.Providence, R.I. : American Mathematical Society. Engineering Library QA95 .P4358 2009 2009

Sarcone, Gianni A. 2013.  Impossible folding puzzles and other mathematical paradoxes. Mineola, New York : Dover Publications. Engineering Library QA95 .S315 2013

Gardner, Martin. 2008. Origami, Eleusis, and the Soma cube: Martin Garnder’s mathematical diversions. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press. Engineering Library AQ95 .G2975 2008

Wapner, Leonard M. 2005. The pea & the sun : a mathematical paradox.  Wellesley, MA : A.K. Peters. Engineering Library QA248 .W29 2005

Count on Sudoku. 2005.

Lego Rubik’s Cube . Date accessed January 31, 2017

Raspberry Pi-powered Lego robot can solve a Rubik’s cube.The Next Web B.V. January 31, 2017. TNW.

Happy 25th Anniversary, Hubble!

Hubble Space Telescope, taken on 2nd servicing mission. Photo credit: NASA
Hubble Space Telescope, taken on 2nd servicing mission. Photo credit: NASA

On April 24, 1990 the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched from  the Space Shuttle Discovery. Previously, telescopes had been positioned on remote mountaintops and away from city lights in order to prevent distortion from Earth’s atmosphere. Now Hubble was being propelled into Earth’s orbit to prevent atmospheric distortion literally by rising above it.

That atmosphere is what causes start to look as if they are twinkling (sorry romantics, they don’t really twinkle….)1 But, once outside Earth’s atmosphere, “… [Hubble] can see astronomical objects with an angular size of 0.05 arc seconds, which is like seeing a pair of fireflies in Tokyo from your home in Maryland.” 2

As telescopes go, Hubble is not large, the mirror measures 7’10” across (2.4 meters), the length of a large school bus3 (the largest telescope in the southern hemisphere is 30 feet).4 Hubble weighs 24,500 pounds – as much as 2 full-grown elephants5 –  and  was named after Edwin Hubble, the man who is credited with discovering the cosmos.

Jeff Hoffman (with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Story Musgrave work on the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo Credit: NASA
Jeff Hoffman (with red stripes on the legs of his suit) and Story Musgrave work on the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo Credit: NASA

Within a couple of weeks after it was launched, it became obvious that Hubble’s mirror had a flaw.  The curvature was off by off by 1/50 of a human hair – 2.2 microns – enough to cause fuzzy images to be sent back to earth. Hubble was circling Earth at 17, 500 miles per hour and 343 miles above it, and scientists needed to figure out a way to correct Hubble’s flawed mirror. In 1993 the first servicing mission was launched and Hubble’s flaw was successfully corrected. The mission was the first chance to fix the flaw, install new instruments and conduct routine maintenance.6

Hubble was designed to work with the Space Shuttles, the plan being that once it was no longer serviceable, it would be brought back to Earth and displayed in a museum. The retirement of the space shuttles means, however, that Hubble will not be able to be brought back to Earth. Now, a robotic mission is expected to help guide Hubble out of orbit, through Earth’s atmosphere and into the ocean.7


Hubble "Deep Field." Photo released in 1996
Hubble “Deep Field.” Photo released in 1996. Photo Credit


The Hubble Telescope doesn’t travel to distance stars, planets or galaxies, it photographs them and in January of 1996 the “Hubble Deep Field” was released. At that time it was humanity’s most distant view of the Universe. For ten days scientists aimed Hubble at a single spot in Ursa Major (the Big Dipper), taking several hundred photos with exposure times of 15 to 40 minutes.  “The result was a stunning still life of more than two thousand galaxies, a flurry of budding, tumultuous light whipped up in the shadowy primordial vacuum.” (Kanipe. pg 6)8

The brightest galaxies visible in the Deep Field are between 7 and 8 billion light-years away, some from 12 billion years ago. Some of the Milky Way’s oldest stars which congregate in globular clusters, are about 13 billion years old. 9 In fact, “Hubble has peered back into the very distant past, to locations more than 13.4 billion light years from Earth.”10

Mystic Mountain. Photo released for Hubble's 20th Anniversary.
Mystic Mountain. Photo released for Hubble’s 20th Anniversary.


The photo of  “Mystic Mountain Nebula” was released for Hubble’s 20th Anniversary. Mystic Mountain is a pillar of gas and dust, three light-years tall. The brilliant light from nearby stars is eating away at it, while infant stars within the Mystic Mountain fire jets of gas.11



The Sombrero Galaxy.
The Sombrero Galaxy.


The Sombrero Galaxy is just beyond the visibility of the naked eye, but can be seen with small telescopes. There are nearly 2,000 globular clusters which range in age from 10-13 billion years old. This is 10 times as many globular clusters as the Milky Way.12


Pandora's Cluster. Photo published 2013.
Pandora’s Cluster. Photo published 2013.

Pandora’s Cluster appears to have a complex and violent history. It seems to be the “… result of a simultaneous pile-up of at least four separate, smaller galaxy clusters. The crash took place over a span of 350 million years.”13




The Rose of Galaxies
The Rose of Galaxies

To celebrate Hubble’s 21st anniversary, scientists pointed it a group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.  The larger of the spiral galaxies is distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy. The blue jewels across the top are combined light from intensely bright and hot young blue stars. They glow intensely in the ultraviolet light.  The series of unusual spiral patterns are signs of interaction.14

In the 25 years since Hubble was launched it has made more than 1 million observations. Astronomers using that data have published more than 12,700 articles, making it one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built.  It has circled Earth and traveled more than 3 billion miles and produces about 10 terabytes of new data each year.15 The policies governing Hubble have helped make it so rich in data and productivity. Any astronomer in the world can submit a proposal and request time on the telescope. When a proposal is chosen by a team of experts, that astronomer has a year to pursue their work. Once the year is up  the data is released to the scientific community, which has given rise to numerous findings – many not predicted in the original proposal.16

Happy 25th Anniversary!!



  1. Zimmerman, Robert. 2008. The universe in a mirror: the saga of the Hubble Telescope and the visionaries who built it. Princeton,
    The Universe in a Mirror Engineering Library QB500.268 .Z56 2008
    The Universe in a Mirror
    Engineering Library QB500.268 .Z56 2008

    N.J. : Princeton University Press. Engineering Library QB5.268 .Z56 2008

  2. Hubble Space Telescope. Feb. 20, 2015. NASA.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Southern Africa Large Telescope (SALT). Dec. 29, 2011.
  5. Hubble Space Telescope. Feb. 20, 2015. NASA.
  6. The Hubble Space Telescope. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center. This website is kept for archival purposes only and is no longer updated. Accessed: April 2015.
  7. The Telescope Hubble Essentials. HubbleSite. Date Accessed: April 2015.
  8. Kanipe, Jeff. Chasing Hubble’s shadows: the search for galaxies at the edge of time. 2006. New York : Hill and Wang. Engineering Library QB500.262 .K36 2006.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Hubble Space Telescope. Feb. 20, 2015. NASA.
  11. Newscenter. April 22, 2010. HubbleSite.
  12. Gallery. HubbleSite. Date Accessed, April 2015.
  13. Newscenter. June 22, 2011. HubbleSite.
  14. Newscenter. “Rose” of Galaxies. April 20, 2011. HubbleSite.
  15. Hubble Space Telescope. Feb. 20, 2015. NASA
  16. The Telescope Hubble Essentials. HubbleSite. Date Accessed: April 2015.


  1. Chaline, Eric. 2012. Fifty machines that changed the course of history. Buffalo, N.Y. : Firefly Books. Engineering Library TJ15 .C44 2012
  2. Weintraub, David A. 2011. How old is the universe? Princeton, J.J. : Princeton University Press. Engineering Library QB501 .W45 2011
  3. O’Dell, C. Robert. 2003. The Orion Nebula : where stars are born. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap press of Harvard University Press. Engineering Library QB855.9.O75 O34 2003
  4. Zimmerman, Robert. 2008. The universe in a mirror : the saga of the Hubble Telescope and the visionaries who built it. Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press. Engineering Library QB500.268 .Z56 2008.
  5. You and the rest’: twenty years since NASA’s dramatic Hubble repair mission (part 1)AmericaSpace. Date Accessed: April 2015
  6. Expect the unexpected in a Hubble 25th anniversary video. April 10, 2015. NASA.
  7. The Hubble Space Telescope turns 25 – here are its best 25 imagesApril 20, 2015. Extreme Tech.
  8. Highlights of HubbleApril 15, 2015. Nature: International weekly journal of science.
  9. Biography of a space telescope: Voices of Hubble. April 15, 2015. Nature: International weekly journal of science.




It Is National Library Week!

It is National Library Week!!



Do you know how much your Engineering Library has to offer?



The Lichtenberger Engineering Library – YOUR library – has a collection of more than 150,000 books! We also provide access to over 5,000 current electronic journal titles, and over 100 engineering-related DVDs!

On or off-campus, you have access to multiple databases, including Web of Science, Compendex and PubMed.  Compendex is the most comprehensive bibliographic database of scientific and technical engineering research available, covering all engineering disciplines. It includes millions of bibliographic citations and abstracts from thousands of engineering journals and conference proceedings. When combined with the Engineering Index Backfile (1884-1969), Compendex covers well over 120 years of core engineering literature. And that is just one of the available databases!

That’s a lot of information to sift through.  Where do you even start? We have resource/subject guides related to specific departments or resources. Looking for information on patents or biomedical engineering? We’ve got the subject guides to help you get started.  Still at a bit of a loss? Come to us for personal assistance! From locating resources within the library to demonstrations on resources and services for individuals, classes or groups, we can help.  Please interrupt us!

What is a research project or paper without Standards or Patents? We have electronic access to standards from various agencies, including International Standard Organization (ISO), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASTM International and many others. You also have access to the patents from many different countries – all available electronically!

Even with all these resources, we might not have exactly what you are looking for right here in the Engineering Library. Never fear, there are several ways to get resources to you. If what you are looking for is in another of our on-campus libraries, you may request to have that book delivered to the Engineering Library, ready for you to check out. Is that article or book chapter fewer than 50 pages? You can have it copied and a pdf will be emailed directly to you – for free! That resource in an off-campus library? InterLibrary Loan can help with that.

Pyle PLMT68 Light Meter
Pyle PLMT68 Light Meter


Sometimes you need more than books and articles for an assignment or project. Do you need a light meter, sound meter, eyeball webcam or wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers for that project? We have them, and more! Check out all the tools are available in our Tool Library!




We have two new group study rooms available for you to reserve for those group projects. They both have whiteboard walls and one includes a large-screen TV with laptop connections.  Besides the group study rooms there are several other areas in which to study.  Tables, individual carrels – both upstairs and down, beanbag chairs downstairs, and comfy chairs throughout the library all provide both spaces for collaboration and for quiet study.

When you are ready to pull that research paper or project together we have several software programs available that will create bibliographies and citations in a wide variety of formatting styles. One of the software packages is Endnote and it, along with the others, will help you wind up that paper in style!

Kari Kozak, Head, Lichtenberger Engineering Library
Qianjin (Marina) Zhang, studio portrait
Qianjin (Marina) Zhang, Engineering & Informatics Librarian


Want more information?

Visit our website


call 319.335.6047

or stop in and meet the staff!



Kari Kozak, Head, Lichtenberger Engineering Library:  Collections, Instruction, Reference

Qianjin (Marina) Zhang, Engineering and Informatics Librarian: Data Management, Informatics

Carol Dewey: Library Assistant IV, Circulation, Course Reserves, InterLibrary Loan

Carol Johnk: Library Assistant III, Social Media, PR

Celebrate National Library Week by stopping in and discovering your Engineering Library!