Presented by The Lichtenberger Engineering Library, College of Engineering, the Graduate College
and the Hanson Center for Technical Communication!
December 17th & 18th, 2018
Open to current engineering and computer science graduate students, Thesis Boot Camp is the perfect opportunity to set aside time dedicated to making progress on your dissertation or master’s thesis! Along with a comfortable, quiet working environment, writing and research support, breakfast, snacks and lunches, the workshop offers students community and motivation in that final push towards the completion of their dissertation or thesis.
Several optional workshops are also scheduled. They include help with editing, formatting, and creating citations among others! Throughout the entire 2 days 1-on-1 support is provided by writing facilitators, liaison librarians, and members from the graduate college to provide assistance when you need it.
Boot Camp targets current engineering and computer science graduate students at both the PhD and Masters level, who are currently writing their thesis / dissertation. Participants will benefit from the structured time, space, professional advising and peer support of the program.
What else do you need to know? Both days begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. – please plan to stay for the entire 2 days. It’s FREE, but is limited to 30 participants. Registration deadline is Friday, December 7th, at 11:59 p.m. It will be held in the Student Commons and in the Lichtenberger Library. Breakfasts, lunches, and snacks are included! And coffee! Lots of coffee!
More information and a draft of the schedule go here. The registration form is available here.
Mark your calendars and register today!!
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact (Kari Kozak, Head, Lichtenberger Engineering Library) in advance at (319-335-6046).
Banned Book Week – typically held the last week in September – was launched in 1982 – in order to bring attention to a surge of challenges that schools, bookstores and libraries were getting. The purpose of this week is to highlight the value of free and open access to information and the freedom to read. Banned Books Week brings the entire book community together – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers.
You may have heard both the terms”banned books,” and “challenged books.” There is a difference between the two terms. A challenged book is an attempt to remove or restrict materials – either by a group or an individual who objects to the material. It does not mean a person or group simply expresses their point of view, but actively attempts to remove the material from circulation. Because banning a book is the actual removal of the materials, the access of others is restricted. Put simply, a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials and banning is the actual removal of those materials.
According to the ALA, books are usually challenged with good intentions – protecting others (usually children) from ideas and information which may be difficult. Over the years many different types of groups, and people, have challenged books. ALA has a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books. ALA believes that for every reported challenge, four or five go unreported. In 2016 there were 323 challenges recorded by the Office of Intellectual Freedom. Surveys indicate that between 82 and 97% of book challenges go unreported and receive no media coverage.
The good news is that in a majority of cases the books still remain available. This is due in part to the awareness that Banned Books Week brings to this issue!
New books are added to the challenged and banned lists every year – and some never make it off the list (Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird are two examples). Many of the banned books are novels, but a number of science books have also been challenged.
Many classic books have been banned. According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. Click here to see which books these are and learn the reasons for which they are banned or challenged.
Here are a few of the many books related to Engineering and Science which have been banned at one time or another:
Any writing or discussion demonstrating the heliocentric nature of the universe was banned in 17th Century Europe.
This Sunday, September 23rd is Girls In Aviation Day!
“Flying is so much more than just a quick way to traverse space.
It’s freedom and color and form and style. I am at home in the air.”
Amelia Earhart, Feb. 7, 1934, Christian Science Monitor.
In honor of Girls in Aviation Day, let’s take a brief look back at the women aviation pioneers!
When we think of women in aviation, we often think of Amelia Earhart. But have you heard of Harriet Quimby, Lores Bonney, Fay Gillis Wells?
Amelia Earheart took her first plane ride in 1920 and began flying lessons in 1921 – buying her first plane that same year. Harriet Quimby was a newspaper reporter/writer and was assigned to cover an airshow in 1910, and she was hooked. On May 11, 1911 – one day before her 36th birthday, she entered flight school. In 1931 Lores Bonney set a new Australian record for a one-day flight by a woman. In 1933 she was the first woman to fly from Australia to England. In 1928 Fay Gillis jumped from a disabled plane in flight, making her the first woman to join the Caterpillar Club – a group composed of pilots who have made life-saving jumps with silk parachutes. Betty Skelton-Frankman won the International Feminine Aerobatic championship in 1948, 1949, and 1950. She was best known for the trick “inverted ribbon cut,” (she flew upside down, 10 feet off the ground, through a ribbon tied between two poles)!
In 1994 Patrice Clarke-Washington was the only African American woman flying with the rank of captain for a major airline. Jean Ross Howard-Phelan is the 13th woman in the world to receive a helicopter’s pilot license. She learned to fly in 1954. Florence Parlett actively flew until she was 83 years old and has operated the Annapolis Flying Service at Lee Airport in Edgewater, Maryland.
In 1993 at age 11, Victoria Van Meter flew across the ocean and then did it again the following year. A flight instructor was required to be with her on both flights because she didn’t meet the age limit to fly alone.
These women, and so many others, laid the groundwork for women to pursue their love of flying in a variety of aviation careers.
Lori Love: crop duster in California.
Madge Minton: joined the WASPs (World War II Women Airforce Service Pilots) and flew fighter planes across the country to various military bases.
Susan Still: 3rd woman trained in combat aircraft for attack missions.
Suzanne Asbury-Oliver: skywriter for Pepsi in 1980.
Evie Washington: flight instructor for the Civil Air Patrol.
Mary Edna Fraser: uses aerial photography to inspire her silk batik artwork. She doesn’t have a pilot’s license, but will take off, land, and maneuver the aircraft into position.
Ellen Paneok: Native American Eskimo pilot – delivering supplies and mail to remote Alaskan villages.
Mayte Greco: Cuban American pilot and founding member of Brothers to the Rescue (Hermanos al Rescate), an organization of pilots who fly search and rescue operations over the ocean between Florid and Cuba searching for Cuban exiles in rafts.
They also paved the way for the participation of women in NASA and space exploration. In the beginning they were “human computers,” then aeronautical engineers, and then astronauts.
Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Kathryn Peddrew, Sue Wilder, Eunice Smith and Barbara Holley: African American women mathematicians, worked at NASA during the Civil Rights era. “Human computers.”
Shannon Lucid: one of the original core of women astronauts; in 1997 she held the record for the longest time in space for an American (188 days on board the Russian space station Mir).
Mary Ellen Weber: mission specialist on board space shuttle Discovery in June of 1995.
Vickie Gutierrez: Aerospace Engineering. Began working for NASA in 2002.
Rosalind Cylar: Attorney and advisor in the Office of chief counsel at NASA’s Marshall space Flight Center.
Courtney Ritz: Is blind and works at the Goddard Space Flight Center since 2002. She is the Web Accessibility Coordinator.
In September 2017, astronaut Peggy Whiton broke NASA’s record for the longest time spent in space – 665 days! She also holds other records – the record for the oldest woman to go to space (57 years old); women’s record for the longest amount of time doing spacewalks – 53 hours & 22 minutes; and the first woman commander of the space station. On her latest mission she traveled 122.2 million miles and went orbited Earth 4,623 times. She was born in Mt. Ayr, Iowa.
All of these women – from the pioneering aviators to the pioneering women in aeronautics – have helped clear the way for this generation, and future generations, to fulfill their dreams of flying!
Girls in Aviation Day is sponsored by Women in Aviation International. Women in Aviation International (WAI) hold events are being held world-wide and include one in Dubuque, IA, which is sponsored by the WAI University of Dubuque Chapter. Contact Polly Kadolph for more information.
Russo, Carolyn. 1997. Women and flight : portraits of contemporary women pilots. Washington, D.C. : National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Boston : Bulfinch Press. Engineering Library FOLIO TL539 .R87 1997
Eschner, Kat. June 16, 2017. Meet the Rogue Women Astronauts of the 1960s Who Never Flew : But they passed the same tests the male astronauts did – and, yes, in high heels. SMARTNEWS : Keeping you current. Smithsonian Institution.
Riley, Ricky. June 29, 2016. This Black NASA Mathematician Was the Reason Many Astronauts Came Home – Their Life Depended on Her Calculations.Atlanta Black Star.
The program is designed so engineering students (undergraduate and graduate) may request funding to pay for prototyping and/or finishing projects – using the services offered through EES, EMS, and the Library Creative Space,
There will be ten $500 awards!!How exciting is that!?
Since there will only be 10 awards, this is a competitive process! Make sure you check the Kick-Start webpage to get complete details and get your application in soon!
Briefly, any graduate or undergraduate engineering student 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!
There are a few requirements which include (but aren’t limited to) keeping receipts and a record of all expenses (a budget spreadsheet template will be be provided). A post-project survey of the Kick-Start program will also be required.
You are strongly encouraged to visit the Hanson Center for Technical Communication for assistance with writing your proposal before it is submitted. We also suggest you fill out a hackaday.io page and use it to post regular, substantial updates on the status of your project. Each update should include photos – of your project, notes or sketches – and text explaining your progress. Invite a university photographer to take photos while you are working on your project (contact info will be provided later).
There are a few restrictions, one of which is you may not already be receiving funding for this project from any other source. There can only be one idea per submission and a student may only be the primary investigator on one Kick-Start per year. Students may be co-investigators on more than one project. Be sure to check the Kick-Start webpage for more information.
So what else do you need to know?
The idea for the project is yours, and may be a finished product or a prototype. You maintain ownership of your idea and anything you build during the project. For inspiration check out United Nations Global Problems. A team may work on the project together, but one student must be designated as the primary investigator. A primary investigator may be a co-investigator on another project.
You may keep any materials you purchase for your project, but tools purchased should be returned to the Creative Space for use by future makers. There are many tools in the Tool Library which are available to check out. Knowing what items must be returned can be a gray area, so please direct any questions about what should be returned to email@example.com. The $500 award may only be used in EES and EMS for materials, tools, and labor, etc. Any unused funds will revert back to the program and will go toward helping another future maker build their idea.
You are required to have a sponsor who will review the requirements of the Kick-Start program and review your application before it is submitted. The sponsorship officially ends with the presentation in April, but the sponsor and student are free to continue to work on the project if they so choose.
Remember that ‘failure’ is part of the creative process. The important thing is you learn from these failures and therefore are better prepared for future projects. You will still be required to present your project in April – your presentation can deal with what went wrong, how it could be fixed, what you would do differently, what you learned. As Elon Musk said, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
There are so many resources to help you complete your project! Our Creative Space is a great place to begin! Two collaboration tables, each with a quad-screen monitor will help your team work together to imagine your project. There are 4 modeling stations with the high-powered software you need. 3D cameras, a 4400 Dell computer with a video card, Leap Motion controllers and an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and controllers can help you manipulate your project in virtual reality (check the Tool Library resources!). EES and EMS have the equipment you need to take your project from virtual reality to reality! EES provides circuit board fabrication, dye sublimation printing, PC board prototypes, laser cutting and etching and 3D printing (among other things!). EMS has sheet metal tools, power hand tools, computer controlled machine tools (among other things!) Staff in both EMS and EES are happy to answer questions and provide guidance!
The funds for this project are generously provided by the Engineering Technology Centers.
Application Review Committee is Kari Kozak (Head, Lichtenberger Engineering Library), Jeff Nock (Entrepreneur in Residence/Lecturer, John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center), Spencer Stumpf (Inventions Manager, UI Research Foundation), and Danny Tang (Chief Technology Officer, College of Engineering).
We are happy to collaborate with the Engineering Technology Center, NEXUS and the Department of Music to present some exciting workshops! Workshops are free (but there may be an optional materials fee) and are on Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m. Register online at lib.uiowa.edu/eng.
August 29th: Standards & Patents: Presented by Kari Kozak, Lichtenberger Engineering Library.
Do you have a product you want to create? Learn how to search for patents and standards from around the world. Learn about the various resources that can be accessed both on and off campus.
September 5th:Collect & Analyze Data Using LabQuest Devices – John Kostman, Engineering Electronics Shop (EES) & Kari Kozak, Lichtenberger Engineering Library
The Tool Library includes LabQuest Devices and a wide range of sensors. These devices and attachments allow for the collection and analyzation of data for a nearly endless number of possibilities. This course will provide overview of what the library has and instruction on how to use it!
Have you ever struggled with literature reviews? Try some strategies from systematic reviews that may give you some insight into your research topic through a more rigorous and structure approach. Systematic reviews are defined as “a research method that aims to locate and summarize all available evidence for a research question in order to guide decisions and practices” in medical and health sciences. Although systematic reviews originate from medical and health sciences, they are increasingly adopted by education, social sciences and, even, engineering. This workshop will introduce different review types (systematic reviews, scoping/mapping reviews and literature reviews), systematic review process, research question frameworks and search strategy, as well as point you to some available resources and services.
Through the following 5 course series, learn all the steps to make your own mini piano using a circuit board and Arduino. This light weight keyboard allows you to play an octave worth of notes using capacitive touch, no strings or hammers required!
September 19th: Printing Circuit Boards 1 – John Kostman, EES
Learn to create the keyboard circuit board with Multisim and Ultiboard. Part 1 is creating a circuit board from beginning to end. Part 2 goes into detail about special problems and challenges for circuit boards.
September 26th: Printing Circuit Boards 2 – John Kostman, EES
Learn to create the keyboard circuit board with Multisim and Ultiboard. Part 1 is creating a circuit board from beginning to end. Part 2 goes into detail about special problems and challenges for circuit boards.
We missed you while you were gone – but we kept busy, too!
Shhh! We are in the process of updating our quiet study space on our lower level! New comfy chairs are here and soon there will be new study carrels! But, never fear, we still have gamer chairs and beanbags! It is the best place to study when you don’t want to be disturbed and need to concentrate.
We have added new tools to our Tool Library! We have added laptops, projectors, thermal imagining cameras and more! Now we have everything from 3D scanners, 360 Degree Cameras, Go Pro, computer mice, creative boxes to help you with programming & circuits, hammers, screwdrivers, phone & computer chargers, and SO much more! And, we add more tools all the time! We have over 170 tools available to help you be successful in your college career! Click on the Tool Library link and see everything we’ve got!
And, our tools go perfectly with our Creative Space! We have a virtual reality station, collaboration tables, modeling stations and a prototyping station – the perfect place to collaborate with team members on class projects! It is also the perfect place to tinker and be creative! As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” So, stop in, be creative – who knows what you’ll invent!
If you want to work together as a team, but need a space that is a bit quieter – we’ve got 2 study pods! Pod 1 has a white board and Media:Scape! Media:Scape is designed for easy collaboration – up to 6 electronic devices can be connected to the large screen monitor! Pod 2 is smaller but has a large white board. Markers are available to check out in the Tool Library! The pods may be reserved – go to the Group Study Rooms webpage for instructions! We also have 27 ITC computers, 2 scanners, and 2 printers!
Did you know we have a youtube channel? We do! Subscribe to us – UIEngLib! We are adding more and more videos all the time – an overview of the library, instructional videos on resources such as Endnote Basic – AND we’ve added a Detective Jones series! Watch the short video which will pose a question at the end, choose the answer you believe is the best and it will take you to the next video! Stay tuned – there will more cases for you and Detective Jones to solve!
This is just a smattering of all the resources we have available! Have questions? We have live chat and texting, too! The number to text is 319.250.2176. Stop in and see us, too – we’re happy to answer your questions!
Explore our homepage – with inks to new books, resources, our blog, and how to get help. Then come explore the library! We are at 2001 Seamans Center – just off the Student Commons. Our hours are listed on our homepage – so stop in!
Head Librarian, Kari Kozak and Informatics Librarian, Qianijn (Marina) Zhang, are available for research consultations and all our staff are available to help you find the resources you need! We post information about resources, fun facts, and information about special events on Facbook and our Twitter feed! “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to stay current with all we have going on here!
Come see all we have to offer – we look forward to seeing you soon!
The Lichtenberger Engineering Library has partnered with the Engineering Electronics Shop, NEXUS, and the Department of Music to bring you some exciting Learn & Create Workshops this fall.
August 29: Standards & Patents – Kari Kozak
September 5th: Collect & Analyze Data Using LabQuest Devices – John Kostman/Kari Kozak
September 12th: Systematic Review – Marina Zhang
Mini Piano using Capacitive Touch
Through the following 5 workshop series, learn all the steps to make your own mini piano using a circuit board and Arduino. This light weight keyboard allows you to play an octave worth of notes using capacitive touch, no strings or hammers required! You do not need to attend all the sessions. Just pick and choose which parts you want to learn.
September 19th & 26th: Printing Circuit Boards 1 & 2 – John Kostman
October 3rd: Soldering Basics – Jeremy Roszell
October 10th: Building a Case with CREO and 3D printing – Brian Snider
October 17th: Programming and Music Theory – Jean-Francois Charles & Jeremy Roszell
October 24th & 31st: Building Halloween Costumes Part 1 & 2 – Brian Snider/John Kostman
November 7th & 28th: Creating Pop-up and Interactive Greeting Cards Part 1 & 2– Deanne Wortman/Kari Kozak
In September 2016, the Lichtenberger Engineering Library, in collaboration with the Engineering Technology Centers opened a maker/creative space for students. This space is for students to imagine, tinker, design, and create and has a VR station, 3D scanners, quad monitors, and more. We also have a Tool Library which is available to students and staff. There are over 180 tools, which may be checked out.
We have continued to add tools to the Tool Library over this past year. Some of the tools added include:
Sheet Metal Hole Punch
Adapter, Cables and Chargers for computers and mobile devices – we are expanding the number and types which are added
The MIT Press eBooks library – a computing and engineering collection is now available through IEEE Xplore
With almost 600 titles going back as far as 1943!
7) Subject Guides
Check out our subject guides – available for each discipline. The subject guides are being continually updated with new information and resources. You’ll find information on popular resources geared toward your discipline. The guides also include helpful information on patents, standards, creating citations, and engineering ethics among other things. Check our homepage (http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/eng/) to discover it all!
8) Classroom Assistance and Library Tours
Both Engineering Librarians are available for short- or class-length demonstrations on a wide variety of library resources.
Kari Kozak, Head of the Lichtenberger Engineering Library, is available to talk about resources and services to students, faculty, and/or staff. This could range from an overview of the library and services to in-depth researching strategies including evaluating information. Sessions can be to individuals, small groups, lab groups, or classes. Email Kari at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Qianjin (Marina) Zhang, Engineering & Informatics Librarian, is available to talk about data management, systematic reviews, and citation management programs such as Endnote. Email Marina at email@example.com for more information
Kari is also available to give tours of the library, including the Creative Space. Schedule a time to visit individually or as a class, to see first-hand all we have available.
9) Course Reserves
Course Reserves are being organized for the Fall Semester. If you have not already done so and would like to have items put on reserve for the Fall Semester, please email the Engineering Library at firstname.lastname@example.org with a list of the materials and course number.
You are here – at the University of Iowa! You may be a first year, sophomore, junior or senior – but no matter what year, the excitement is there. The anticipation of new experiences and the trepidation of new experiences!
Stop in and see our new exhibit and see some of the ways we can help you adjust to, and survive, college life and all that it entails!
We have the resources to help you through your entire day – from morning to night! Afraid of the dark and don’t want your roommates to know? Aglow in the Dark: The Revolutionary Science of Bioflourescence explores the story of the discovery of green fluorescent protein and the human fascination with “living light.” Glow-in-the-dark fish could be the perfect nightlight!
These are just a few of the many ways we can help you make it through your college experience! What’s your concern? Check our resources – you’ll be surprised at all the information we have! (And, by the way, we have what you need to succeed in your classes, too!)
Stop in and see our exhibit (2001 Seamans Center), explore our space, and talk to one of our staff!
Welcome to the Fall 2018 semester! We look forward to working with you this year!
Downs, Todd. 2010. The bicycling guide to complete bicycle maintenance & repair : for road & mountain bikes. Emmaus, PA : Rodale New York : Distributed to the trade by Macmillan. Engineering Library TL430 .D68 2010
Pieribone, Vincent David; David F. Gruber. 2005. Aglow in the dark : the revolutionary science of biofluorescence. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Engineering Library QH641 .P54 2005.
This year the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) XLVI will stop in Iowa City on Friday, July 27, 2018. It begins in Onawa on Sunday, July, 22, 2018 and will finish in Davenport on July 28th. The total number of miles: 428 and there is 12,576 feet of climb – riders definitely need stamina and a good bike!
RAGBRAI has a fascinating history – starting in 1973 as a challenge between Des Moines Register feature writer/copy editor John Karras and Donald Kaul, author of the Des Moine Register “Over the Coffee” column. 114 riders made the ride that first year and it has since grown – it now has a limit of 8,500 week-long riders. For a more complete history of RAGBRAI check out their website: RAGBRAI history – Factoids.
So, what type of bike is best for RAGBRAI, or simply getting around town?
The type of bike you purchase does make a difference. Where you plan to ride, with whom will you be riding, your budget, and your previous experience all make a difference when choosing a bike. Mountain bikes are great for off-road and single track trails, but they are heavier, have thicker tires, are generally slower and require more effort. Road bikes are for paved roads, paths and smooth unpaved paths. They are lighter and designed more for speed. There are also hybrid and comfort bikes, tandems, recumbents, commuters and cruisers. If you are going to ride the entire RAGBRAI route or just a leg or two – check out this link – RAGBRAI – this is the forum where information is available from experienced riders.
The bicycle is a simple machine, but has many components and it is always a good idea to learn what each component is called. There are 10 bicycle shops that now participate in RAGBRAI, but it doesn’t hurt to know basic maintenance for your own equipment. Learning to repair tire punctures yourself can keep you from being stranded by the side of the road whenever and wherever you ride. Bike Repair & Maintenance for Dummies has a section on what to look for in a pre-ride inspection, how to clean and take care of your bike after your ride, and items that should be included in an emergency tool kit – including duct tape!
Electric bikes, or e-bikes, are becoming more popular. A modified or custom bike frame that has pedals but also an electric motor gives the rider the option to pedal or use the power of a battery and motor drive system. They are less expensive than gas-powered scooters and are safer than scooters and motorcycles. A 1 square foot solar panel is enough to power an eBike for 3,100 miles. (Would that be considered “cheating” on RAGBRAI?)
There are also luxury bikes – the Monanate Luxury Gold bike has 24 carat gold leaf and 11,000 Swarovski crystals. The fenders are steam-bent wood and there is python leather on the handlebars, seat and around the lock. There are only 10 Luxury Gold bikes in existence and cost about $33,000. I don’t know about you, but I would probably never ride this bike, if I could afford it, that is!
Do you remember lying on your back on the grass and looking at the clouds – finding the shapes, marveling at all the differences? The types, the colors? Looking through old family slides and photos I discovered my father took a lot of pictures of clouds – as do I, my brother and my daughter. There is just something endlessly fascinating about them.
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down, and still somehow
It’s clouds illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
– Joni Mitchell, 1967
Here in the library we have, not surprisingly, a lot of books on the physics and chemistry of clouds (for resources, check the list below). But for this blog, I’m going to draw on the appearance of clouds in arts and culture. Perhaps it is their beauty and majesty that has attracted scientists to the study of clouds, for that has what has drawn poets, painters, songwriters, and photographers throughout the ages. (Interesting fact: The art of seeing shapes in shapeless forms is pareidolia.)
An example of how far back clouds appear in literature, back in the fifth-century, the playwright Aristophanes, “cast a chorus of clouds as the source of ‘airy’ thinking. (pg 7, Clouds). Indeed, there are many sayings about clouds: “head in the clouds,” “nebulous,” “foggy,” and “cloud the issue.” Richard Hamblyn, author of Clouds, wonders if the saying “on cloud nine” might come from a story from the early life of Buddha. The story is that Buddha summoned a small cloud which ferried him over the Ganges, and “the Buddhist cosmology contains a tenfold cloud taxonomy whose stages mirror the tenfold ascent to enlightenment.” The 9th step is “the great bright clouds of refuge,” hence (perhaps) being on cloud nine! There are also frescoes and paintings as clouds from as far back as the 1200s. The fascination with clouds has a long history!
From the early days of photography, photos have been taken of clouds and storms. We may be used to taking cloud photos with our DSLR cameras, or our phones, but the technology in those early days made taking good photos very difficult. It took minutes, not seconds, to take a photo using the photographic plates, and those minutes often made the sky overexposed. One solution, used by many photographers, was to take extra, under-exposed photos and superimpose them over the overexposed plate. Superimposing one photo over another can be used in digital photo editing programs – there has been some controversy concerning the use – and overuse – of digitally edited photos. However, that practice has been going on a long time!
Talking about clouds and photography wouldn’t be complete with touching on clouds and storms in movies and videos. While we are talking tornadoes (see photo at left!), the famous tornado in The Wizard of Oz was constructed from a muslin wind-sock which was suspended from a metal gantry. It is still considered to be one of the most convincing tornadoes in Hollywood history!
And then there’s the music – see the Joni Mitchell quote above. Music and clouds just seem to go together. In 1867 the French astronomer and science writer Camille Flammarion was floating in his hot air balloon. He drifted into a high, thick cloud and could no longer tell in which direction he was traveling. Suddenly he heard instrumental music “which seem[ed] to come from the cloud itself and from a distance of a few yards only from us.” There was high humidity in the cloud and this helped funnel a band concert which was playing in a town square far below. Recently artists have begun to explore the acoustic resonance of the upper atmosphere. In 2004 Usman Haque launched Sky Ear – a cloud of 1,000 helium balloons with a payload of mobile phones, sensor circuits, and flashing LEDs. The phones picked up the whistles and hums that fill the sky – the phones were set to automatically answer therefore letting observers call the phones and listen to the “music of the spheres.”
Musicians and songwriters have long gotten their inspiration from clouds. Here’s a (very) short list (in no particular order)!
Get Off My Cloud; The Rolling Stones
Both Sides Now; Joni Mitchell
Cloud 9; George Harrison
Kickin’ the Clouds Away; George Gershwin
Small Dark Cloud; Kenny Rogers
Three Piano Pieces, EG 100: Storm Clouds
Floating Clouds; Rick Wakeman
Heavy Cloud No Rain; Sting
And the list goes on and on!!
If you are someone who goes around with your “head in the clouds” most of the time there is The Cloud Appreciation Society. Really! It now has over 40,00 members from nearly 120 countries! The society has recently teamed with NASA and have a Cloudspotter app. The information gathered submitted by the app users (from around the globe) will be used by NASA to help calibrate their CERES cloud-observing satellite instruments! You can continue to look up to the skies and help NASA at the same time!
If signing up with the Cloudspotter app isn’t your thing, but you still want to know which clouds are which and what differentiates one cloud from another, The Cloud Book : How to Understand the Skies, has a wealth of information about clouds accompanied by stunning, full-color photographs of each type of cloud.
Here’s a Sky Watcher Chart. Go out – look up! How many different types of clouds can you see?