Applied Mechanics News

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

RSS feed for all Applied Mechanics Blogs

You can aggragate all Applied Mechanics Blogs into a single RSS feed. Right click RSS, and select "Copy Link Location". Paste the link into your start page. Learn more about start page and RSS feed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

2006 Summer Newsletter of AMD

The 2006 Summer Newsletter of the ASME International Applied Mechanics Division, edited by Professor Ken Liechti, has just been placed online.

Monday, June 26, 2006

16th US National Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics

The 16th US National Congress of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics will be held June 27 to July 2, 2010 at Penn State University. Save the dates!
Judith A. Todd -
Charles E. Bakis -

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Libraries and Amazon

Libraries take premium spaces, which will not grow and will likely shrink. As more and more books are stored in off-campus depositories, people miss the serendipity of browsing among shelves and discovering books that they don’t know they’d like to read. They can browse the catalogues of the libraries. However, a typical catalogue of a library contains meager information: the online catalogue is a clone of its ancestor on cards. Creating an information-rich and user-friendly online catalogue is too expensive for a library.

These problems have a solution. The primary source of data on books is Amazon. It contains publisher-supplied data such as cover images, table of contents, index, and sample material. Searchable full texts are within reach. Perhaps even more valuable, Amazon contains comments of users on books. Based on collective behavior of users, Amazon also recommends books to users. Amazon will no doubt continue relentless innovation.

In an ideal world, a user should not waste his time on the catalog of a library, nor should the library waste its resources on maintaining a stand-alone catalog. The user should simply browse on Amazon. Once he finds an interesting book, a single click should tell him if the book is in any of the libraries accessible to him. In this ideal world, to enter a book into the catalog of a library, a librarian only needs to enter a single number: the call number of the book. All other data of the book are not library-specific and are already in Amazon. What if the library owns a book not in Amazon? The librarian should enter a detailed description of the book, as if she were the publisher of the book.

This ideal world may not be far different from our world. The LibraryLookup Project allows a user to generate a bookmarklet, so that with one click he can look up a book in a library, while surfing on Amazon. The creator of the Project, Jon Udell, has developed a screencast to guide you through the process of generating your own bookmarklet.

A deeper integration of Amazon and libraries would harness more power. The statistics of borrowing books could be aggregated from all libraries and be used to recommend books to users. Amazon, libraries and some third party could collaborate on the business of print on demand. Libraries could send even more books to depositories and greatly simplify efforts in cataloging books. Users would have a seamless experience with books. Oh, if a book is not in a library, users could suggest, with a single click, that the library order the book.

Ending added on 26 June 2006, after reading a message from Zak Stone. is named after the Amazon River, the largest river in the world, carrying more water than the next six largest rivers combined. May the rivers of libraries and the streams of users contribute to the River of All Books. May nurture the civilization without drowning us with commercialism.

Note added on 10 July 2006. An entry describes my experience with LibraryLookup Bookmarklets.

Note added on 15 July 2006. Wall Street Journal (13 July 2006) on Rice University's Press on line and print on demand (POD). For an example of comercial POD, see Also see a recent product annoucement of e-reader.

Note added on 17 July 2006. OCLC and Amazon: A Connection Revealed.

Note added on 27 July 2006. Springer will offer all new titles in e-book form.

Note added on 20 August 2006. Amazon introduces library processing.

Note added on 31 August 2006. Google offers free download of books.

Note added on 31 August 2006. Stanford's vision for library.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Growing Wikipedia Refines Its 'Anyone Can Edit' Policy - New York Times

Horacio Espinosa brought my attention to this article on Wikipedia in the New York Times. The content on Applied Mechanics in Wikipedia is still very limited. Here are a few entries that will lead you to most other entities on Applied Mechanics.
To develop more substantial content in Wikipedia on Applied Mechanics, more mechanicians need to participate.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Nature Peer Review Trial and Debate

Nature is undertaking a trial of a particular type of open peer review. In this trial, authors whose submissions to Nature are sent for peer review will also be offered the opportunity to participate in an open peer review process.


Dear Colleagues:

This is to inform you of the progress of:


You may have received my message from September, 2005, announcing the formation of JoMMS. Marie-Louise and I resigned from the editorship of a large mechanics journal with a commercial publisher. Twenty-one of the twenty-three members of the Board of Editors resigned with us, along with George Herrmann who was founder and senior editorial advisor. Together we have formed JoMMS, which is published by the nonprofit Mathematical Sciences Publishers (MSP).

The response to the announcement of JoMMS has been strong. We have received a substantial number of manuscripts from around the world, and reviewers have been diligent. Consequently, Volume 1 (2006), Issues 1, 2, and 3 are now available on the web site. Ten issues are planned for 2006. The papers in the first three issues consist of: 8 from North America, 12 from Europe, and 5 from Asia. The print version will soon be distributed to subscribers.

Detailed information is on the web site, but a brief summary of the advantages of JoMMS may be helpful:

Direct advantages to authors of JoMMS with MSP:

(1) Quality - The editors and the Editorial Board of JoMMS make it their primary goal to have this new journal as an outlet for quality research free of commercial interests. We continue the philosophy of broad coverage of mechanics with stringent peer review, which is shown in the first three issues by the variety of topics and the quality of the papers. Moreover, we are equally committed to providing maximum access to your papers. You may also see that MSP takes pride in the final polishing of the language and format. In this modern age of rapidly changing priorities, few publications put quality at the head of the list

(2) On-line submission is easy - after initial problems, there have been no complaints. No hassle of reviewers - we find that most reviewers are conscientious without computer-generated repeated and irritating reminders. Nevertheless, our processing time is reasonable, with an average of 44 days from submission to first editorial decision.

(3) No page charge to the author. No extra charge for color figures, which are strongly encouraged. (Consider the charge to the author of $500-$1000 for one color figure by many society, university and commercial publishers.)

(4) Free e-access to the world for papers accepted for publication during the first year, through December 31, 2006. Papers are readily accessible from Google and other search engines. (Consider the charge of $25-$120 for one download from commercial journals.)

(5) For papers accepted after the first year, members of the subscribing institutions have exclusive e-access for a period of one year past publication. Subsequently the papers will be free to the world for e-access, similar to the new NIH policy. (This affects you, since the citation rate is higher for papers with free e-access!!)

(6) Downloaded pdf versions of the paper have complete linking between text, equations, and references. References have linking to the source journal. Forward linking to papers published subsequently that refer to the downloaded paper will be continually updated. MSP is the only publisher that offers the reader the links where they are needed, inside the PDF file. Try this by downloading the pdf file for a paper from the January issue. Despite the short time that JoMMS has been available, there have been some 500 downloads, an average of 25 per paper.

(7) Author retains copyright, and so can distribute the final version of the paper and place it on a personal web page. The author gives MSP a license to publish the paper. (Consider what you have been giving away.)

And most important:

(8) Cost: The institutional subscription cost is $500/year for print and e-access ($400 for e-access alone). Consider the price of $4000 - $8000 per year for some leading mechanics journals, with yearly increases of 5-20%, which is choking access. Subscriptions may be placed on the web page.

We are leading a standard for publication in the 21st century. There appear to be few present journals that come close to our benefits to you and the community.

Please feel free to ask any questions and/or offer suggestions. We remain completely open to new ideas.

Best regards,

Charles Steele

See also a previous entry in Applied Mechanics News on JoMMS.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fellowships to attend Gordon Research Conferences

Two fellowship programs are still open:
  • Opportunity for Participants from Developing Nations
  • Underrepresented Minority Fellowship Program
Quite a few Gordon Research Conferences are related to Mechanics and Materials, including

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Raising funds to establish the Thomas K. Caughey Medal

Wing Kam Liu
Chair, Executive Committee, ASME International Applied Mechanics Division

A small fund-raising committee, chaired by Paul C. Jennings, Provost of Caltech, has been recently established to raise the $45,000 required by ASME to establish a permanent award in memory of the late Professor Thomas K Caughey, Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology, who passed away on 7 December 2004, at the age of 77. This society-wide award would be given annually to a deserving individual in the broad field of dynamics, and would be called the "Thomas K. Caughey Medal."

Professor Caughey was, for many years, heavily involved in ASME activities. He was a former editor of the Journal of Applied Mechanics. In recognition of his major contributions to the Applied Mechanics field, he was honored with the ASME Den Hartog Award in 1995. Professor Thomas K. Caughey was without a doubt one of the most influential members of the vibration community. His contributions are without equal, and have touched every engineer currently working in the field.

Even before the formal launching of the activities of this committee, more than $20,000 of the needed funds have already been donated. Individuals wishing to contribute to this endeavor can send their contribution to:

ASME Foundation
Attn: "Thomas Caughey Award Endowment"

Inquiries: Wing Kam Liu,

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

CiteULike: Your online library of scientific literature, and more...

CiteULike is an online service to help academics to share, store, and organize the scientific literature. When you see a paper or a book on the web that interests you, you can click one button and have it added to your personal library. CiteULike automatically extracts the citation details (e.g., title, authors, abstract, and DOI). Currently, it supports more than 30 pubishing websites, many of which are of interest of mechanics community, e.g., ScienceDirect, AIP Scitation, Science, Nature, SpringerLink and Amazon.

Searching in your CiteULike library can be very easy. The surnames of all authors in your library are automatically tagged. You can also tag the papers and the books in your library as you like. All these tags appear in a tag cloud. Therefore, locating a paper in your library will be only one or two clicks away. Also, because your library is stored on the web server, you can access it from any computer.

You can also form a group, and integrate every member's own library to a group library. CiteULike also allows everyone to add note on papers or books. By combining the group and the note functions, you can easily form an online journal club among colleagues, collabarators, students, or any group with common interests, no matter how far away from each other.

Programmed by Richard Cameron and generously hosted by the University of Manchester in England, CiteULike is a free service to everyone. You just need to register to use its full functions. It all works within your web browser, no extra software is needed. So give it a try and enjoy.

Note: Nature publishing group also provides a similar service named Connotea. After experimenting both of them, I share the same feeling of many other users: while more attractive at the first sight, Connotea currently offer less flexible functions than CiteULike. I personally vote for CiteULike. You may want to share your experience with CiteULike or Connotea by commenting this entry.

Update on 4 July 2006:

Macroelectronics Journal Club, an online journal club focusing on flexible electronics and running on CiteULike platform, has been launched by See a brief introduction here and detail announcement here.

Update on 14 July 2006:

By default, CiteULike stores links to papers. To get full access of a paper, you often need to locate the paper within the subscription of your institution, instead of its original link. By using a scalable bookmarklet, now localizing the paper links can be only as easy as one click away. See a recent AMN entry for details.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

2007: the 80th Anniversary of the Applied Mechanics Division

The ASME International Applied Mechanics Division was founded in 1927. As the 2007 Program Chair of the Division, I cordially invite you to suggest ideas to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Division.

In 1977, the Division celebrated the 50th Anniversary with a program of two presentations:
  • A historical review by P.M. Naghdi, of Berkeley
  • An overview of the formative years of the Division by J.P. Den Hartog, of MIT
The presentations were followed by a reception. Naghdi later published a well illustrated verstion of his review [Journal of Applied Mechanics 46, 721-748 (1979)].

Incidentally, I've just created an entry in Wikipedia on the Applied Mechanics Division. You are welcome to edit, expand, and hyperlink.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Reorganization of NSF Engineering Directorate

Among many changes (effective 1 October 2006), two are important to Applied Mechanics:
  • The divisions of Civil and Mechanical Systems (CMS) and Design and Manufacturing Innovation (DMI) will merge to form the division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI).
  • Office of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) will be formed.

Current membership of ASME in basic engineering

Of thirty-some divisions in ASME, six are grouped under Basic Engineering. We've just received the current membership:

Applied Mechanics: 5202
Fluid Engineering: 3134
Bioengineering: 1963
Materials: 2024
Heat Transfer: 3680
Tribology: 567

There are currently about 90,000 ASME members. By comparison, there are about 365,000 IEEE members.

Monday, June 05, 2006

nanoHUB: online simulations and more

The nanoHUB is a web-based initiative spearheaded by the NSF-funded Network for Computational Nanotechnology (NCN). Based at Purdue University and partnered by eight other universities, nanoHUB provides a web interface to numerous resources relevant to students and practitioners in nanotechnology. The cyber environment includes online courses and tutorials, proceedings of seminars, collaborative tools, and an interface for online simulation.

For example, you can view research seminars on nanoHUB through online slideshow with audio, powered by Breeze technology. You can go over the outline of the seminar, choose thumbnail views of the slides and even search text within the titles of the slides, then locate the content of interest and save some time. Another type of resource on nanoHUB is the online simulation tools, which run realtime on nanoHUB. No installation is needed.

The nanoHUB resources are open to public for free. You just need to register to use. In the last eight months, nanoHUB has served more than 10,000 users, with about 60,000 simulation jobs run and more than 10,000 videos viewed. The web server hits of nanoHUB reach 1 million in May 2006.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

2007 ASME Winter Annual Meeting

The ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) will be held in 11-16 November 2007, in Seattle, Washington.

Sessions at IMECE are organized by volunteers. If you are considering organizing sessions for the 2007 IMECE, you might begin to think about it now. For example, to gauge the interest in a theme, you might talk to people you meet at conferences during the summer. You should look up chairs of the 17 Technical Committees and make the initial contact. At the 2006 IMECE (Nov 5-10), chairs of the Technical Committees will meet with the Executive Committees to discuss possible sessions for the 2007 IMECE. So you should contact chairs of Technical Committees before November this year.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Simulation - Based Engineering Science

by Ken P. Chong, National Science Foundation

The Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation commissioned a blue-ribbon panel of experts, chaired by J. Tinsley Oden of University of Texas - Austin, to produce a report on Simulation-Based Engineering Science. The final released report is now available

Other members of the panel included Ted Belytschko, Jacob Fish, Thomas J.R. Hughes, Chris Johnson, David Keyes, Alan Laub, Linda Petzold, David Srolovitz, and Sidney Yip.

The report contains findings and recommendations to advance the discipline of Simulation-Based Engineering Science. The report discusses applications of computational simulation in several different areas, such as medicine, homeland security, the environment, materials, and industrial and defense applications.

Research opportunities are described in areas like multiscale modeling and simulation, verification and validation, uncertainty quantification, and data-driven simulations. NSF coordinator and contact is Ken P. Chong.