Applied Mechanics News

Saturday, September 09, 2006

We are migrating to iMechanica.Org

We are migrating AMN to iMechanica.Org.

In January 2006, with the encouragement of the Executive Committee of the ASME Applied Mechanics Division, several volunteers initialed Applied Mechanics News (AMN), a blog of news and views of interest to the international community of Applied Mechanics, accompanied by sister blogs covering research and researchers, conferences, and jobs. Within weeks, AMN topped the list on Google, Yahoo and MSN for the query of applied mechanics news. By late August 2006, the four sister blogs had a total of over 65,000 page loads, and on average over hundred unique visitors every day, from all over the world.

The Internet has enabled AMN to be international and inter-organizational. The news can be updated continuously by many volunteers. Some of the initial thoughts of AMN was collected in the entry Applied Mechanics in the Age of Web 2.0.

AMN is hosted by a free service, Blogger. The service is easy to get started, but does not serve our needs well. For example, people cannot become contributors by themselves, and Blogger offers no tagging. The contributors cannot upload files, and the resolution for images is low. The software is proprietary and allows limited customization. Also, Blogger is not accessible in China, a country that has perhaps more mechanicians than the US and Europe combined. The platform of Blogger has severely restricted the growth of AMN. The experience of AMN has taught us in our adolescent months, but we have grown.

We will migrate AMN to iMechanica.Org, a far more effective many-to-many communication platform, with the following initial features:
  • Without signing in, everyone can read every entry.
  • Everyone can sign in.
  • Upon signing in, each user has a blog.
  • Moderators may promote new entries to the front page of iMechanica.
  • A user can subscribe to the RSS feeds of the front page, individual blogs, individual tags, and more sophisticated combinations.
These and other features can be customized. We will experiment with various options of moderation. While iMechanica will never replace conferences, it will enable people who do not go to the same conferences to communicate with each other. In particular, we will make a special effort to bring industrial practitioners and students into this online community.

The initial features are adopted with particular emphasis on ease of use. If you know how to send an email, you know how to post a blog entry. So why not leran more about iMechanica, and join us today in this exploration of the brave new world of the Internet.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Plan activities of the Applied Mechanics Division at 2007 ASME Congress

The ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition (IMECE) will be held in 11-16 November 2007, in Seattle, Washington. As the 2007 Program Chair of the Applied Mechanics Division (AMD), I hope to get you involved in planning activities at the Congress.

IMECE is a place where you can meet people and attend talks in Applied Mechanics, as well as in other fields, such as Materials, Electronic Packaging, Tribology, and Heat Transfer. For many mechanicians, a highlight of the Congress is the Applied Mechanics Annual Dinner, where old acquaintances are resumed, new friends made, awards announced, and the Timoshenko lectures delivered.

Also, as many of you have discovered, the Congress provides a venue for people to get involved in the profession by organizing activities.

What can you do to help planning the 2007 Congress? The year 2007 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Timoshenko medal. You may want to nominate an outstanding mechanician for this and several other awards. The deadline for nomination is 1 October 2006. The AMD Executive Committee, in conjunction with the Committees for the individual awards, will select the finalists at the 2006 ASME Congress on Thursday, 9 November 2006, in Chicago.

You may also help organizing technical sessions. Each session is 90 minute long, and has about four speakers. Related sessions may form a symposium. Before you go about organizing sessions for the 2007 Congress, you may want to look at the program of the 2006 Congress.

All technical sessions at the ASME Congress are organized by volunteers--educators, practitioners and researchers like you. If you are thinking of organizing a symposium for the 2007 Congress, ask yourself a few questions:
  • What is the title or theme of your symposium?
  • Does the theme open a new area of research, or fill a long-felt need?
  • Who will be potential speakers?
  • How many sessions would you like to request?
Once you have answered these questions, you should contact the chair of one of the 17 Technical Committees in AMD. At the Chicago Congress, most Technical Committees will hold open meetings. The Executive Committee will hold a general meeting on Friday, 10 November 2006, 10 am-12pm. These meetings are open to all. A major item at these open meetings will be the planning for the 2007 Congress. If you would like to organize a symposium for the 2007 Congress, please contact the chair of a technical committee before November 2006, and try to attend the open meetings.

What else can you do now? Mark the dates 11-16 November 2007 in your calendar, and plan to spend the days in Seattle. Of course, you are always welcome to contact me to talk about Applied Mechanics at the 2007 Congress. If you have any suggestions, please leave comments below. To help us advertise, please e-mail this message to your friends.

Thank you.

Zhigang Suo