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RCL Career Resources Engineering and Technology: General, Reference, and Career

RCL General, Reference, and Career + Choice Titles

Bodine (Univ. of Colorado) has had a distinguished career in the assistive technology field, and is thus well qualified to author this work. Part of the eight-volume "SAGE Reference Series on Disability," it is an excellent introduction to this ever-evolving field. The seven-chapter book is organized like others in the series. The first two chapters provide introductory and historical information and a discussion of contemporary aspects of the profession and issues faced. The following chapters present an events time line, selected biographies, annotated statistics/data, an annotated list of key organizations, a listing of print/electronic resources for further research, and a glossary. Throughout the text, the author provides understandable descriptions of the numerous acronyms at their first usage. She also clearly explains the responsibility of all parties involved in the field, and the best ways to navigate the assessment and health care bureaucratic systems. The list of further readings included after the individual biographies will be useful to undergraduate and high school students working on papers in the scientific and policy arenas. Overall, the book is a good resource for students interested in the disability field, and might influence some to redirect their studies to this area. Summing Up: Recommended. Students of all levels, general readers.

--P. E. Reese, University of North Texas

This highly comprehensive book by engineer and independent scholar Hoschette provides in-depth instruction on career-related topics for job seekers and advice for those currently employed in the field of engineering. A sizable volume, its many topics include tips for recent graduates moving into professional industries, information on how new professionals can market themselves to potential employers, and ways to manage office politics. Job seekers can read up on developing a career plan, recovering from a career setback or layoff, and discovering new employment opportunities. For more experienced professionals, Hoschette describes creating a plan for retirement, managing finances, and negotiating a raise or promotion. A nice feature of the book is that most chapters include "Career Tips," which provide additional pieces of advice. Chapters tend to be very short, though descriptive, and include activity sheets for readers. Additionally, chapters often end with a section of assignments, discussion topics for readers to reflect on, and a bibliography of cited sources. This all-inclusive guide will serve as an excellent resource for engineers at any stage of their careers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, professionals, and general audience.

--C. J. Kohen, Daytona State College

Outstanding Academic Title

Spreading the results and insights of science to the world at large has always been a challenge. It is equally important for scientists to inform one another of their respective ideas. Sometimes writers, not necessarily professional scientists, may popularize the fruits and frustrations of science to the public. Thus, the problems of science communication can be viewed from at least the three levels listed in the subtitle of this book. Russell (humanities, Imperial College London, UK), who has considerable experience in these matters in various contexts, analyzes the different aspects of science communication, a subject of enormous import in today's world. This work covers an impressively wide array of topics, including scientific fraud perpetrated by scientists in communicating with their peers, early science education, the role of the media and ethics in journalism, and more. There are discussions on science in the cultural context, in literature, and in selected plays. Based on the author's considerable research and reflection, this book is both interesting and illuminating. Anyone with even a peripheral interest in science will gain a deeper appreciation of science as a complex dimension of human civilization by reading this work. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Academic, professional, and general readers, all levels.

--V. V. Raman, emeritus, Rochester Institute of Technology

This dictionary of  brief general definitions of engineering-specific terminology is truly concise at only 268 pages.  Libraries that support engineering students or professionals should keep this slim volume handy for quick lookups in a field with some highly specialized vocabulary.  Most dictionaries of engineering focus on one particular subfield, e.g., Carl Schaschke's A Dictionary of Chemical Engineering (CH, Sep'14, 52-0031), or are longer, such as the second edition of McGraw Hill Dictionary of Engineering (CH, Oct'03, 41-0679d).  Definitions contain no pronunciation information or mathematical formulas, and the length of entries is limited to a few sentences.  There are only a few cross-references, a superfluous table of contents, and no appendixes.  The author has experience in multiple engineering fields and was employed in private and government contract jobs.  His background is evident in the large number of terms concerning the US Department of Defense and government contracts.  Another subject that is well represented is software engineering and computing, with terms such as "Zombie Army."  Many engineering standards are referenced, though not themselves defined. Portions of the book are drawn from the author’s previous book, The Engineering Language (2010).  This volume has a relatively low price for a reference work.  It is available as an e-book via the publisher and through various e-book providers. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates, two-year technical program students, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals.

--J. J. Meier, Pennsylvania State University

The second edition (1st ed., 2003) of this readable and informative volume highlights 13 critical errors to avoid in scientific presentations. Alley (Virginia Tech) provides examples through words and images about how to best convey ideas and meaning by understanding, connecting with, and engaging the audience. Using anecdotes, the author ensures that readers do not equate scientific brilliance with good and effective presentation skills. This up-to-date work references technical aspects of presenting, including the ever-popular TED talk styles (e.g., TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, CH, Dec'08, 46-1805); Prezi; and several other approaches that complement presentations. He also suggests how to make better use of PowerPoint. Many of the book's ideas and concepts revolve around knowing the audience and being highly knowledgeable about a subject. Organization, physical presence, and use of images are also emphasized. Though these hints may seem like common sense, they often are overlooked. Audience members know that an interesting and timely topic can be turned into an endurance trial if the presenters are oblivious to how information can be effectively delivered. If more presenters followed Alley's advice, everyone would benefit. Appendixes offer a presentation checklist and hints on designing scientific posters. This is a valuable work for academic and research libraries supporting, in particular, faculty, researchers, and graduate students. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty.

--J. Clemons, State University of New York-ESF

Oustanding Academic Title

Keller (a technical writer) and Erb (faculty, materials science) provide the most comprehensive engineering materials dictionary yet published. DEM provides definitions for over 25,000 generic and trademarked materials in all traditional fields as well as in emerging fields such as bioengineering and nanotechnology. The full definitions and writing style are appropriate for general readers but include technical information for experts. DEM's unique and distinguishing feature is its inclusion of thousands of trademarked terms that list specific ingredient percentages where possible. The useful appendix includes comprehensive lists of databases, reference materials, textbooks, and manufacturers' Web sites. ASM Materials Engineering Dictionary, ed. by J.R. Davis (CH, Sep'93), includes process terminology as well as useful illustrations, but does not cover the breadth of materials defined in DEM. With some 11,000 entries, McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Materials Science (CH, Dec'03) also lacks the depth and scope of DEM, although it provides engineering field designations and pronunciation guides omitted from DEM. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and higher.

--A. J. Trussell, Kansas State University

The outstanding feature of this handy mechanical engineering dictionary is the clarity and conciseness of its 8,500-plus entries. Given the central role of mechanical engineering in manufacturing and design, and the interdisciplinary nature of engineering, this dictionary will be useful to those in other engineering disciplines as well as lawyers, journalists, and others needing definitions of engineering terms. Focusing on the fundamental areas of mechanical engineering, such as fluid mechanics, stress analysis, dynamics, and design, it also includes numerous terms from electronics, bioengineering, acoustics, materials science, and other areas as they relate to mechanical engineering. Atkins (emer., Univ. of Reading, UK) and Escudier (emer., Univ. of Liverpool) assume some knowledge of mathematics, chemistry, and physics; they base each definition on multiple sources, including reference books, manufacturers' websites, and research papers. The dictionary accounts for spelling variants, and omits obsolete terms. SI units have been used throughout, except in a few cases where non-SI units are in general use, such as minutes and hours. Included are numerous cross-references and an excellent companion website Clearly drawn illustrations accompany the volume and about 20 percent of the entries. Since it features many newer terms, this title provides a good update to G. H. F. Nayler's Dictionary of Mechanical Engineering (4th ed., 1996). It is well worth the price. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above.

--M. A. Manion, University of Massachusetts at Lowell

This is a handy single-volume guide to the terminology of a critical area of natural resource exploration, extraction, and processing.  The book is aimed at a rather wide audience of working professionals, researchers, faculty, and students.  The 5,000-plus entries are short and to the point, rarely running over ten lines.  The text is fairly dense, broken by the occasional illustration (mostly molecular diagrams); however, the use of boldface headings makes the entries easy to read while keeping the size of the volume manageable.  Some terms included seem too basic for the intended audience (e.g., fault and coulomb), but this can be attributed to a desire for completeness.  The entries are weighted toward the US market, and the volume lacks conversion charts for metric and other common measures in the global trade.  CRC is a reliable publisher, and Bahadori (Southern Cross Univ., Australia) and coauthors are well-credentialed and engaged in either university-level teaching or professional practice.  Overall, this is a reliable, useful resource.  However, almost all the terms can be quickly searched on the open web; library users are unlikely to search for the book in the catalog and then on the shelf given the easier option.  This may be an excellent purchase for a researcher or professional who would consult it often; in an academic setting, it is unlikely to see much use. Summing Up: Optional. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates, two-year technical program students, researchers/faculty, and professionals/practitioners.

--P. Larsen, University of Rhode Island

The second edition (1st ed., 1991) of this specialized dictionary features approximately 8,000 entries on a broad range of technical, scientific, legal, and financial terms used in the petroleum exploration industry.  The definitions are clear and concise, ranging from a few lines to a full paragraph.  Occasional black-and-white line drawings and photographs are included.  The author is a certified petroleum geologist and a professor of petroleum geology in the University of Tulsa's Continuing Engineering and Science Education Department.  He has an established career as an instructor, author, and editor.  In addition to definitions, this volume contains lists of abbreviations, organizations, symbols, units of measure, US land subdivisions, and US and Canadian geologic features.  A similar title is the Dictionary of Oil, Gas, and Petrochemical Processing, by A. Bahadori, C. Nwaoha, and M. W. Clark (CH, Jan'15, 52-2312), which has approximately 4,000 more entries; however, the definitions tend to contain less detail. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.

--C. L. Hebblethwaite, SUNY Oswego

This reference work illustrates 100 usability design tips for websites and other applications across devices, not only for aesthetics but also for functionality and ease of use. Lal, a digital product designer, addresses advanced website functions, including the creation of a shopping cart, reviews and ratings, mobile commerce, touch screen interfaces, infographics, APIs, and other current technologies. Each topic features a short instructional page with bullet-point recommendations and tips on what to include. A facing page shows real-world examples and/or case studies. Some of the text instructions refer readers to other entries with related design concepts. The content, organized into sections titled "Desktop," "Web," "Mobile," and "Miscellaneous," is well indexed. Rather than being a technical manual on how to create websites, widgets, or other applications, this volume presents best practices from an ease-of-use perspective. The examples undoubtedly will become outdated soon, but they represent some of the best illustrations of contemporary usability design. The rapid evolution of technology means that few books are available to compare with this one. It will be useful to those interested and/or active in web development or mobile app development. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-level undergraduates, general readers, professionals/practitioners.

--A. R. Hutchinson, Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Vesilind and Gunn's excellent treatment of ethical theory applied to engineering is comparable to Mike W. Martin and Roland Schinzinger's Ethics in Engineering (2nd ed., 1989), also a collaboration between engineering and philosophy professors. Dealing with the engineers' interaction with the "non-human environment," the book seeks definition of an "environmental ethic." Seven chapters treat the nature of engineering and ethical theory, and each chapter has a collection of supplementary readings. These, along with an introductory presentation of short case studies, effectively inform the subsequent discussions of the engineering profession and the formal aspects of ethical theory. The main emphasis is the integration of an environmental ethic into engineering practice, with the hope of enhancing decision-making skills by engineering students. Chapter 7 discusses the problem of actually doing this, a daunting task that might have been better accomplished by a more extensive discussion of the relevant barriers: fragmentation and specialization in engineering; lack of autonomy of decision making in corporate-employee environments; blurring of the distinction between engineering, management, and business; and the prevailing norms of contemporary society. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals.

--B. D. Lichter, emeritus, Vanderbilt University

The first edition of this handbook was highly recommended by this reviewer (CH, Jun'96). That review offered certain suggestions about topics that might be treated in future editions; the editors increased the number of chapters by about 10 percent and the weight by almost 50 percent in this new edition, but they did not take the reviewer's suggestions. Perhaps they will be considered for a third edition; this handbook is almost certain to go through many future editions since it will remain invaluable to almost every engineer. One of the handbook's great virtues is that it provides an introduction to branches of the profession that an engineer, trained in another branch, might have to learn about in short order. Practical use of this large, massive volume would seem to require a library dictionary stand; it is not easy to work with on an ordinary desk. The publishers might well consider giving up their goal of having a single-volume handbook for all of engineering. That was realistic years ago, but it is now nearly impossible to have both completeness and compactness in a single, manageable volume. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals.

--M. Levinson, formerly, University of Washington

Whitbeck (Case Western Reserve Univ.) has contributed to the fields of engineering ethics and research ethics through numerous publications, websites, and the first edition of this book (1998). This new edition is divided into four parts: "Values and the Evaluation of Acts in Engineering," "Engineering Responsibility," "Responsible Research Conduct," and "The Future of Engineering." Each section provides in-depth explorations of current issues. Whitbeck's lawyer-like care to define terms in detail is exceptional, forming a clear, logical narrative that will reward the motivated reader. The newly updated research ethics section is especially good and will appeal to graduate students and professors alike. While the text contains many engineering ethics case histories (well illustrated when necessary), the layout is rather dry and contains some unnecessarily duplicated paragraphs in different typefaces. Though probably not a first choice for lower-level undergraduates (M. Martin and R. Schinzinger's Introduction to Engineering Ethics, 2nd ed., 2010, would be a better choice here), Whitbeck's book is an excellent, almost encyclopedic resource for research and engineering ethics discussions at the advanced undergraduate and graduate level. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals.

--K. D. Stephan, Texas State University--San Marcos

More than 450 discoveries, inventions, and other achievements of 20th-century science and technology are examined herein. Those familiar with Magill reference publications will recognize the focused essay format. Each entry begins with a formula right out of Masterplots--a listing of time, locale, and principal personages. The meat of the entry summarizes the event and its significance, at a level comprehendible by the nonspecialist. Each entry is signed, and concludes with cross-references and annotated bibliography. Entries are typically five pages in length. There are no illustrations. Entries are arranged chronologically, but indexes permit the location of entries by key word, personal name, or subject category. Some Soviet and Japanese achievements are included, although the majority are from the US and Western Europe. The essay on the Hubble space telescope discusses its disappointments as well as its successes. The testing of AIDS drugs is optimistically included as the latest breakthrough, but the dubious achievement of cold fusion is wisely ignored. A complement to, but not a substitute for, the multivolume Dictionary of Scientific Biography (1970-80). Recommended for undergraduates, lower-division especially.

--T. R. Faust, Wake Forest University

It is almost 30 years since the publication of C. Van Amerongen's The Way Things Work: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Technology (1967-71). Things have certainly changed and the publication of the current book is most timely. It covers a large variety of topics, organized by the physical principles that underlie the specific instruments or objects. Choices have to be made, and the author has chosen wisely. Although designed as a text for liberal arts students (with the usual array of problems for students to solve), it is much more. The examples of "how things work" come from so many different areas of physics that instructors will find useful illustrations of applied principles for almost all the physics courses in the undergraduate curriculum. Its major "failing" is that many of the physics discussions, intended for liberal arts students, seem to assume more from the audience than is warranted. The 19 chapters start with examples from the classical laws of motion, fluids, thermodynamics, electromagnetics, and optics. The final portion, devoted to examples from modern physics, includes stimulated emission, characteristics of radiation, and nuclear properties. The book is chock full of information and belongs in all college libraries. All levels. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--K. L. Schick, Union College (NY)

A fascinating survey of noteworthy breakthroughs and inventions of the 20th century, this set covers a wide variety of fields, agriculture to medicine to weapons technology. Although many of the more than 190 essays appeared earlier in The Twentieth Century: Great Events (10v., 1992; supp., 3v., 1996), Twentieth Century: Great Scientific Achievements (10v., 1994; supp., 3v., 1997) and Great Events from History II: Business and Commerce Series (5v., CH, Apr'95), they have been updated and new bibliographical notes added. The essays themselves are well written and succinct--about 1,000 words apiece. Arranged alphabetically by the conventional name of the invention, each essay begins with a brief description of the invention followed by a list of significant contributors and an analysis discussing the discovery process and its resulting impact. Each essay includes useful cross-references and suggestions for further reading. Biographical sidebars and illustrations accompany most of the essays. Other features include a comprehensive index, a time line of inventions, and an appendix that lists inventions by category. Interesting at any academic level, this set is a well-organized and diverse compilation of the 20th century's greatest inventions and inventors. Recommended for general and undergraduate collections.

--S. Markgren, Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Lewis's book is a celebratory discussion of engineering, technological design, and architecture--an easy, straightforward read good for general readers that simplifies rather than makes complex technology and its design. Lewis (Northwestern Univ.) uses text, poetry, and pictures to illustrate the whys and hows of building and creating. Personal stories are woven into the examples of wagon wheel construction, reliquary construction, and rocketry. Lewis traces the specialization of engineers and architects from origins as master craft workers and "practical arts of our ancestors." Four specific inventors and their patrons provide an illustration of technological innovation in context. Concepts and values integral to technology, such as "labor saving," modern manufacturing, conceptual design, and technological prowess, are given a historical and social content. Several chapters are devoted to the importance of drawing and visualization for engineering and the synergy of science and engineering. Throughout, Lewis poses questions that are good to ask of technological design. This book is highly recommended for high school students thinking about careers in engineering. It has a good index and chapter bibliographies. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates; two-year technical program students.

--W. K. Bauchspies, Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

This volume covers metals and alloys, nonferrous metals, semiconductors, ceramics, polymers, earth materials, concrete, wood, fuels, composites, gases, and liquids. The treatment is idiosyncratic, e.g., 17 pages on aluminum and 52 on titanium. Cardarelli (Materials and Electrochemical Research Corp., Tucson) treats the welding and joining of titanium, nickel, tantalum, and molybdenum, but not aluminum. This reviewer found no mention of aluminum-lithium alloys, an important aerospace material for the space shuttle, the shuttle replacement, and modern aircraft. The index is poor, especially for a second edition; a great many items are not indexed. This volume offers much good material--historical, descriptive, physical, chemical, and industrial. However, given its price, it may not be a necessary acquisition; more in-depth information on the topics covered is available online. Nevertheless, many industrial and university libraries will find it a useful one-volume reference. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.

--A. M. Strauss, Vanderbilt University

Paradis and Zimmerman provide an introduction to basic technical writing and cover the types of documents likely to be produced by scientists and engineers. The authors acknowledge the importance of written communication in the workplace and use brief scenarios to provide a context for each of their chapters. They begin by describing how to define an audience and determine readers' interests in order to focus a document. Subsequent chapters address organizing and drafting documents, revising for organization and style, and creating graphics to accompany text. Later chapters are devoted to particular types of communications: memos and letters, proposals, technical reports, journal articles, and job search documents. They provide templates for sample documents and examples of graphics to illustrate the points made in their discussions. Sections on the use of electronic mail and writing for the World Wide Web are timely inclusions that acknowledge differences in computer-mediated communication and the print-on-paper environment. The approach throughout this book is practical, and the writing style direct and very readable. Recommended for use as a text in upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses in technical writing.

--J. M. Hurd, University of Illinois at Chicago

Outstanding Academic Title

For more than two decades, Petroski (civil engineering, Duke Univ.) has been delighting and educating readers with tales of engineering failures and how they can lead to safer technology. Like David Billington (The Innovators, CH, Oct'96, 34-0943), Petroski draws on the history of technology, but in his own unique way. In To Forgive Design, Petroski reviews recent engineering failures, including the 2007 collapse of the Minneapolis I-35W bridge over the Mississippi. While most of the study deals with bridges, the author's scope is wide, ranging from space shuttles to teeth. Always technically well informed and gifted with a comfortable, engaging storytelling style, Petroski shows readers how engineering design is a compromise between the ideal of perfect safety and the practicalities of limited resources. The lesson is that engineering makes advances through failure, but only if the lessons that failure teaches are applied to future projects. Marred only by an occasional overstrained metaphor, most of the time To Forgive Design succeeds in conveying Petroski's message in a way that can be appreciated by the general reader and put to practical use by engineering students of all levels, as well as professional practitioners. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.

--K. D. Stephan, Texas State University--San Marcos

In this third edition of What Is What in the Nanoworld (2nd ed., CH, Mar'09, 46-3601), Borisenko (Belarusian State Univ. of Informatics and Radioelectronics) and Ossicini (Univ. of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy) aim to create a handbook on all that is nanoscience and nanotechnology. Educating someone on every single topic that one could possibly come across in these wide-ranging, fast-paced fields would be a nearly impossible task. Instead, this volume serves as a dictionary and starting point for further study. The handbook covers a sweeping variety of topics, from the biologically relevant fluorescence in situ hybridization to applied techniques like plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition. The 2,200-plus entries are understandably succinct and require some background knowledge for an understanding of specific topics. Those who are new to a topic will often find notes labeled "More details in...," which lead readers to more information. This book would be most useful for those who are already familiar with nanoscience and nanotechnology but need a refresher from time to time on the terminology. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.

--N. M. Fahrenkopf, University at Albany

Much has happened since publication of the first edition of the Desk Reference more than a decade ago (1984). This second edition addresses some of the many technological and environmental events that have had an impact on the profession (e.g., composite materials, plastics, lasers, design process, quality assurance, ISO 9000, and intellectual property). A substantial new section on the design process is disfigured by a weak subsection on reference sources. The material about lasers is thin, covering the barest fundamentals. Quality assurance and total quality management are adequately and concisely summarized, but the references for these topics are dated--a definite shortcoming when the author's stated intention is to point readers to greater depth. Less troublesome cosmetic problems exist in the form of several blurred tables and a badly aligned page. Although this edition has little state-of-the-art material, engineering fundamentals are well covered. The book should prove useful for standard reference collections and practitioners.

--B. K. Delzell, Hewlett-Packard Company