Happy Birthday, Edwin Hubble

Thomas Forrister November 20, 2018

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure ‘science.’” — Edwin Hubble Imagine if the entire universe consisted of the Milky Way galaxy alone. Most scientists thought this was the case before astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered other galaxies. Considered the founder of extragalactic astronomy, Hubble was one of the leading 20th-century figures in observational cosmology and provided evidence that the universe expands at a constant rate.

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Thomas Forrister November 14, 2018

In the 1615 novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, the titular character, who fantasizes about being a medieval knight, mistakes windmills for giants and charges at them, only to get his lance stuck in one of the sails. While modern wind turbine blades don’t have to withstand that kind of pointed force, it’s important to perform stress and modal analyses of blade designs to account for various — and more realistic — structural and environmental loads.

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Thomas Forrister October 24, 2018

During routine exams, eye care professionals look for common refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. As patients age, doctors also look for presbyopia, a loss of the accommodative amplitude that results long-term in a complete loss of the near vision. The visual accommodation process is complex, and useful eye properties needed to improve diagnosis and presbyopia treatment are difficult to obtain. To address the problem of measuring the refractive index of the lens, researchers developed a reverse engineering technique […]

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Thomas Forrister October 23, 2018

Starting with photography, William D. Coolidge had a lifelong interest in light and images. His pursuits in electrical engineering drove him to develop the incandescent light bulb, using ductile tungsten as the wire filament. This tungsten method lit the way for further developments in X-ray and radiology technology, helping medical professionals more accurately diagnose their patients.

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Thomas Forrister October 17, 2018

Earlier this month, simulation engineers and researchers presented their papers and posters at the COMSOL Conference 2018 Boston. Six papers and posters were selected to win awards, with top papers determined by a program committee and top posters determined by popular vote among attendees. Read on to learn what made these papers and posters stand out as award winners among many excellent contributions.

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Thomas Forrister September 20, 2018

After a pleasant day at the beach, you open your car door. It’s warm inside the vehicle, but it’s nothing a little air conditioning can’t fix. Then you sit down. The seat is burning hot, making for an uncomfortable ride home. Fortunately, there’s a way to avoid this scenario: Engineers can use thermoelectric devices that leverage the Seebeck and Peltier effects to control the temperature of car seats (among other applications).

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Thomas Forrister September 13, 2018

With the rise of 5G and other wireless millimeter-wave applications, there has been an increase in front-end antenna solutions that depend on monopole, dipole, and patch antennas. In these devices, the radiation efficiency tends to suffer due to the effect of lossy silicon substrate materials. Enter the dielectric resonator: Antennas using these resonators (made of nonmetallic materials) have a higher radiation efficiency. To increase directivity and gain at high frequencies, engineers can optimize dielectric resonator antenna (DRA) designs with simulation.

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Thomas Forrister August 31, 2018

Hermann von Helmholtz was a German scientist, doctor, and philosopher who made advances in many scientific fields, including electrodynamics, optics, and thermodynamics. He invented several devices, such as the ophthalmoscope and the polyphonic siren, and is also known for the Helmholtz coil. By exploring the philosophy of science, Helmholtz made accurate connections about the laws of nature, perception, and empiricism.

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Thomas Forrister August 17, 2018

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration.” — Nikola Tesla Can we “see” sound? Not directly, but we can come close. By changing our perspective, we can learn a lot about the nature of acoustics. One way to observe acoustics phenomena is by studying standing waves in a solid medium known as a Chladni plate. A special technique creates patterns on the plate that reveal sound’s physical nature.

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Thomas Forrister August 8, 2018

Paul Dirac was a theoretical physicist who laid the foundations for quantum theory as we now know it. He was highly motivated by the pursuit of mathematical beauty, and his calculations led him to predict the existence of antimatter and reconcile special relativity with quantum mechanics. Regarded as the founder of quantum electrodynamics, Dirac played an important role in the development of atomic theory for the 20th century and beyond.

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Thomas Forrister August 1, 2018

Considered the “Father of Nuclear Medicine”, George de Hevesy was a radiochemist who was just as interested in chemical processes as he was in their outcomes. Among his many discoveries, de Hevesy is best known for expanding the applications of X-ray florescence and using radioactive isotopes as tracers to study chemical processes. He also helped discover a chemical element and cofounded the field of radioactivation analysis.

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