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Hydrogen and Cryogenics Cool. Fuel.

Community and Culture

Community and Culture

  • Cool Fuel: The class I needed

    (This is a preprint of my column “Cool Fuel” for Cold Facts, the magazine of the Cryogenic Society of America.)

    Flash back for a moment to that time in college when the professor had a typo on the assignment that caused you to lose a night in frustration. Anger, fatigue, and disrespect come to mind as you stormed to class the next day, handed in the assignment, and pointed out the mistake, now corrected. The professor, unmoved by the display, proceeds to pull up the original research publication on which the assignment was based, where the same error appears, an error, sans erratum, that … » More …

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  • A key difference between science and engineering

    … is practice.

    We have a rule in the lab that any demonstration must first be trialed at least 5 times without error before being made public.

    Why 5? 5 is a common threshold to begin using statistical methods to establish confidence (a.k.a. coverage factors and uncertainties).

    In science, a single test can show a phenomena, verify a theory, and increase understanding of the Universe.

    Engineering though, doesn’t care so much about understanding, as much as reproducibility. That that something, based on science, can be done over and over again, including by the public, without fail.

    A key difference between science and engineering is practice. … » More …

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  • Codependence in the development of people and teams

    WSU may be the best developmental engineering program in the Western US. Nowhere else will you find a more rural Research 1 class institution that is typically viewed as the #2 school in the state. These two defining traits are directly aligned with our Land-Grant founding mission to bridge the technoeconomic urban versus rural divide. Where some schools just process through people who were already performers, WSU must reap the seeds we sow. Said simply, we’re going to do our best to develop you into your best. Since we’re the only liquid hydrogen research focused lab in US academia, everyone coming in the door … » More …

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  • How To Engage With Professionals

    In collaboration with Jacob Leachman.

    Today I got lucky, I received the opportunity for a redo without having to face any consequences. I logged on to a zoom call expecting to meet with a professional and I was drastically underprepared. As a testament to my lack of preparation, I soon learned that our meeting was actually scheduled for next week. I took a deep breath, realizing that I would get a second chance. As a student, my goal is to learn, not just about hydrogen, but to absorb the knowledge and skills necessary to become a professional myself. Writing this blog post will serve as … » More …

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  • Reasons to be thankful extracted from reference letters

    Phrases I’m thankful for extracted from the reference letters I’ve written for the lab over the years:

    “the quiet type that finishes everything they started.”

    “I soon discovered that the majority of our recent hires applied because of them.”

    “They quickly became a go-to member who could be relied upon.”

    “They knew how to ask the types of questions that really engaged me.”

    “Instead of asking for direction, they proposed paths and requested feedback.”

    “They demonstrated continuous improvement by posting a plan, then improving on the plan for others.”

    “They often saved time via quick calculations before heading to the lab.”

    “Asked whether they are … » More …

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  • How we master engineering through daily practice

    “How do you practice to perform as an engineer?” — HYPER lab mentor PK Northcutt II

    The question was simple and sincere. But I (Jake Leachman) had no answer. I had been an ‘engineer’ for over a decade and was now teaching others to be ‘engineers’, but I had nothing. With a decade of experience practicing football, shotput and discus, Jazz trombone, you name it; I had practiced for decades but could not identify a singular act or trait in engineering that could be considered deliberate ‘practice’ as I had, well, practiced with these other professional performances. Sure I’d given students homework problems to do … » More …

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  • Learning how to say thank you, from one professional to another


    Looking back over my life a consistent thread has emerged with the people I’ve tried to keep around — they know how to say thank you, or express gratitude, in memorable ways. Although this could be a nuance particular to me, my guess is you’ve noticed similar trends in your life. So why is it we so often struggle to say thanks as a community? How am I supposed to teach aspiring professionals to say thank you, professionally and appropriately, to other professionals? I … » More …

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  • You had an idea! Now what?

    It’s awesome when it happens. A new concept or idea for something to solve a problem for yourself or someone else just popped into your head (more on that here). For me the hair stands up on my neck and I want to run to the nearest person and tell them the idea and why it’s important. Evidently I have a crazy look on my face when this happens because it’s scared people before. Here’s the deal — excitement like this is contagious, and unless you’re careful to get your ducks in a row, it could lead to false hope/promises and unmet expectations.

    What … » More …

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  • Grit and Overcoming the Fear of Failure

    A Forward

    By Yulia Gitter

    As I sat on my back porch late one night chatting with some colleagues from the HYPER Lab, we somehow managed to come up on the topic of failure. This has always been a subject of interest to me because I have failed a lot in my life so far, but have always been able to bounce back quickly and thrive nonetheless. Knowing only a very small part of my colleague’s background, I just blurted out “have you ever failed at anything?” I meant no harm by the question but was genuinely curious as to what his response would be. … » More …

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  • HYPER lab Stories from Summer 2020

    Every semester young and old members of the HYPER lab complete a work specification document and review it with Mark Parsons and I. This work spec develops an anticipated plan for the term while identifying ideal team-mates and overall goals. Ideally, this plan merges the personal drive and overarching individual goals with those of the lab. At the end of the term the final story of work is submitted in a format that allows the story of what was accomplished to be easily told to potential employers or supporters. To build on this tradition, I realized this summer that these stories have a greater … » More …

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Professional Practice

Check out posts related to how HYPER explores professionalism in the workplace.

Safety

Here at HYPER, safety is our number one priority. Learn about how we have built this into our lab culture.