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Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) Laboratory Cool. Fuel.

Musings of a Cryogenicist: Day 3 – Interior Components

Alright, so you have a test chamber, you have a vacuum pump (I’ll get more in depth into in a future post), and you have a cryocooler. Now what? Well now we get down to the nitty gritty, now it’s all about designing the experiment itself. First you need to figure out what kind of measurements you need, and what other peripherals are necessary. In my case, so far I have figured that I need thermocouples for temperature measurements and fiber optical cable rated at cryogenic temperatures for my Raman Spectroscopy measurements. I also need some wires to run to my heater so that I … » More …

Taxonomy of values for the community-systemic meme shift

In a prior post I showed that Bloom’s taxonomy, an ok tool for scaffolding student learning, was fundamentally limited to the legalistic-performance shift occurring in society when the taxonomy was developed. I then presented a follow up taxonomy for the performance-communitarian shift that identified important learning ideas that Bloom’s taxonomy doesn’t address, and helps to match our current societal memetic shift. The next step is the community-systemic shift that is already happening in societal niches, areas … » More …

The 4-E’s: End US Engineering Education of English units.

I’m teaching a junior level engineering course and the question was raised as to what units we should be using. Here’s my units rant:
I guarantee you will solve your problems faster, with fewer mistakes if you use base SI as your units system. It’s the only completely self-consistent unit system. Here are the steps:
1) Whatever units your problem is setup as, convert everything immediately to base SI: kg, N, s, K, Pa, m
2) Solve the problem in base SI, check for unit issues with a program like EES
3) Convert the solution back to whatever units you and … » More …

Work flow identification

We ran an interesting experiment in the HYPER lab the other day. The following picture was handed to all of the lab members and they were asked to:

Identify which diagram best describes how work/tasks/information flows in the lab (dots are people, arrows are flows).
Identify which diagram best describes how things should ideally flow.

The exercise helped change how we communicate. We now have a weekly member lunch and activity on the blog has increased. I’ll leave you to decide on how the image relates to spiral memes.

Lab organization exercise» More …

Don’t feed the bears! –of engineering education


One of my good friends was talking to me about his new class the other day. He was lamenting the amount of work it is responding to homework questions of his 60+ students posted to a discussion forum. I asked him whether the students help each other out in the forum, and he said no, they wait for him to answer. To which I responded, “Don’t feed the bears!”

Having discussion forums for student questions is a great approach for engineering education, one that Chelsea clued me into when I first started teaching. The reason … » More …

Musings of a new Cryogenecists: Day 2 – The test chamber

The test chamber may not be the most technically challenging or complicated part of the cryo-design, but it is arguably the most important. Without it, you have no chamber to pull a vacuum on, no enclosed boundaries for your cryocooler to take energy from, and nothing to mount your experiment to. Luckily I am inheriting an already functioning test chamber from Jake Fisher. As I noted in the first post, you must balance time, cost, and ease of design. This means that while I could design a completely new test chamber that fit the specifications for my experiment exactly, … » More …

Communication mediums and societal memes

In a prior post I defined spiral memes (SD) as the taxonomy of epistemological character development levels identified in human history by psychologist Clare Graves. After reading Beck and Cowan’s book on SD, I started connecting other facets of society to the SD taxonomy. One of the most compelling examples I’ve come up with is the dominant information transfer mode of an SD level. The theory being that a distinctly different societal meme/phase should flow information differently the phases that came prior or after. Here’s a quick figure showing what I’m alluding to:

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Musings of a new Cryogenecists: Day 1 – A new journey

This post is my thoughts as I’m designing my graduate experiment setup. If you’ve never done anything with cryogenics, but are planning on doing it in the future, hopefully it will dissuade you from some of the pit falls that I will invariably fall into; and for those that have done cryogenic work in the past, you can see me as I walk head-long into some of those pit falls. This is by no means supposed to be a comprehensive list to follow!

Designing any scientific experiment is an acquired skill, requiring some experience before it really becomes second nature. You have to figure out … » More …

Transfer learning in toddlers and engineers Part 3: The Solution

In parts 1 and 2 of this series post we identified a key problem with Bloom’s taxonomy as applied to children and engineering. We then placed the problem into the broader memetic framework of spiral memes to establish limits on Bloom’s and initiated a path towards new needs for societal and educational growth. Here in part 3 we’ll present a new set of taxonomys and examples to guide future learning paradigms.

While the flipped classroom is a welcomed performance/communitarian meme shift approach to learning, it often … » More …