“The Making of an Expert Engineer” was published nearly five years ago in 2014. I have received lots of complimentary feedback for which I am very grateful.
An early review on Amazon claimed the book could have been written with 100 pages. Maybe. However the book could not have been complete without the research evidence to substantiate its claims. And I think, with respect, that the content that engineers need occupies more than 100 pages, while agreeing that it can be presented in less than 600 pages.
So here are the early drafts of my new book which is shorter and designed to help novice engineers in the first three to five years. The book is designed to be read over 2-3 years, and is presented as a series of short chapters with practice exercises. Ideally the book should also be read by supervisors and mentors so that they can help novices assess their progress.
Some of you may be disappointed with the Australian federal election result last Saturday. Especially if you think like I do, that we need to take stronger action to reduce greenhouse emissions and also to prepare people for much warmer weather to come.
Actually, there’s not much politicians can really do. Think about it. Pretty much everything we need to do to reduce greenhouse emissions relies on engineering and that in turn relies on private finance.
Maybe you guessed I spent much of my “free” time last year writing and editing a new book “30-Second Engineering” (available at Amazon from October 1). You can see a preview here.
This was a challenge: how to describe every major field of engineering, common methods and ideas, with interesting new aspects of engineering in 50 pages with just 180 words for each. I had to learn how to write extremely compact prose and edit pieces from 28 other contributors into a consistent style. Katie Crous, the copy editor, was such a great help in this.
The book starts with an introduction and, in writing that, I realised that I had to redefine engineering to recapture its essence. I have been researching engineering practice, what engineers actually do, for nearly twenty years, and perhaps the short definition below brings all that research into two sentences.
Happy Australia Day!
Happy India Republic Day!
Engineers Australia is pushing for mandatory registration of engineers and other key professionals in the Australian construction industry, following recommendations from a report by Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir prepared for the Building Minister’s Forum.
Despite welcome recommendations in the report to improve the standard of documentation and formal checking, our research showed that engineers are disinclined to perform rigorous checking of design documents, even when they are required to in the context of strict quality assurance systems for hazardous installations.
Richard Branson has helped publicize the recently announced Global Cooling Prize on his blog, calling for disruption of the air conditioning industry. It’s nice to have forward thinking confirmed by others because Close Comfort already meets or exceeds most of the prize requirements!
Close Comfort can help save the planet by eliminating one of the largest predicted sources of greenhouse emissions, and this could be done soon enough to help avoid a climate catastrophe.
Paul Romer, chief economist at the World Bank until earlier this year, is certainly worthy of the recognition that comes with sharing the Nobel Prize for economics.
But, has he missed something, along with many others?
His famous 1990 paper on endogenous growth theory explained the success of Western economies in leveraging the power of ideas, creating enormous prosperity, and elevating the notion of “technology” as the key for economic growth. For the last decade, much of his effort has been focused on promoting economic development for the world’s poor, most of whom live in less developed countries.
I was surprised and honoured to learn that I have been selected as a finalist in the professions category for West Australian of the Year: http://www.celebratewa.com.au/2018-finalists/professions-award-finalists/.
I have to say thank you to those who nominated me first and the judging panel. I also need to thank everyone who has been part of my life and the projects which were cited in the award and so many others too. Thank you to all the Close Comfort team and so many customers who have bought our products. Many good people at UWA, particularly in the engineering and mathematical sciences faculty, deserve recognition for all the help and support they have provided. Thank you to my family and so many other people who have helped and supported me for so long.
Just one thing, since I have your attention. We in Australia are so fortunate, a vast and richly endowed continent, with so many wonderful energetic people who care about the world. We can help others build a better future for all. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to help with ideas and inventions that could improve life for everyone, especially those suffering from heat and inadequate drinking water. Our future depends on how we help the least fortunate, everywhere, and at the same time help build a better world for our children and grandchildren. There are lots of ways to help: please do what you can, either yourself or by supporting people who can make a difference.
I have taken on the job of editing a short book – 30 Second Engineering being published by Ivy Press. The aim is to provide non-engineers with a quick introduction to what engineering is all about.
The book is part of a widely published, popular series and is likely to be translated into many languages.
Part of the challenge is to describe everything about engineering a non-engineer might want to know in 50 paragraphs of 220 words, each encapsulating a separate engineering topic!
Here’s a draft for mechatronics, just to give you an idea of the content we are aiming for.
I need your help with suggestions for famous engineers to be featured in the book, particularly engineers from Asian or other countries and not so well known in the English-speaking world.
Added 17th July 2019:
Well, the book is in production now and will be available on October 1, 2019. Place your orders now with your favourite book seller.
You probably know that I now spend most of my time running our little technology startup company Close Comfort. We recently passed a significant milestone with over 1000 of our energy-saving air conditioners sold to happy customers.
It all started with my marriage to wonderful wife and partner Samina Yasmeen. Living with her Pakistan family brought summer reality.
Two billion people South Asia dread the summer. Shimmering heat starts in March and April and stifling sweaty nights last into November. Listless days follow nights of fitful sleep at 40C under noisy fans. A tiny privileged elite run energy guzzling split air conditioners, crippling electricity grids.
Load shedding, a novelty in Australia, is routine across south Asia and Africa: power is on and off every hour or two. Batteries keep fans and LED lights on but the unit electricity cost soars.
Sustainable relief from heat and humidity is now in sight thanks to our energy-saving air conditioning technology. It’s a great thrill that our air conditioners are now in 5 countries, albeit with small-scale marketing campaigns.