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Pradeep Sharma's picture

Is rest of the world catching up with us? Perspective from Physical Review Letters...

I had posted this on the amd blog...I am posting it here as well:

Last year I attended the annual American Physical Society conference held in Baltimore (during the week of March 13th). One of the non-technical sessions included presentations by the APS journal editors--Physical Review A/B/C/D/E and Letters---and a panel discussion related to these journals. Since many of our mechanics and materials colleagues nowadays are interested in publishing in these journals, I thought I should post a link to some of the slides (from the editors presentation) that I found interesting. Many of the slides presented at APS are in the linked pdf file that also includes additional (humorous slides!) regarding reviewer issues.

While all types of content are valuable, with limited time, you may value one type more than others. Which one? Login and vote

research papers
23% (39 votes)
lecture notes
31% (53 votes)
forum discussions
25% (42 votes)
biographical sketches of mechanicians
4% (7 votes)
opinions concerning our field
8% (13 votes)
mechanics problems in industries
8% (13 votes)
Others. Please explain by writing a comment below
1% (2 votes)
Total votes: 169
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Operating Notes for the iMechanica Journal Club

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Guided by a thread that proposed the Journal Club, we evolve these operating notes. These notes are a work in progress, and will evolve as the iMechanica community and the Web technology evolve. Every moderator and architect can edit these notes. Every user can see the editing history. As always, every registered user can make suggestions by leaving comments.

A Model for Superplasticity not Controlled By Grain Boundary Sliding

It is commonly assumed that grain boundary sliding can control plastic deformation in fine grained crystalline solids.  Superplasticity is often considered to be controlled by grain boundary sliding, for example.  I have never accepted that view, though my own opinion is very much at odds with the commonly accepted picture.  When I was asked to write a paper in honor of Professor F.R.N. Nabarro's 90th birthday (Prof.

Zhigang Suo's picture

What Is Mechanics?

So, What is Mechanics? It seems that useful answers ought to depend on who you are talking to. If you are persuading your dean to hire a new faculty member in Mechanics, perhaps you’d like to point out promising research in one area or another, and how foundational mechanics is to the education of future scientists and technologists in (almost) all fields.

Finding more engineering and mechanics forums

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I am actually an Internet Marketer (and only have the pleasure of being involved with your forum through my affiliation with one of this forum's founders.) I find that many of my customers are in engineering, and I look far and wide for forums and blogs on their specific topics. Robotics, extrusion, and atomization are three of the areas where I look for forums/blogs but I almost never find any. Any suggestions?

Zhigang Suo's picture

We Are Mechanicians

In early days of Applied Mechanics News, I encountered a practical problem. How do we call ourselves? I began with a phrase "people in the international community of applied mechanics". The phrase is inclusive and descriptive, but is too long, too timid and too clumsy. It is like calling entropy "the logarithm of the number of quantum states". I have also heard the phrase "mechanics people", which I don't like either. It sounds too folksy, like calling a gynecologist a women's doctor.

Teng Li's picture

The Future of Cell Phone?

Here is one answer from Nokia.


Nokia 888 communicator, a concept design which recently won the Nokia's Benelux Design Award. It uses liquid battery, flexible touch display, speech recognition, touch sensitive body cover which lets it understand and adjust to the environment. It has a simple programmable body mechanism so that it changes forms in different situations. Don't forget to enjoy a video demo of this cell phone of future.
Yet one more future application of flexible electronics, it's clear there're great mechanics and materials challenges in making electronic devices flexible. It will be great mechanicians can help accelerate the advance of this emerging technology.

Roberto Ballarini's picture

Are notes and textbooks a higher priority than journal clubs?

I registered for iMechanica a few days ago, and found many postings instructive. Here is my first blog entry.

The topics being studied today by mechanicians are very difficult (what I often call "dirty problems"). In fact, often the mechanical theories (actually coupled mechanics, biology, chemistry) required to gain improved understanding are still in their infancy. Mechanicians that have entered fields such as mechanics of biological structures have gotten up to speed by paying the price (hopefully an enjoyable time on a learning curve) of reading large numbers of papers and discipline-based books. Many of these papers are cryptic and, while they may be of high scientific quality, they do not have significant pedagogical value to those entering the field (graduate students for example).

MichelleLOyen's picture

Thoughts on Integration of Biomechanics and Applied Mechanics

Biomechanics is a reasonably well-developed field of study, with a modern history usually linked to the pioneering work of Prof. Y.C. Fung in the 1960s. There are a number of dedicated biomechanics journals (including but not limited to the Journal of Biomechanics and the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering). The field is well-enough established to have several generations of researchers working on the subject at universities across the world.

Want papers published, proposals granted and to be a good reviewer? Here is the key --- "Ten Simple Rules" series.

Getting papers published and getting proposals granted are often great challeges for young researchers, let alone being a good reviewer. The "Ten Simple Rules" series by P.E. Bourne, L.M. Chalupa, and A. Korngreen delineate what we should follow.

More details about writing a good paper and proposal were also given by G. M. Whitesides ("writing a paper") and M.F. Ashby ("how to write a paper").

Martijn Feron's picture

Web journals threaten peer-review system

The peer review system has been the established way to select publicated research for decades. However, this way of publishing may come to an end.

New developments in this field embrace the idea that research should not be restricted by the iron grip of the journals. The value of the authors work is debated in cyberspace, leading to a number of consequences. Disadvantages include the possibility of a deluge of junk science due to the unfiltered publishing and online abuse concerning unfairly ridiculing rival's work. On the other side scientific discovery could be accelerated and online critiques may help detect mistakes or fraud more quickly.

Already the first initiatives are present, Philica, PLoS (Public Library of Science). Online journals are not boomingly popular, as they have attracted little attention so far. However, possibilities regarding reaching a broad audience in a fast way seem promising...

Zhigang Suo's picture

7 reasons to post your original ideas in iMechanica

1. iMechanica is free for all to use. iMechanica is hosted on a server at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, of Harvard University, and is managed by a team of volunteers -- mechanicians just like you. You pay nothing to post, and readers pay nothing to read. The limit of each upload file is 50MB, and each user is given 1GB server space.

Pradeep Sharma's picture

Journal Club: Response/Feedback requested

Hello everyone,

I had previously posted this entry on the AMD blog and perhaps it worthwhile to post it again on this forum. I would like to solicit feedback and comments on an idea to further enhance the role and utility of iMechanica.

This inspiration comes from Bell labs and the physics community.....

They started a journal club (year 2003). Each month ONLY 2-3 already published recent journal papers are reviewed and commentary posted in the form of a newsletter. Since only 2-3 papers are reviewed, the selection is much more stringent and careful. The contribution is regular and periodic (monthly). Hence, this newsletter is taken seriously by physicists.

In our case, this can be done within iMechanica. I suspect we could achieve the same kind of interest if we restrict "notable" papers to 1-3 per month and make it a regular monthly feature. In principle anyone could submit a commentary but the blog moderators will select the top 2-3.

The operational rules are open for discussion. Briefly though, I am thinking on the lines of rotating 1-2 moderators with a term of say 2 months. The moderator will receive commentaries on recently published papers RELATED to mechanics area. The moderator will highlight 1-3 notable commentaries in the journal club newsletter. A key requirement must be that the commentaries/paper highlighted are related to mechanics in some form or the other. The concept of rotating moderator is to provide breadth and prevent bias of any one individual. Rotation of journal club moderators will also keep the "work-load" well distributed.

Zhigang Suo's picture

The long tail of papers

(Initially posted in Applied Mechanics News on 25 July 2006)

In an entry on pay per paper, I alluded to Chris Anderson's new book, The Long Tail. It should be straightforward to collect page views or down loads or citations of individual papers in a journal. You can plot the numbers of hits of individual papers against the rankings of the papers. Here is the curve for articles in Slate. (Not sure why data stopped at top 500 hits. Why not go further to see a really long tail?) Hope someone in Applied Mechanics will show the same data for JMPS, IJSS, MOM, etc. It will be fun.

Here is the gist of Anderson's observation: If you care about the total sale, as a publisher might, then what matters is the area under the curve; the contribution of the tail may rival that of the head. This much is objective, and should not be controversial.

Now allow me to play a variation of the theme, which is admittedly subjective and possibly controversial. Let's say the net contribution of a journal to new knowledge is proportional to the area under the curve (the subjective part). Then numerous less cited papers may make a significant contribution comparable to the contribution made by the best cited papers.

If you are interested in this argument, you might as well generalize the analysis from a single journal to all journals in a field, or to all journals in science, engineering and medicine. I'm not sure if such a curve has ever been plotted, but the job should not be too hard.

Now, if you are an individual author, surely you'd like to have a lot of hits for your own papers, just as Anderson is celebrating his book becoming a best seller. However, if your job is to increase the total knowledge, as the NSF is set up to do, then you might as well pay as much attention to the long tail as to the tall head.

Teng Li's picture

Why should you post in iMechanica?

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Because you love mechanics and because you want to help others to learn mechanics. Well, these may be part of the reason. Perhaps more importantly, you would like to help yourself by helping others to discover you and your research.

Teng Li's picture

Online Journal Club on Flexible Electronics

For many years, people accumulate personal collections of academic publications of interest in paper form. As such collections grow with time, more file cabinets and book shelves are needed for storage. First, space becomes a problem. Second, finding a specific paper could be a headache, even if the collections are well categorized.

As more and more publications become available online in recent years, people gradually switch to collect electronic versions, e.g. PDF files of papers. These files are often stored in local hard drives. Space is not an issue anymore. But again, locating a paper from hundreds of files in tens of folders still might be a heck of efforts.

Besides the difficulty in searching, other common shortcomings include:

  • Locally stored, limited access flexibility.
  • Personally owned, not easy to share with other people. As a result, the scale of personal collections is often limited.
  • Redundently collected. Consider this: a same gem paper is manually archived by thousands of people individually.
  • Statically and passively maintained. Lack of interactions among people sharing common interests.

Any better idea? Here comes Web2.0, which is all about online collaboration. Among the numerous tools enabled by Web2.0, CiteULike could be the one able to solve the above issues for us. A previous post in AMN explored the possibility to form online journal club based on CiteULike. Here is an example.

Zhigang Suo's picture

Wikipedia and Applied Mechanics

(Originally posted on Applied Mechanics News on 25 February 2006)

Teng Li's picture

What can mechanics community learn from the success of Google?

A cartoon in The New Yorker magazine shows a boy asking his dad a question. The dad, reading a book, replies, “Go ask your search engine.” The cartoon was published in Feb. 2000, three months before Google officially became the world's largest search engine with its introduction of a billion-page index — the first time so much of the web's content was made searchable. If the boy asks again today, his dad will say, “Go ask Google.”

At $6 billion a year in revenue and $7.6 billion in cash, Google is a success. What’s more important to the rest of us, Google is running its business in a way that may change the world. Through its never-about-average products (i.e., Google search, Google Earth (and Mars too), Google Map, and more recently, Writely), Google is radically redefining the ways we obtain, organize, use, store, and share information.

Zhigang Suo's picture

Applied Mechanics in the Age of Web 2.0

The ASME International Applied Mechanics Division has about 5000 members. The number is too large for us to know each other individually, but too small for CNN to cover us in the Situation Room.

Then came the Internet. We have since been in touch through emails, and looked up each other on the Web. Many web pages created in 1990s, however, are static. For such a web page, the bottleneck is often the webmaster. He or she gets a request each time anyone wants to post anything. It is more like a broadcast than a web.

In recent years, there have been waves of new internet phenomena, such as Wikipedia, Real Simple Syndicates (RSS), open-source movement, and web logs (blogs). They are collectively known as Web 2.0.

Zhigang Suo's picture

Let us seize the greatest opportunity of our time

We've been hearing rumors that print is dead, killed by the Internet. What is the reality then? For example, how are newspapers doing? Not too badly, according to the numbers cited by James Surowiecki, of The New Yorker. He also made the following remarks, however.

"The popular conviction that papers are doomed may cause owners and shareholders to prefer the cash-cow approach, accepting eventual oblivion while continuing to harvest billions of dollars in profits. Settling for a tolerable short-term future, newspapers could end up writing themselves out of the long-term one. Yet it’s also clear that this moment of supposed doom represents a sizable opportunity for newspapers, a chance to reinvigorate their product and, eventually, improve the economics of their business."

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