The Engineering Commons Podcast

The Engineering Commons Podcast

Germany

Practical insights for the engineering crowd

Episodes

Episode 121 — Idle Doodling  

In this episode of The Engineering Commons, our intrepid crew discusses planning, leading and attending the dreaded corporate meeting. It seems that Brian elects to daydream when in boring meetings, whereas Jeff has been known to doodle extensively. Jeff located a website claiming to offer doodle analysis and interpretation, although the disclaimer notes that it … Continue reading Episode 121 — Idle Doodling

Episode 120 — Augmented Engineer  

This episode of The Engineering Commons finds Adam, Brian, Carmen and Jeff predicting how virtual and augmented realities might soon be incorporated into daily engineering activities. Adam’s not so sure he’s ready to plug into the Matrix. Brian suggests that understanding differential calculus is much less practical than knowing Kung Fu. Bullet time is a … Continue reading Episode 120 — Augmented Engineer

Episode 119 — Gears  

Brian, Carmen and Jeff discuss mechanical gears in this episode of The Engineering Commons. Although a mechanical engineer, Jeff isn’t much for working on cars. We share a few stories about synchronizing generators, including use of a synchroscope. Brian mentions mechanisms with extremely high gear ratios. The two main functions of gears are trading off … Continue reading Episode 119 — Gears

Episode 118 — Practical Engineering  

In this episode of The Engineering Commons podcast, we talk with civil engineer Grady Hillhouse, producer of YouTube’s Practical Engineering channel. Carmen has been known to wield a reciprocating saw as he refines his woodworking skills. Our guest for this episode is Grady Hillhouse, a professional civil engineer from Austin, Texas who runs the Practical … Continue reading Episode 118 — Practical Engineering

Episode 117 — Soft Skills  

This episode of The Engineering Commons dives into the importance of “soft skills” to engineering professionals. A fictional giant from the 1984 Ghostbusters movie, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is the chosen form of Gozer the Gozerian. We use the LinkedIn article “Top 5 Must-Have Soft Skills for Professional Engineers” as a framework for our … Continue reading Episode 117 — Soft Skills

Episode 116 — The Grid  

Adam, Brian and Jeff discuss the electrical grid in this episode of The Engineering Commons. The difference engine, conceived of by J. H. Müller in 1786, and designed by Charles Babbage in the 1820s, is often considered the world’s first computer. Brian notes that electric furnaces are increasingly used in steel production. Adam and Brian … Continue reading Episode 116 — The Grid

Episode 115 — Bearings  

Carmen and Jeff discuss mechanical bearings in this episode of The Engineering Commons podcast. Carmen has a pretty good sense of his navigational bearing, but is less knowledgeable about mechanical bearings. U.S. interstate highways are numbered with even numbered roads going primarily east-west, and odd numbered roads passing mostly north-south. Differences between skateboards and longboards … Continue reading Episode 115 — Bearings

Episode 114 — Driven Electrons  

Brian leads our discussion of electric vehicles in this episode of The Engineering Commons podcast. Carmen notes that a single resting electron has a mass of 9.11 x 10-31 kilograms. Brian suggests some form of positronic vehicular propulsion might be possible, although radiation issues would make it impractical for most earthbound applications. One of the … Continue reading Episode 114 — Driven Electrons

Episode 113 — Chemical Engineering  

Chris Welch joins Adam, Brian, Carmen, and Jeff to talk about the field of chemical engineering. Jeff believes in unicorns, even though he’s never seen one! From his childhood, Jeff recalls watching a DuPont film about “Better Living Through Chemistry.” Our guest for this episode is Chris Welch, a chemical engineer from New Brunswick, Canada, … Continue reading Episode 113 — Chemical Engineering

Episode 112 — Boomer Exodus  

The gang discusses opportunities and challenges of dealing with Baby Boomers as they depart the engineering field. Adam is aware of the “retirement cliff,” which describes an impending loss of skilled workers, nearly all of them Baby Boomers, in a short period of time. Americans tend to derive much of their self-identity from their jobs, … Continue reading Episode 112 — Boomer Exodus

Episode 111 — Environmental Engineering  

Bronwyn Bell joins Adam, Brian, Carmen, and Jeff to discuss the challenges and responsibilities of an environmental engineer working in the mining sector. Carmen likes to help out local beer brewers in harvesting hops, but he’s not sure what makes for a good hops growing season. Environmental engineers plan, design and manage projects associated with … Continue reading Episode 111 — Environmental Engineering

Episode 110 — Engineering Vacation  

Adam, Brian, Carmen and Jeff discuss the activities they enjoy when escaping the workplace for a few days. Brian enjoyed reading Michael Lewis’ book “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” on a recent vacation. Adam’s vacation time is more likely spent making home repairs than traveling to the beach. Vacation spots of possible interest … Continue reading Episode 110 — Engineering Vacation

Episode 109 — Design Process  

Adam, Brian, Carmen and Jeff discuss theoretical and practical aspects of the design process, as well as the emotional states they experience when engaged in design activities. Carmen is starting to gain confidence in his design abilities. Jeff notes that a lot of his colleagues wanted to be design engineers, but the number of available … Continue reading Episode 109 — Design Process

Episode 108 — Engineering Sensibilities  

Adam, Brian, Carmen and Jeff discuss an engineer’s sense of right and wrong, and why that worldview may conflict with organizational priorities. A recent article in Engineering & Technology Magazine addressed the issue of whether engineers are “made,” or “born.” Brian references the classic spherical chicken joke. A discussion ensues about how often engineers see … Continue reading Episode 108 — Engineering Sensibilities

Episode 107 — Steel  

This episode of The Engineering Commons finds Adam, Brian and Jeff talking about steel, the most common of engineering metals. Jeff and Brian consider whether comic book hero Superman should have been called the “Man of Osmium,” or the “Man of Molybdenum,” rather than the “Man of Steel.” Steel is not an element one can … Continue reading Episode 107 — Steel

Episode 106 — Flight Test  

Aerospace engineer Eric Becker explains the duties of a flight test engineer, and offers a few insights on dealing with operational risk, in this episode of The Engineering Commons. Like most engineers, Carmen occasionally worries whether he’s made the proper decision at work. To avoid making mistakes, Carmen suggests napping under one’s desk, like George … Continue reading Episode 106 — Flight Test

Episode 105 — Reddit Questions 3  

Adam, Brian, Carmen and Jeff answer questions from Reddit, and discuss a few queries of their own making. Jeff is patiently waiting to be asked to consult for an obscenely large hourly rate. Brian struggles to remember the exact wording of a quotation from the movie Good Will Hunting: “Nobody in this town works without … Continue reading Episode 105 — Reddit Questions 3

Episode 104 — Downturn  

Civil engineer Mike O’Connor shares stories of continuously revamping his professional skills to stay afloat during turbulent economic times. Adam sees economic cycles, both short- and long-term, influencing his engineering activities. Petroleum engineers have recently seen an economic downturn in their industry, similar to a downward slide suffered 30 years ago by the oil business. … Continue reading Episode 104 — Downturn

Episode 103 — Ones and Zeros  

Electrical engineer Dave Vandenbout guides us through a survey of programmable logic devices, and offers advice for young engineers wanting to succeed in the world of digital design. Brian finds his work offers a good mix of analog and digital electronic design challenges. The issue of signal integrity has been discussed on several podcasts, including … Continue reading Episode 103 — Ones and Zeros

Episode 102 — Admiral Rickover  

Metallurgical engineer Paul Cantonwine shares insights into the life and career of Admiral H. G. Rickover in this biographical episode of The Engineering Commons podcast. Adam has no interest in being associated with solar FREAKIN’ roadways. (While a cool concept, not everyone believes solar roadways are feasible.) Our guest for this episode is materials engineer … Continue reading Episode 102 — Admiral Rickover

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