The following books are reviewed in this issue: Excel for Scientists and Engineers (Billo, E.J.; 2007); Parameter Estimation for Scientists and Engine... Book reviews

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by John J. Shea

Excel for Scientists and Engineers E.J. Billo John Wiley & Sons 111 River Street Hoboken, NJ 07030 Phone: (877) 762-2974 FAX: (800) 597-3299 http://www.wiley.com ISBN 978-0-471-38734-3 473p. - $50.00 (Softcover), 2007 Excel is a ubiquitous program, yet many people do not fully utilize or even know about the full potential of the program. It can be very useful for solving equations using numerical methods. There are many canned functions in Excel that can be applied to data sets and used to solve basic equations, but there is also the ability to write macros or programs using a form of visual basic called visual basic for applications (VBA). Complex numerical methods can be applied to data sets in Excel to solve many types of engineering problems. This book is a great book to learn how to use not only the basic functions available in Excel but also to learn VBA and how to apply it to solve complex problems by numerical methods. The first two chapters are an introduction to VBA programming. It provides a good background for understanding, writing, and modifying VBA code. Some of the more fundamental applications described, of which there are many examples to learn from, are matrices, number series, interpolation, differentiation, integration, equation roots, and

July/August 2008 — Vol. 24, No.4

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solving simultaneous equations. These are more academic in nature but may be used in the solution of a larger problem. Some of the more practical numerical application techniques explained are ordinary differential equations with initial conditions and boundary conditions, partial differential equations, and linear regression and curve fitting. There are also chapters describing the use of the SOLVER function, random numbers, and the Monte Carlo Method. There is a CD-ROM that accompanies this book that contains examples from the book, problems with answers given from each chapter, and an add-in to Excel containing custom functions for use in any Excel workbook. This book can really help our readers take equations and get them into a form that can be programmed using VBA to obtain solutions. By having these in Excel, graphical solutions can easily be obtained, and the code and solutions are easily portable to any computer having Excel. This is a wonderful book for power users of Excel or those wanting to learn VBA and could also be useful as a course book in numerical methods because it does have problems contained in each chapter. Working engineers as well as students will find this book to be very interesting and useful.

Parameter Estimation for Scientists and Engineers A. van den Bos John Wiley & Sons 111 River Street Hoboken, NJ 07030 Phone: (877) 762-2974 FAX: (800) 597-3299 http://www.wiley.com ISBN 978-0-470-14781-8 287p. - $95.00 (Hardcover), 2007 Statistics is widely used in science and engineering, but many times is given little emphasis. Frequently, engineers and scientists use the least-squares method to estimate a line fit for measured data, and,

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frequently, there are better ways to estimate a data fit. This book shows how to improve upon the least-squares method of estimating fit parameters to data. The author introduces methods for the solution of general types of parameter estimation problems often observed in science and engineering. This book is more aimed toward the hard-core scientist or engineer who is into statistical methods. The author takes a very heavy mathematical approach and assumes the reader has prior working knowledge of basic statistics including univariate and multivariate distributions, expectation, covariance, and hypothesis testing. It is not a casual, easy-to-read book that most people would discuss around the dinner table. Chapter 1 presents a brief introduction of terminology. Next, statistical parameter estimation models of observations are explained, followed by distribution functions (normal, Poisson, multinominal, and exponential). After this follows a chapter on precision and accuracy used to determine to what extent measured data reduce the uncertainty about the hypothetical true value of a parameter. Next, the maximum likelihood estimation and least-squares estimation are presented. This chapter is useful for determining the best model for fitting your data and ways to check the fit to confirm your choice of model. The author likes to use the maximum likelihood estimator; however, as he explains, the least-squares method is widely used and is also discussed in detail. The remainder of the book covers numerical methods for parameter estimation. This is the applied section of the book, whereas the previous two-thirds was dedicated to theory. There are also sections and appendices on solutions to problems given in the book, vector and matrices, and matrix math. Not for the mathematically challenged reader, this book would be suitable for a graduate-level course in statistics or for the engineer or scientist deeply involved in accurately representing curve fit models of statistical data.

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Charts for Prediction and Chance M. Markus Imperial College Press 57 Shelton Street Covent Garden London WC2H 9HE Phone +44 (0)20 7836 0888 Fax: +44 (0)20 7836 2020 Distributed by World Scientific Publishing Co. 5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore596224 Phone 65-6466-5775 Fax 65-6467-7667 In USA 27 Warren Street Suite 401-402 Hackensack, NJ 07601 Phone (800) 227-7562 Fax (888) 977-2665 http://www.icpress.co.uk ISBN 978-1-86094-835-0 $89.00, £48 (Hardcover, with CD-ROM), 2007 This author, who has been creating some very beautiful computer-generated images for the past 25 years, has written a book to show readers how he obtains these stunning images. This type of work reminds me of Mandelbrot equations and fractals. In this work, discrete equations are plotted. The book describes many types of discrete equations, many of which describe real-world phenomena such as an electronic oscillator, a laser pulse in a ring cavity, and periodically driven p-n junctions just to name a few. Images of these and many other equations are plotted in black and white and in color. A CD-ROM comes with the book to allow the reader to graph equations. The software, written in Java, automatically starts when loaded onto a PC and allows one to select equations from a library and vary a number of parameters. The image is drawn in a separate window. The book contains an appendix with direction for using the software. Although all the images in this book are generated from mathematical equations, some are practical equations describing a physical process whereas others just describe a mathematical equation with no physical representation. The author gives details of each equation and the plot parameters,

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but it can be difficult to understand what is being plotted. The text is somewhat difficult to read. One must take extra time to carefully read this book to gain an appreciation for the material. Many people may just simply want to play with the software to randomly generate computer art. So, if you enjoy computer-generated art and mathematics then this would be an interesting book.

Speak to Win B. Tracy AMACOM 1601 Broadway New York, NY 10019 Phone (800) 714-6395 http://www.amacombooks.org ISBN 978-0-8144-0157-0 207 p. - $19.95 (Hardcover), 2008 Speak to win is a book on how to improve your speaking skills in a variety of situations, such as a work meeting, small group presentations, or large audiences. The author, a sought-after speaker and successful businessman, has condensed what he has learned from many years of speaking into this book. He gives advice on the art of speaking. Covering the common problems people generally encounter when giving speeches or talks, the author tackles the fear of public speaking and building self-confidence. No matter what the topic, he gives excellent suggestions for planning your speech, delivering strong openings, mastering vocal variety, convincing other to agree with you, and accomplishing what you intended your speech to achieve. No matter whether the presentation is a formal speech or an impromptu meeting with your boss or coworker, one can become a more effective communicator and get achieve communication goals by using the techniques detailed in this book. Much of this book helps readers to ask themselves the right questions to insure that their speech or conversation achieves the intended goal. However, the main theme is that careful planning, research, and practice are essential elements in all great speeches or presentations. It takes a lot of hard work and preparation to make a great speech. And, as with most things, practice makes perfect. In a small work

meeting, with maybe six or so people attending for example, the person who speaks effectively, clearly, and helps achieve the meeting leader’s goal will be looked upon by management as a valuable person in that company. This effective communication may eventually pay off through greater responsibility and career advancement. It can pay to be an effective communicator, especially for those less than comfortable speaking in meetings or giving speeches. However, to be knowledgeable and knowing what to talk about requires careful planning and research on the topic at hand. Here the author points these facts out, but it is up to the person speaking to do this work and gather their thoughts. Much of the book does have techniques and suggestions for further enhancing the effectiveness of a well-prepared speaker. Some of these areas are where to sit in a meeting room, key people to address, lighting, sound system, meeting people ahead of time, and understanding any recent news that may affect the audience. This is really a great, quick-read, selfhelp book aimed at anyone who wants to become better at speaking. Well worth your time and money to read a copy.

Sensors and Actuators in Mechatronics A.M. Pawlak Taylor & Francis CRC Press 6000 Broken Sound Parkway, NW Suite 300 Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742 Phone: (800) 272-7737 Fax: (800) 374-3401 http://www.taylorandfrancisgroup. com ISBN 978-0-8493-9013-5 p. 388 - $125.96 (Hardcover) 2007 Electro-mechanical actuators are used in many industrial and consumer applications, such as circuit breakers, automobiles, digital cameras, and even biomedical applications. Electro-mechanical actuators have evolved from simple wire-wound electromagnets to very compact solenoids with rare-earth magnets that can be quickly released with a small pulse of current. This book focuses on the design aspects of electro-mechanical actuators. Although

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there are countless books available on electromagnetics and mechanical design, there are very few that come to mind that are based on the combination of mechanisms and electromagnetics and sensors. The range of devices described includes magnetic sensors, linear and latching solenoids, stepper motors, rotary actuators, and magnetic materials. The author presents the pertinent theory necessary to understand the concept for each type of actuator or sensing technology. Most of these types of devices are used to perform some mechanical action when triggered by an electrical signal. As such, these devices are generally operated in a transient state; however, some of the rotary devices do operate in steady state. There are design equations and illustrations used to convey each concept so that an engineer could design these devices, and there are many cases used to illustrate the transient conditions. These include design tool aides such as transient flux line plots that show the magnetic field paths in the magnetic cores in a time progression as well as plots of transient displacement, force, flux, current, and voltage. Many of these types of devices are used in automobiles, and, thus, there are mostly automobile applications used throughout the book. However, many of these types of actuators are used in other applications in which mechanical action of some sort needs to be controlled electrically. Mechanical and electrical engineers that design, use, or specify these types of actuators would greatly appreciate this book. The author does a really nice job of clearly describing the working fundamentals of these devices along with design equations and analysis of the operation to give the reader a good understanding to design their own innovative actuators and to optimize existing ones. This is a much-needed book in this area of engineering.

Handbook of Nanoscience, Engineering, and Technology, 2nd edition W.A. Goddard III, D.W. Brenner, S.E. Lyshevski, and G.J. Iafrate, Editors Taylor & Francis CRC Press

July/August 2008 — Vol. 24, No.4

6000 Broken Sound Parkway, NW Suite 300 Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742 Phone: (800) 272-7737 Fax: (800) 374-3401 http://www.taylorandfrancisgroup. com ISBN 978-0-8493-7563-7 $134.96 (Hardcover) 2007 Fueled by government funding and unprecedented support at many universities, the field of nanotechnology continues to grow at a blistering pace. This phenomenal growth and variety of nanotechnology applications makes it difficult to cover all the topics and areas in one book. Thus, this book surveys what the editors consider the most important and most promising areas. The handbook covers fundamental theory of molecular and nanoelectronics, advanced fabrication techniques, modeling and simulation, and novel molecular and nanoelectronic devices. There are five sections with the first consisting of an overview chapter that includes the past, present, and future state of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) that provides government funding to universities and labs conducting research in nanotechnology. It is good to know about the predicted future of this initiative if you work in this field and get support from this initiative. The second section describes molecular and nanoelectronics. A sampling of these includes circuit architectures, computing and processing, spin field effect transistors, and molecular machines. The third section details modeling of electronics at the nanoscale. It has an interesting section on the theory of calculating the electrical resistance of a molecule. Sections four and five describe manipulation, assembly, and functional structures. These include manipulation by electrostatic forces, selfassembly, nanomanufacturing, carbon nanotubes, and nanostructures. The various applications described throughout the book are predominantly in the electronics and materials areas with some in biotechnology. There is quite a wide array of topics in this handbook, and it can certainly be interesting and useful to read about what others are doing in nanotechnology to get

your own new ideas. This book gives the reader access to a huge wealth of ideas that may spur new ideas in the area of nanotechnology they are working in. This handbook would be most interesting to our readers who work in the field of nanotechnology or who want to learn about the latest developments and directions of nanotechnology.

Stratagem—Deception and Surprise in War B. Whaley Artech House 685 Canton Street Norwood, MA 02062 Phone (800) 225-9977 Fax: (781) 769-6334 http://www.artechhouse.com ISBN 978-1-59693-198-5 587p. - $99.00 (Hardcover), 2007 Originally published in 1969, this reprint of a classic book is highly sought after by those interested in a historical analysis of deception and surprise tactics used in warfare. This is quite a different subject matter for the usual type of books reviewed in this column, but this one does seem to have a very interesting historical accounting that some of our readers may find interesting. The book contains the original book published in 1969 plus 100 case history studies, as well as a model or template of how to study deception in war, and an extensive bibliography. The original publication basically deals with the fundamental strategy of secrecy and deception. The topics include deception in military doctrine for nine major countries, guerrilla warfare, and causes of surprises, land, sea and air surprise attacks, and the general theory behind deception. These topics are followed by a case history of 100 battles between 1914 and 1968. Each case study reveals a different aspect of surprise and deception actually used in battles. There also is an extensive bibliography for further in-depth research. Readers interested in the history of wars and learning warfare strategy will find this book to be a fascinating book that provides a unique insight not only how battles were won rather how to win battles.

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Handbook of Plastics Processes Charles A. Harper, Editor John Wiley & Sons 111 River St. Hoboken, NJN. 07030 Phone: (877) 762-2974 FAX: (800) 597-3299 http://www.wiley.com ISBN 0-471-66255-0 743p. - $159.50 (Hardcover), 2006 This comprehensive reference covers a wide variety of processes used in the production of plastic components. It covers the basics of most of the major plastic molding processes as well as information on more specialized finishing processes. A variety of numerous editing errors aside, the book proves to be a useful text for the novice and the experienced plastic processor alike. The handbook comprises twelve chapters, each devoted to a different process and written by an individual or group presumed to be expert(s) in that particular process. The first six chapters are devoted to the variety of thermoplastic production processes. The chapter on injection molding is particularly comprehensive in that it includes information on a variety of the components of the injection molding process itself, differences between the types of equipment available, mold design, part design, and trouble-shooting guides for some of the more commonly used materials. The second chapter is devoted to a specific version of the injection molding process known as assisted injection molding. It touches on the variety of agents used to assist in the injection of the plastic material and the advantages of each. The chapter includes information on part and mold design as well. The third chapter addresses the sheet extrusion process quite well. It covers the critical aspects of this

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process including equipment design and selection, die design, process control, as well as some economic considerations the reader may find useful. The fourth chapter is a basic description of thermoforming. It includes a material selection guide for both packaging and products produced via this process. The topic of the fifth chapter is blow molding. The author does a good job of including a brief description of the many aspects of this process but does not address them in much depth. Much of the important detail of this process is not to be found here. Chapter six is a thorough investigation of the process known as rotational molding. The author covers the process completely beginning with material descriptions and selection advice. Mold design basics and equipment descriptions are included. The author covers a number of part design considerations as well. The seventh chapter is the first of a section devoted to the thermoset molding processes. It covers all three of the most common thermoset processes: compression, transfer, and injection. The coverage given to thermoset molding is very basic. Conspicuously absent is any mention of mold design, material descriptions, equipment variations available, part design considerations, or trouble-shooting guides that are specific to thermosets. The eighth chapter is entitled Composite Processes. It deals with thermoset and thermoplastic composites. The author discusses materials in a comprehensive manner including different types of fillers and material forms specific to his topic, as well as providing basic descriptions of the different processes used in molding composite materials and formulation of the materials themselves. Chapter nine addresses a group of processes specific to liquid resin materials including casting, potting, and impregnation as well as encapsulation. There is discussion of adhesives, gasketing, and soldering tech-

niques. The chapter gives a comprehensive coverage of these techniques and the materials used. Chapters ten and eleven deal with a variety of assembly and finishing techniques. The tenth chapter is very thorough in its discussion of methods of assembly used with plastic parts. The author covers the differences between a number of thermoset and thermoplastic materials with respect to his topic. Quite a number of adhesive types, welding methods, mechanical fasteners, inserts that can be molded into the parts or installed post molding, and self-assembly techniques are described in detail. Chapter eleven addresses the processes that occur last in the production of plastic parts, finishing and decorating. The chapter provides a comprehensive discussion of a variety of processes including a number of surface preparation techniques, coating of molded parts, in-mold decorating, printing, plating, and several heat transfer techniques. Also included here is a brief discussion of a variety of deflashing techniques for thermoset and thermoplastic parts. The final chapter is devoted to nanocomposites. Although it is a more difficult read and assumes knowledge of chemistry, this chapter is a comprehensive look at the topic. It includes discussions on thermoset and thermoplastic nanocomposites in general and several specific resins as well. All in all, The Handbook of Plastics Processes should prove to be very useful for those in the plastics industry. Some chapters, of course, will be more useful than others. The one relatively common process that is not addressed in this book is profile extrusion. If the reader can overlook the editing errors and the perception that some of the chapters read a great deal like sales pitches for the author’s employer, there is an abundance of information on a wide variety of topics within this volume.

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