3D printers and Science

One fine day, a friend, Jon, came up to me with a 3D print request. He wanted to print out parts to help in some of his experiments. I asked him to explain and here are his plans for with the printed parts.

A thin film is typically a very thin layer of advanced materials which is generally found in household electronics, batteries and other everyday use items like mirror having a silvered coat on the back, reflection coats on window panes, compact or digital versatile discs, tapes, touch phone screens etc.

Jon was trying to perform tests on a new structure, for which the testing machines in the lab were not suitable. So, he wanted to create a customized interface between the the testing machines to and the new material. That is where the 3D printers came in. He printed out a few parts and tried this out.


Sounds exciting. I hope it works!

Interview with Audrey Harnagel

 smile-1Audrey Harnagel, rising Penn senior, recently completed the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program.
As we enter summer, we would like to acknowledge some of the incredible collaborations we’ve had with students this year. Today we’re delving into the work of Audrey Harnegel, a rising senior at Penn, who works in multiple disciplines and was a fellow in this year’s Hoesley Digital Literacy program. This program is designed for students who may not be familiar with technology topics such as Graphic Design and Visual Literacy, Web Design, Spreadsheets and Excel. The library staff who collaborate with students in this program focus on building confidence, providing learning strategies, and encouraging creative exploration of software and technologies commonly used in the workplace. Comfort and confidence with, and a strong foundation in technology skills can provide a valuable edge in many job and internship searches. Audrey was kind enough to answer a few questions about her experiences with Hoesley program activities below:

2015 Video Contest Winners!

We congratulate the winners of the 2015 Video Contest: What Does Healthy Look Like?

  • First prize: Will Always Be Loved by Courtney Dabney
  • Second Prize:  Making Sense of Happiness by Meredith Stern
  • Third Prize: 8-Bit Distracted by Ivan Moutinho
  • Popular Choice Award: Outbreaks in Film by Lauren Drinkard

View the winners online.

We thank our judging panel of faculty, staff, students and alumni, and the many faculty who encouraged their students to participate in our annual contest!

Controlling Scholarship: Using Copyright More Effectively

Friday, June 19, 12:00 – 1:00
Meyerson Conference Room – Room 223 – VanPelt Library

Copyright can often be used as a method to “control” academic work. This brown-bag discussion will address how librarians and authors can use copyright as a tool to distribute scholarship more effectively through channels like Hathi-Trust, ScholarlyCommons, and sites like Academia.edu. Join us for a session that will increase your existing copyright knowledge and address copyright issues that affect both librarians and the communities we serve.

Please feel free to send in advance questions or scenarios you’d like to see discussed. The workshop is open to all professional and support staff in the library, with the usual provision that operational requirements of all units must be met and supervisory approval obtained in advance, as well as others from the Penn Community. So feel free to pass this on to whomever you think may be interested.

Upcoming Mapping Tools WICshop

Want to look at how city demographics have changed over decades? Interested in putting data about health, housing, or quality of life indicators on a map? Want to make a neighborhood or regional policy or marketing proposal based on conditions or needs? The Penn Libraries subscribes to Social Explorer, PolicyMap, and SimplyMap, online mapping tools that allow you to easily find and map Census, policy, and business data for the United States. Come to the Simple Mapping Tools WICshop on June 2nd in the Collaborative Classroom to get a hands-on introduction to all three tools and see how they can support your research. You can find more information about the years and topics included, data export formats available, and more at the Online Mapping Tools guide, and register for the WICshop here. 

Philadelphia Housing Units:  Percent Owner-Occupied, 2010.
Philadelphia Housing Units: Percent Owner-Occupied, 2010. Social Explorer.
Philadelphia Housing Units: Owner-Occupied, 1970
Philadelphia Housing Units: Percent Owner-Occupied, 1970. Social Explorer.


Fear and Safety at Penn: A Collaborative Student Research Exhibit

Dr. Rosemary Frasso, Allison Golinkoff (TA) and graduate student research team – Qualitative Research Methods for Social Work (SW 781)

Research seldom happens in silos.  Be it through the literature review, data collection, or publication, group collaboration is the ingredient that brings new ideas and perspectives to the research process.  It is with this spirit that Dr. Rosemary Frasso (Rosie), Allison Golinkoff (TA), and the student researchers of the Qualitative Methods graduate course for Social Work and Public Health students took teamwork to new heights this spring in the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom.

From the start, the student researchers employed qualitative methods (Nominal Group Technique) to collectively determine the research topic of “fear and safety” at Penn. Next, each individual student-researcher conducted 5 intercept Freelisting interviews across campus to explore the topic. Using the full 360 degrees of writable whiteboard surfaces in the Collaborative Classroom, students began the process of analyzing Freelisting data to identify salient themes.

Student researchers begin organizing Freelisting data in the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom

Inspired by the work of Drs. Carolyn Cannuscio, Mariana Chilton, and Gala True, Rosie designed this class project employing Photo Elicitation interviewing.  Students later made use of this same technique to further explore the meaning of fear and safety across the Penn community.  As a team, the class selected a sampling strategy and each student-researcher was tasked with recruiting a participant from within the Penn community to explore how she/he perceives fear and safety.  Over the course of one week, research participants used their smartphones or cameras to take photographs of any aspects of their daily lives that made them think of fear or safety.  The photos were then used to guide an interview between the researcher and the participant about those topics.

Dr. Frasso turned to group collaboration in the Collaborative Classroom as a strategy to help the student researchers make sense of the sizable amount of data they all collected.    Through collaborative analysis, student researchers found that their participants’ views on fear and safety revolved around eight thematic categories: vulnerability; sense of belonging; fear of failure; surveillance; physical and mental health; fear of the unknown; sources of comfort; and spaces and places.

The student researchers of Dr. Frasso’s class see their research findings as a potential catalyst for change at Penn.  To this end, they have made their work visible in many ways.  You can view their research exhibit, complete with photos and participant quotes, just outside the Van Pelt Collaborative Classroom (right before the WIC entrance, to the right).  Students also plan to share their findings with key members of the Penn community such as President Amy Gutmann, CAPS, and GAPSA.

For more information on displaying your students’ work or using Van Pelt’s Collaborative Classroom for enhanced teamwork and engagement, visit: http://www.library.upenn.edu/facilities/collab.html.


SketchUp in Theatre Design

This semester, I’ve had a chance to work more closely with 3D partSet designed in "Introduction to Theatre Design" modeling tools, as I’ve been assisting Eric Barratta’s Introduction to Theater Design class. Although I am well-versed with tools such as SolidWorks and PTC Creo, which allow you to control fine    details in manufacturing drawings, I find that building larger systems often present limitations and make evident the various complexities of part-modeling software and above all are way too time consuming.

As I wrote about last semester, we’ve had much demand for trainings on SketchUp as 3D modeling becomes more popular in various disciplines. 3D printing facilities around the campus added further fascination to learn 3D modeling software among patrons; being relatively easy to learn and free, SketchUp comes in really handy. Continue reading SketchUp in Theatre Design