Cool Stuff

Here are some interesting articles, books, and other things to read pertaining to electrical engineering, physics, science in general, and the subjects I teach at COD. Please feel free to recommend things to me as well!

News Articles


Most of these books are available for loan at the COD Library. If not, ask a librarian to help you order the book through I-Share or Inter-Library Loan.

  • I highly recommend reading anything and everything by author Jim Ottaviani, who writes science-related graphic novels.
  • Along the same light, Randall Munroe‘s books and comics (xkcd and what if?) come highly recommended. If you have the opportunity to see him talk, make sure you do.
  • The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean – a fascinating look at the periodic table of the elements, recommended even if you don’t like chemistry.
  • Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern, David Grinspoon – if you’re into outer space, Pluto, or what it takes to fund and carry out a NASA project, this is the book for you.
  • Digital Apollo by David A. Mindell – I won’t lie, this book is not a quick or easy read. But it is a fascinating look at the first large-scale integrated circuit digital computer that was used to keep human beings alive for over a week, bring them to the moon, land them there, and successfully bring them back to Earth.
  • If I Only Changed the Software, Why Is the Phone on Fire? by Lisa Simone – (no, this book is not about the Galaxy Note 7), this book is a non-fiction book written as a story about software engineers working together to troubleshoot and debug embedded systems. I never thought I would say this about a technical non-fiction book: it was hard to put down! I recommend you work through the examples and create flowcharts, write in the book (if you own it), etc. One of the book examples was adapted from an online article on Several of these examples are issues that I see every semester that I teach microcontrollers!
  • You Look Like a Thing and I Love You by Janelle Shane – this is a hilarious book that presents the current abilities and many limitations of modern artificial intelligence. The author has a blog called AI Weirdness, and it’s also really funny and informative.
  • The Art and Science of Analog Circuit Design by Jim Williams – this book is 20 years old and somewhat outdated, and contains a lot of technical information, but the guts of these essays contain a lot of useful information about what it takes to be a good circuit designer. Skip over the stuff that makes your eyes blur.
  • Who Cares about Particle Physics? by Pauline Gagnon – probably the only book about particle physics that made sense to me as a person without a rigorous physics background. Pauline Gagnon is also an amazing person whom you should meet if you have the opportunity.
  • The Saturn System Through the Eyes of Cassini by NASA – this is a free e-book that is available online through NASA.
  • A PhD Is Not Enough!: A Guide to Survival in Science by Peter J. Feibelman – if you decide to “go for the gold” and get a PhD, it helps to understand what you’re getting into and what opportunities exist for you outside of academia once you’ve obtained your degree.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – this book is science-fiction, but it has a lot of cool engineering packed inside.

Women & Minorities in STEM

I believe that this requires its own section. This is clearly a subject that is very important to me, as science and technology cannot improve without a diverse pool of students, researchers, and professors. The following books and articles are among the best that I’ve read that cover this vital topic.

  • The Madame Curie Complex by Julie Des Jardins
  • Dignifying Science: Stories about Women Scientists by Jim Ottaviani (one of my favorite science authors)
  • Who’s Afraid of Marie Curie? by Linley Erin Hall
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong — and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini
  • The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight by Martha Ackmann
  • Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby
  • Rocket Girl: The Story of Mary Sherman Morgan, America’s First Female Rocket Scientist by George D. Morgan