| For the last 36 years, PROSE awards have been given annually for published works in academic fields spanning the sciences, engineering, and the humanities. Individual awards are chosen for every academic discipline, and one book is chosen as the overall winner with the bestowal of the prestigious R.R. Hawkins Award. Authors and publishers value PROSE awards because they help promote wider readership.
In 2011, over 500 works were submitted from more than 60 scholarly publishers. McGraw-Hill Professional snagged top honors for The Diffusion Handbook: Applied Solutions for Engineers, written by a remarkable gentleman who dedicated his entire career to develop a comprehensive reference for technical endeavors based on the diffusion equation. Michael Thambynayagam's work is extraordinary, despite the fact that few scholars would probably ever buy the book, and it would be highly unlikely that such a book would ever be written or published again. For a modest $199, anyone can purchase a copy of this 2048-page tome. Though not for your home library, the book will become an invaluable component of every institutional and research center library.
When the title of this book was announced during the 2011 PROSE awards ceremony, the initial reaction was to wonder how such an esoteric sounding book could win a major award. After McGraw Hill's Senior Editor Michael Penn described the story of how this book came to be, and after the audience had the privilege of hearing from the author, it was obvious to all present that we were once-in-a-lifetime witnesses to such a crowning achievement.
Thambynayagam spent his entire professional career as an engineer working for Schlumberger, a company that provides specialized equipment and services to the oil and gas industry. With permission from his employer, Thambynayagam began research and the writing of a comprehensive reference book on the applications of a very important equation for science and engineering—the diffusion equation. For example, this relatively simple equation can be applied to the motion of atoms and molecules across a boundary or to heat flow through a material. Applications extend to almost every technical endeavor from the practical to the purely academic—from the extraction of oil from rock strata, to the safe design of a large structure such a suspension bridge, to how long it takes to notice that someone has opened a jar of fresh peanut butter at the other side of a room.
Thambynayagam's book contains solutions to the diffusion equation for more than 1,000 separate applications. He had the perseverance to work through every single problem and develop a methodology to describe and display the setup and solution for each case, while exhibiting the personal fortitude to stick with this laborious task for essentially his entire working career. It is also remarkable that both his employer and his publisher fully sanctioned, supported, and maintained their support for Thambynayagam's book throughout its decade-long gestation period. Such dedication to an academic project is unique in the context of our web-based world of communications where our psyches are constantly inundated with increasingly more information, leaving less time for concentration on any one topic.
I thank the Association of American Publishers for recognizing an exceptional engineer for his invaluable contributions to science and technology.
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The purpose of the study is to compare how policies affect women's participation in innovation, science, and technology globally. WIGSAT contacted the SRC because of Dr. Rachel Ivie's expertise on topics concerning women in science. Ivie worked with SRC staff member Arnell Ephraim, who has a master's degree in public policy analysis, to collect the data and write the report for this project. Once data are received from all participating countries, analysis may reveal the most effective strategies for increasing the number of women in S&T fields. We hope to share findings from the study with the physics community once the results are available. Inside Science News Service (ISNS) last Thursday featured research from the AIP journal Chaos. "To Stop Epidemics, Acting Locally More Important than Globally" explained how a team of Australian and Chinese researchers used the mathematics of modeling networks to study the spread of disease. The researchers found steps taken in response to local knowledge of a disease, such as avoiding specific places or people, are more effective at halting the spread of epidemics than general steps taken in response to global information learned, for example, by listening to mass media. The ISNS story was written by Pulitzer Prize–winning freelance contributor Joel Shurkin and was picked up by a number of outside news outlets, including MedicalXpress and PhysicsCentral. The ISNS news editors got the story idea from the "Interesting Papers" service provided by the AIP Journal Publishing office.
February 27 – March 2