Introduction

Now that you have arrived to this blog, and considering that you have done it by searching some technical words or concepts, I would like to explain to you the motivations that have impelled me to write it. There are hundreds of pages which explain engineering concepts. So, it is necessary one more?

First of all, I have to admit that I like the field of learning resources on the web. In my opinion we are very fortunate now of being able to find videos, theory contents or even complete courses of about any subject one can imagine, simply with some button clicks. Some of these resources are very high quality products from the most important universities in the world, while others, like the wikipedia, are continuously being done by the collaborative work of thousands of people, which makes them very complete and for many of us the first source of information over the web.

Nonetheless, and depending on what everyone of us expects when consulting these resources, it can also be noted that there are pros and cons on each of these points of view. On one hand, full web courses might be much more than you may want to have when asking for some information on a certain topic. They are clearly targeted to people willing to know a complete field of knowledge, not for those searching just a point or two. On the other hand, web collaborative contents can address to those needs, but they may lack the structure to make one understand how a topic is related to another.

With this thoughts in mind I once remembered my college years and began thinking about the way how I acquired the necessary knowledge on the subjects I took. One could buy recommended books which contained detailed explanations on the theory and problems that we had worked in class. There was also the possibility of asking the teachers or other students, when something turned out not to be clear after class time. But, what gave you the extra point needed to succeed was to have good class notes. It is not really strange, since to have good own notes meant that you had understood what had been taught to you, and this fact made your notes the basic tool of learning because they were concise and structured, since teachers tend to go to the point in lectures. It must be noted though, that this idea does not mean that one has to forget that the complete knowledge reside in books, or at least in the best among them.

With Notes on Engineering I would like to take partially my own classroom notes to the web. I say partially because I do not want to make a direct transcript of them, but rather rework them to gain an structure which can help the understanding of every concept. The structure I have chosen is that every chapter must contain only one main concept with a brief explanation on how it is derived from other previously presented concepts. Of course, it will not be possible to have an explanation on everything, and the reader will have to have some background knowledge; mathematics and physics of undergraduate courses should be enough.

But, why doing this? As I have mentioned before, I like the field of learning resources on the web. I think I have looked through all of them and have found useful informations on almost everything I searched. By doing this project with the explained approach, I hope I can also help others. And it would be also interesting for me to exchange experiencies and resources with other people making similar web pages or blogs.

Now a few words about how this blog is being made. The main text and formulae are produced in LaTeX with the ProTeXt distribution and the help of TeXnicCenter processor (http://www.tug.org/protext/). After each chapter is completed, then I have used Latx2wp (LaTeX to WordPress) python based program from Luca Trevisan (http://lucatrevisan.wordpress.com/latex-to-wordpress/) to convert it to a format that WordPress can correctly visualize. Figures were made in Libreoffice (http://www.libreoffice.org/), saved in png format and introduced directly in each blog entry with the WordPress editor.

At this point you may have realized that english is not my mother language. My aim with this work is trying to arrive to the greatest possible number of people, so I have chosen what I consider is the language that most deserves the consideration of a worldwide language, even if in doing it I will be sometimes writing not as correctly as I would like to. I beg your pardon in advance and also ask you to tell me if you find any errors in what I have written, being it in the language or in the content. If you prefer you may also contact me in spanish, german or catalan.

So I hope you enjoy this blog. As I have already said, it is not really a normal blog, for its structure is more book like. I will try to put more subjects in the future, but I cannot say when. Until then I hope you enjoy the reading of Notes on Engineering.

J. Roman Marin

Barcelona, Spain

April, 20th 2013

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