October 5, 2023
Our “Ask the Expert Live” presentations at 2015 Gear Expo were a big success. Good crowds gathered at the booth to hear our volunteer experts answer questions from the audience and readers on a wide range of gear topics. The hour I sat in the “hot seat” passed in an instant — or so it seemed. I was honored to be a “generalist” on a panel of doctorate-level European engineers. Despite the different natures of our training, there was excellent convergence on the answers we gave, a sure sign that the international exchange of gear knowledge works better than ever before. It struck me during the excellent dinner hosted by our fearless leader, Michael Goldstein, on Tuesday evening that Gear Technology magazine serves as an ongoing graduate seminar for gear engineers around the world. In the USA we have very few university programs that offer intense training in gears at the graduate level. The syllabus for mechanical engineering undergrads only allows for a short introductory lesson on gears and few openings are available at the Ohio State and Penn State graduate programs. While the magazine cannot give credit hours for reading the papers we share every month, you, the reader, derive the true value in increased knowledge. As several of our expert panelists commented, even after many years in this trade there is still so much to learn. We recognize that for many readers the papers chosen are at a level of difficulty that can exceed your current needs. That is why every paper ever published is available for free on the website in a fully searchable key word data base. The publisher personally oversaw the initial scanning and is looking for ways to expand the archives to include papers that predate the start of the magazine. If you can’t find the information you need in our database, we welcome inquiries to the “Ask the Expert” column. I also answer lots of e-mails directly, although I should caution students that my answer is frequently a suggested reading list. Which brings me to a question for our engineering students: How can we best help you learn what you need to know about gears? Keep in mind that the approved syllabus is very much carved in stone. Amongst the ideas floating around are “Ask Me Anything” webinars, a traveling experts road show, and a monthly page devoted to fundamentals. Please give us your opinion via comments to this blog or e-mails to the magazine.