University

  • Recently, Jim Heppelmann (President and CEO of PTC, the company I currently work for) was featured in an article in the Boston Globe talking about PTC’s exciting move to the Boston Seaport, A.K.A. The Innovation District. The article also featured the story of how Boston’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, came to PTC for a visit and spoke to the employees at one of our famous socials. He praised the company and the employees for making the move to Boston’s newest up and coming hub for business and cultural innovation! And the seaport is pretty much an amazing new innovation district at that—especially with all the incredible simultaneous construction projects going on down there. However, it might be interesting to take quick walk down memory lane to reminisce about Boston’s other innovation districts, of the past. Let’s go all the way back to Colonial times. Over by where North Street meets Moon Street is Paul Revere’s House. This historical landmark is located in Boston’s North End district, now synonymous with the Italian-American community. However, back in the late 17th Century, this area was well known for it’s silversmiths (like Paul Revere, an innovator of his time), blacksmiths, artisans, journeymen, and laborers. For a city that was founded in 1630, this part of Boston became its innovation district of that time. Fast forward through the Industrial Age which affected the entire world, Boston included, and you will see that another innovation district presented itself. This time on the Boston waterfront known as Boston Harbor—part of which is where today’s Boston Seaport Innovation District now resides. For over two hundred years, Boston Harbor, which compromises all the famous Boston wharves such as Long Wharf, Rowes Wharf, Fish Pier, Commonwealth Pier, and Union Wharf to name a few, were the gateways to shipping, railroads, international commerce, jobs, markets, construction, and of course innovation. Without the wharves of the 18th and 19th Centuries, Boston could not have grown...
  • March 8, 2020

    Sisters of Invention

    In honor of International Women’s Day 2020, this week’s Progressive Pioneers will be a quadfecta of amazing young women who are trying to change the world for the better. All too often the news is dominated by negative stories, and one would think that the world is a sad place. However, that is not the case! For optimistic, creative, inventive, and resourceful entrepreneurs Greta Thunberg, Alaina Gassler, and Anna Stork & Andrea Sreshta the world couldn’t be more full of promise and hope. Here are their stories: Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Thunberg is known for her straightforward speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. Thunberg first became known for youth activism in August 2018 when, at age 15, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying (in Swedish) “School strike for the climate”. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over 1,000,000 students each. At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat. Her sudden rise to world fame has made her a leader and a target. In May 2019, Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader” and noted that many see her as a role model. Thunberg and the school strike movement were also featured in a 30-minute Vice documentary titled Make...
  • February 17, 2020

    The “Holey” Sphere

    [From the website of Dr. Donald Simanek—see further down.] Browsing Martin Gardner’s books I stumbled on this diabolical puzzle. Gardner calls it “an incredible problem”. He traces it back too Samuel I. Jones’ Mathematical Nuts, 1932, p. 86. It is seen on the web in various forms, often ambiguous in wording, along with endless discussions often leading nowhere. I have tried to restate it to remove ambiguity (which isn’t easy). A hole is drilled completely through a sphere, directly through, and centered on, the sphere’s center. The hole in the sphere is a cylinder of length 6 inches. What is the volume of the remainder of the sphere (not including the material drilled out). You’d think there’s not enough information given. But there is. The solution does not require calculus. Gardner gives an insightful solution that requires only two sentences, including just one equation. Visit From mathworld.wolfram.com for more info. The answer is provided by Doctor Donald Simanek, Professor of Physics Emeritus at Lockhaven University. Visit Donald Simanek’s page at Lockhaven.edu for more brain-bending physics puzzles! Now that’s an interesting answer! Keep scrolling down… Wanna see a video answer to the brainteaser? This video was created by Tom McNaney Jr., Generalist Applications Engineer, Fellow at PTC (the company that I currently work for). Here is his detailed approach to the brainteaser using PTC’s flagship CAD program Creo Parametric! For the Holey Sphere challenge, Creo Parametric says the volume is 113.097 in^3. Interestingly, the volume remains constant regardless of the sphere Radius. Cool. I have no idea what the mathematical formula is, but probably 4/3*Pi*(something)^3. Who needs advanced math when they have Creo or Mathcad?
  • January 1, 2020

    Ad Astra Per Feminae

    With the 34th anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster this past Tuesday, I thought it would be fitting to pay tribute to Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher in space who perished on that fateful day back in 1986. And, I thought it would also be fitting to include Sally Ride, America’s first woman astronaut. Both are Progressive Pioneers who advanced space exploration for generations of future American female astronauts, young women everywhere. Here are their stories: Sharon Christa McAuliffe (A.K.A. Christa) is famously known for being chosen as America’s first teacher in space. Though, she never made it into space due to a tragic accident involving the Space Shuttle Challenger 73 seconds into liftoff on January 28, 1986. Despite the loss of McAuliffe and the other six crewmembers aboard the space craft, which is regarded as a national tragedy, McAuliffe’s life is celebrated and honored all across the country. Schools, scholarships, documentaries, and more have all been named in her honor. She has inspired whole generations of kids since that fateful day to reach for the stars and to achieve their dreams. McAuliffe was born in Boston on September 2, 1948. Her father, Edward Christopher Corrigan was an accountant of Irish descent, and her mother, Grace Mary Corrigan, was a teacher of Lebanese Maronite descent. McAuliffe received a bachelor’s degree in Education from Framingham State College and a master’s degree in Education (supervision & administration) from Bowie State University. She married Stephen J. McAuliffe in 1970, with whom she had two children, Scott and Caroline. She eventually took a teaching job Concord High School (Concord, NH), where she would eventually apply for President Ronald Reagan’s Teacher in Space Project for NASA. Out of 11,000+ applicants, she and teacher Barbara Morgan were the final two chosen in 1985, with McAuliffe earning the top spot. Both McAuliffe and Morgan took a year’s leave of absence to train for the space shuttle mission...
  • Not too long ago I entered into a very special writing contest: 2016 Climate Fiction Short Story Contest hosted by Arizona State University. Not only was it a good way to jump start my writing that had been a little stale lately but also it was an opportunity to have my work read by one of my favorite Science Fiction authors: Kim Stanley Robinson! As from the Wikipedia link above details, Robinson is one of the greatest modern sci-fi authors and overall fiction authors of the 21st century. His books are both captivating and epic in scale. He covers every aspect of a topic with the utmost dedication. For example, his pan-Antarctic adventure, ANTARCTICA, was so incredibly precise due to the fact that he actually spent 6 months down there and almost lost his hand due to frostbite while writing this amazing book. His Mars Trilogy (RED MARS, GREEN MARS, and BLUE MARS) are Hugo award-winning seminal works that are considered the most accurate fictional account, scientifically speaking, of what it would truly be like to explore and terraform the planet Mars. His take of ecological science that pervades all of his books are the final word in how to write about climate change. But Robinson never lets the science, politics, or plot get in the way of writing about some of the most amazing characters in the genre. So when I found out that HE was judging the contest, I had to…had too…submit a story! So I wrote one called: THE NITRITE PARADOX. In a future Earth where humanity is all but extinct. Those scant few that remain, live on a mostly lifeless world that seems destined for sterilization. This is the lonely story of Millie Li. An aging Asian-American woman who struggles to plant her garden in the...