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Interview: Ask Forrest Mims About Rockets, Electronics, and Engineering 120

With his popular Getting Started in Electronics, and Engineer's Mini-Notebook series and a number of different electronics kits sold at Radio Shack, Forrest Mims inspired countless scientists and engineers. Even though he received no formal academic training in science, Forrest has appeared in 70 magazines and scientific journals. He has worked as a consultant for the National Geographic Society, the National Science Teachers Association, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Today, Mims works on many scientific projects including climate change research. He's agreed to answer all your questions about science and engineering. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
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Interview: Ask Forrest Mims About Rockets, Electronics, and Engineering

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:25PM (#45715949)

    Mims is well known as a creationist. Ask him why he trusts science when it comes to electronics, but not when it comes to biology.

  • Re:No Question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lord_mike ( 567148 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:59PM (#45716377)

    Second that. I was introduced to Forrest's work back in the TRS-80 days, but his quintessential work for me was the Radio Shack publication, "Getting Started in Electronics." Handwritten on graph paper and printed on 8.5" by 11" newsprint with a soft cover, this was the ultimate intro guide for anyone who had any interest in electronics. Many years ago, I worked at Radio Shack as a summer and holiday job, and every time my manager was away, I'd sneak away the a copy and read it (along with some ham radio books as well). One time a customer came in asking about a fake car alarm box, and I grabbed out the book and we used that to build one. He bought dozens of parts that day (oddly enough, I got in trouble with my manager for that, despite really cleaning house). An original copy of that book still sits prominently on my shelf--one of the biggest influences in my life. So, yes, thank you very much Mr. Mims!

  • Re:Past vs present (Score:5, Insightful)

    by femtobyte ( 710429 ) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @03:25PM (#45717487)

    Having a local real electronics store available is nice even when bulk parts are cheaper online. There's always that one random thingamajig that you left off the bulk purchase, that you discover on the evening you're soldering everything together; and you don't want to pay $5 shipping for a 10 cent part and wait a week to finish the project. Being able to pick up a 10 cent part for $1 at a local store is really handy. Unfortunately, RadioShack hasn't been that store for a couple decades.

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.