Author of the Month: December 2013Published: December 18, 2013
Numerical Methods for Engineers and Scientists Using MATLAB
Ramin Esfandiari, professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Published in June by CRC Press, Numerical Methods for Engineers and Scientists Using MATLAB represents Esfandiari’s 13th title since Dynamic Systems: Modeling and Analysis with Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering’s Hung Vu was published by McGraw-Hill in 1997. Designed to benefit scientific and engineering applications, Numerical Methods focuses on the fundamentals while making use of MATLAB software. The text covers a variety of methods from curve fitting to the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations. It provides fully worked-out examples showing all details, confirms results through the execution of the user-defined function(s), executes built-in functions for re-confirmation and generates plots regularly to shed light on the soundness and significance of the numerical results. Created to be user-friendly and easily understandable, Numerical Methods provides background material and a broad introduction to the essentials of MATLAB, a powerful numerical computing environment and fourth-generation programming language. “There are special challenges to writing a textbook,” explained Esfandiari, a member of the university since 1989. “Things become a little more natural though after so many years of writing, so I don’t fret as much as I used to. My biggest challenge is my own perfectionism. I obsess over things that many others may not. I read my own work 100 times. I want to make sure the flow of language makes my story easier to tell.” When Esfandiari pictures his readership, he sees a 20-year-old unfamiliar with the topics sitting down with the text for the first time. “When they start reading a section of the book, I don’t want them to put it down before they have reached the end of that section,” he said. “That’s the biggest challenge for me. I want to make sure the text talks to the readers, not at them. Recognizing that some of the readers are students who may not necessarily be taking the course out of personal interest, I make it my mission to make them interested in the subject by the time they finish the book.” His next book Modeling and Analysis of Dynamic Systems (with Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering’s Bei Lu) comes out in a second edition from CRC press in March. Esfandiari is the
recipient of several teaching and research awards including two Meritorious Performance and Professional Promise Awards, the TRW Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship Award, the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award and various scholarly and creative activities awards. He earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering, his M.A. in applied mathematics and in 1986 his Ph.D. in applied mathematics on the engineering track specializing in optimal control, all from UC Santa Barbara.