Professor Carl Yaws of Lamar University has been a contributor to Knovel since 2000 when his Chemical Properties handbook was one of the first titles added to Knovel. 10 years and several Handbooks later, Dr. Yaws’ books are among the most popular titles on Knovel, including his two most recent titles published this year, Yaws’ Transport Properties of Chemicals and Hydrocarbons and Yaws’ Thermophysical Properties of Chemicals and Hydrocarbons.
I recently spoke with Dr. Yaws about his work, and his relationship with Knovel.
K Exchange: Your Chemical Properties Handbook was one of the first titles loaded onto Knovel in 2000. How did you get started working with Knovel?
Dr. Yaws: Bob Esposito was my contact at McGraw-Hill, when they did the book. Over the years I had tried to convince him that there was a market for putting the data on the web, and I especially thought that there was a niche where the practicing engineer could interact with the computer to get the numbers that he wanted. Eventually I talked Bob into that, and McGraw-Hill went to Knovel, which was in its infancy at the time.
When it was first loaded, it did not have the complete features. We were both concerned about that. Eventually when Knovel achieved their vision and got the features working though, we were both thrilled with the results.
KX: What made you decide to later license the digital rights to your works separately from the print rights?
Yaws: That actually came from Knovel. They were losing content from one of their bigger publishers about this time, and the product that I had, the properties I cover, were able to replace the some of the content (property data) that they were losing. I actually covered more properties. Since he knew me from when I had been working with them through McGraw-Hill, Sasha (Knovel Sr. Vice President and Co-Founder Sasha Gurke) and I were talking every few days and discussing content. Sasha understood the value of property data in the books. I am very appreciative for that understanding. That’s the reason I was very glad to go with Knovel.
KX: One of the features that Knovel is most proud of is our interactivity, what do you feel that this interactivity adds to your titles? How do you see that affecting the value of your work?
Yaws: The biggest benefit is that you can get to the information quickly; you can get the values quickly. Instead of having to look up the properties in a book and then do the calculations, you can bring up Knovel, search for the property data you need, and have your answers from the tables right away.
KX: As an active professor at Lamar University, do you ever use Knovel in the classroom? Do you think that using the tools on Knovel is a good skill for students to have?
Yaws: Yes. I refer to the availability of the property data on the Knovel web site in the class syllabus. I also do the same in the handouts. The students know where to find the property data, and they use it for solving homework problems in thermodynamics, plant design, distillation, safety, and air quality control.
KX: How would you describe your relationship with Knovel? How has that relationship evolved over the past 10 years?
Yaws: It’s been a very rewarding relationship; I’m thrilled with what they were able to do with the property data content. My association with Knovel has been very rewarding as well in my research activities (both new correlations and enthusiam) in chemical engineering. That is the reason I’m happy to continue to work with Knovel.