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Ken Mask, MD
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These books were the text used in the self-paced Instrumentation class, Chemistry 838, which I took at Michigan State University, circa 1974. It was easily the best class I ever took at MSU, and these were easily the best texts I ever used at MSU.
I was an undergraduate student in MSU's Electrical Engineering Dept. at the time, when a friend tipped me off to a graduate Instrumentation lab class taught in the Chemistry department. The purpose of the class was to teach Chemistry and Physics graduate students how to build electronic instruments for their research work.
Well, I learned MUCH more practical Electrical Engineering in that one year (three quarter) self-paced graduate Chemistry class than I learned in ALL my EE labs COMBINED! It is impossible to overstate just how much better this series was than the usual college texts of the day. (However, part of the disparity in quality between Chem 838 and my EE labs was certainly due to the fact that in 1974 MSU had a very good Chemistry department, but a truly miserable excuse for an EE department.)
The four "modules" (books) are:
1. Electronic Analog Measurements and Transducers, by Malmstadt, Enke & Crouch. ISBN 0-8053-6903-1. 203 pages pbk.
2. Control of Electrical Quantities in Instrumentation, by Malmstadt, Enke & Crouch. ISBN 0-8053-6904-X. 356 pages pbk.
3. Digital and Analog Data Conversions, by Malmstadt, Enke & Crouch. ISBN 0-8053-6905-8. 455 pages pbk.
4. Optimization of Electronic Measurements, by Malmstadt, Enke, Crouch & Horlick. ISBN 0-8053-6906-6. 203 pages pbk.
Note: I would not recommend trying to study these texts out of order.
The combined material from these 4 texts, sans experiments, was also published as a single textbook, "Electronic Measurements for Scientists." But that's out of print, too.
However, there is one book by these authors that is still in print. Their "new" (1994) book is, "Microcomputers and Electronic Instrumentation: Making the Right Connections," ISBN 0841228612. I've not read it, but I'll bet it is terrific.
27 years later, I remain grateful to Prof. Howard V. Malmstadt (U. of Illinois), Prof. Chris G. Enke (MSU), and Prof. Stanley R. Crouch (MSU), for their disproportionate contribution to my education, as authors of these books and designers of that course.
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Much of his national exposure has seemingly been created by the gratuitous pot shots he takes at notable blacks, in efforts to knock them off some imagined pedestal. Two examples stand out. In the Rage of Race,(#34) one of two essays about James Baldwin, Crouch embarks on an acidic deconstruction; claiming that Baldwin's late-career work "sold out to rage, despair, self-righteousness and a will to scandalize." Crouch further wrote that Baldwin's mantle as black literary spokesman led him to neglect his craft, and eroded the impact of his subsequent work. To the contrary, there are numerous black artists, whose passion and activism did not lower the quality of their work(i.e. Paul Robeson; and Ishmael Reed-see Airing Dirty Laundry, and Writin' is Fightin). To Baldwin's credit, he defiantly refused to "sit in some ivory tower perfecting my craft" while events on the civil rights ground demanded his attention and participation. In "Nationalism of Fools(Essay #25)Crouch reduced Malcolm X to a purveyor of "a cockeyed racial vision of history which precluded any insights into human nature..." Crouch's willingness to adopt the mainstream consensus about Malcolm left him no room to study the true evolution of Malcolm's world view; it expanded beyond U.S. borders, transcended civil rights, and embraced human rights instead.
With these criticisms, you may wonder why I gave this book 5 stars. I did so because I LEARNED SO MUCH!! Crouch introduced me to people I'd never heard of, and whose work I now enjoy. The best example is("Chitlins at the Waldorf"-Essay #6) his tribute to Albert Murray, who was a contemporary of Ralph Ellison. Murray's book, Stompin the Blues, is widely regarded as the definitive text about the meaning of jazz and the blues. Because of Crouch, I now have four of Charles Johnson's books. Crouch's essay, "Another Master" profiles Senegalese film maker Ousmane Sembene, who recently had a month-long festival of his films shown at NYC's Film Forum. For all the acerbity in some essays, Crouch also shows real compassion and empathy, as his essay about Lionel Mitchell attests.
For the most part, I will never align myself politically with the conservatives with whom Crouch appears cozy. However, I will never stop reading his essays either, for they are rich, improvisational, educational and eclectic. Notes of a Hanging Judge is an intense,fascinating workout, which is at times fun. It is a truly worthwhile reading experience, and I highly recommend it!
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