Artech House collaborates with esteemed engineers and market-savvy innovators who serve as our series editors. They help shape the content and drive the direction of books published in our core areas such as radar, mobile communications, power engineering, computer security, and more. Our newest series editor, Vince Rodriguez, will be working with Christos Christodoulou to help acquire and publish cutting-edge titles and practical references in two series, Antennas and Propagation, and Electromagnetic Analysis. We recently caught up with Vince and asked him about his work, his new gig serving as a series editor, the enduring value of books for engineers, and advice he has for first-time authors.
AH: Vince, for those who don’t know you, please tell us a little about your engineering work and interests.
VR: Somehow my career path took me to work on test and measurement topics and apply my engineering expertise in these areas. My educational background is in electromagnetics, but specifically in numerical methods applied to antenna analysis and design. Have been employed by companies that manufacture equipment for antennas, radar cross section, and electromagnetic compatibility measurements, most of my work has been on designing antennas for measurements and facilities for conducting those measurements. I have been lucky that all my employers have supported me in writing articles, conference papers, books, and book chapters. I have also been very involved in the development of measurement standards and recommended practices for the measurement of antennas and radio-frequency absorbers.
My interest remains on antenna design, mainly oriented to the requirements of electromagnetic measurements and on measurement facility design, from hardware-in-the-loop testing to radar cross section.
AH: For you, what is the appeal of serving as a series editor? What are you most looking forward to?
VR: To me, the most appealing thing is to help other engineers become authors. I had been told by many colleagues and family members that I should write a technical book. But I always was thinking: who is going to publish it? Who will give me a chance? Back in 2018, an e-mail from an acquisitions editor at Artech House was the little push I needed. I saw the acquisitions editor as a champion who helped me get the book published. I want to “pay-it-forward” and to be that champion, that catalyst, who makes somebody write a book.
So, I look forward to helping other authors. Additionally, I look forward to learning. This series editor position requires me to learn more about industry trends and step away from my test & measurement niche.
AH: What role do you see books playing in engineer’s lives these days?
VR: The same role they’ve always played. Go into the office or cubicle of any engineer at my company and you will see books. Technical books, reference books, textbooks. From the basic and classic like Balanis and Krauss to the latest topics like 5G, additive manufacturing, smart vehicles, etc.
You would think that the internet killed that need for books, but there is a lot of information on the web and sometimes it is difficult to separate true technical information from marketing hype. A book has the appeal of having been edited and peer reviewed. A book allows you to write your notes in the margin, clarifying what the author stated, or adding your own experience. In this way, they become more than what they were when published.
AH: You’ve written a successful book with Artech House and you know it is no small feat. What advice do you have for engineers thinking about or just starting to write a technical book?
VR: Do not try to write a book chapter by chapter. Let yourself go, lead by your train of thought. As I was writing some sections of a chapter, I would research topics and read references and that would take me down the rabbit-hole to a whole different, yet interesting topic that was critical for a totally different chapter. So, I would drop the chapter that I was working on and go to work on a different one.
This can be a messy approach, but if you start with a good outline for your book, it works. So set up your table of contents first, in a general way, and then think of the flow. See if the order of the chapters makes sense. Once you have that, then the approach that I describe above works well. Because although you may jump back and forth as the ideas flow, there is a predesigned order that will then place all those thoughts where they need to be.
Learn more about Vince Rodriguez’s book, Anechoic Range Design For Electromagnetic Measurements, by clicking here.