In this interview, we talk to Graham V. Weinberg author of the book Directed Energy System Performance Prediction. We discuss the motivation behind writing the book, the target audience, the most useful aspects of the book, the challenges of writing the book, and advice for other engineers who are considering writing a book.
Graham V. Weinberg is a mathematician specialising in probability and stochastic processes, who completed a PhD degree at the University of Melbourne in 2001. He has been employed by the Australian Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group since 2002, and has worked across a number of different domains. He is an associate editor of IET Electronics Letters and Elsevier’s Digital Signal Processing.
1. What was your main motivation behind writing Directed Energy System Performance Prediction?
After spending a number of years working in the directed energy (DE) weapons program at Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group, I realized that there was not a comprehensive and coherent account of the performance prediction of DE systems available publicly. Given that I had started to publish papers in this field, I decided that such a book would be useful for scientists and engineers developing DE systems. I also find that I prefer writing a book to publishing papers, since in a book one can explore concepts much more thoroughly.
2. Who is the main target audience for your book and what will they appreciate the most about the book?
Directed Energy System Performance Prediction has been written for anyone who has an interest in DE system performance analysis. In particular, it will be of interest to defense agencies, defense contractors, and universities. The book will allow them to assess expected performance and determine figures of merit. In addition, it can be used in the design of DE systems for various applications. It also demonstrates how threat spatial variations may be modeled through arrival processes.
3. What do you see Directed Energy System Performance Prediction being most useful for?
The book will be most useful for determining expected performance in ideal situations. It can therefore be used as part of the system design process.
4. How did you find the writing of the book? Do you have a specific process or are you quite methodical in your writing approach?
This is my second book, and I wrote it very differently from the approach I took with my first book. This made the process of writing it somewhat easier. It still required me to “live it,” meaning that for a six-month period I was completely absorbed in research and writing for the book. Since Directed Energy System Performance Prediction was to investigate the two main types of DE systems, it had a simpler structure than my first book.
5. What challenges did you face when writing Directed Energy System Performance Prediction and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was simultaneously writing a book and undertaking my expected duties in my role as a discipline leader at DST Group. Sometimes research work I was doing overlapped with topics of relevance for the book, which facilitated the process. However, this was only an occasional event. As a result, I had to write the book more intensely over weekends and public holidays, while during the regular work week I continued writing after work hours. I have had to work very long hours over an extended period to complete Directed Energy System Performance Prediction.
6. What advice would you give to other engineers who are considering writing a book?
It is important to identify an area where you can provide a novel contribution and one which you are passionate about, since this can sustain you during the writing process. It is also useful to publish a few papers in the field before writing the book, since you can gauge interest in your approach to problem solving and develop a basis for a book-writing project.
7. What are you working on next?
I am currently enjoying working regular hours and having free weekends. At this stage I am considering a career change (still in DST Group).
Learn more about the book on our websites