Maloney picture

John M. Maloney, Ph.D., ELS

Prototyping, technical editing, and entropy interpretation

Research associate / research scientist /
research affiliate (2006-2017)
MIT Laboratory for Material Chemomechanics

Senior MEMS engineer (2001-2005) 
MicroCHIPS, Inc.
Engineer-in-residence (2001-2005)
MIT Microsystems Technology Labs

September 2018: New technical note on mechanics: Let’s not overrate Young’s modulus.
August 2018: New technical note on thermodynamics: When Nature takes the square root.
January 2018: New technical editing note: Your device has no feelings: Avoiding awkward anthropomorphization.
June 2017: New paper published in Nature Materials; updated pictures and publications.
November 2016: Updated collection of thin film patterns.
September 2016: Updated list of errata and new insights.
June 2016: Blebs, chemical fixation, and the optical stretcher; trying out the new Tufte class in LaTeX (source files here).
July 2015: Sampoerna students kindly summarized my invited talk in Jakarta.
November 2014: Briefed my department on the statistical technique of bootstrapping.
May 2013: What we should know about mechanics of materials.
January 2012: Thesis: Chemomechanics of Attached and Suspended Cells.
January 2010: Gave Topics in Statistics talk at MIT's IAP.
October 2009: Created How deep can cells feel?, a 10-minute video describing recent research.

I answer scientific and engineering questions as Mapes on and as Chemomechanics on the less toxic subreddits and (recently) on Stack Exchange. Some examples of my answers are here, here, here, and here.


1999 lab picture

Publications and pictures are here.
3-D stress state Technical notes on mechanics: Let’s not overrate Young’s modulus, Heated beams and hanging chains; What we should know about mechanics of materials; Generalized Hooke's Law; Interpreting the Tresca yield criterion; On true strain vs. engineering strain.
Thermodynamics graphic Technical notes on thermodynamics: When Nature takes the square root; The cruelest equation in introductory thermodynamics; Determining entropy.
Blebbing mesenchymal stem cell Technical notes on biology: Blebs, chemical fixation, and the optical stretcher.
Technical editing notes: You can go a long way in the present tense; Avoiding awkward anthropomorphization; Alternatives to “good” in technical writing.

Optical profilometry image of buckled thin film

I've collected a variety of thin film patterns and the fantastic variety of terms used to describe them.
Cell schematic My doctoral research on the chemomechanics of biological cells (thesis, 7MB) was performed in the Van Vliet Group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT under co-advisors Prof. Krystyn Van Vliet and Prof. Robert Langer.
Prototyping exercises Prototyping demonstrations: polished brass letters that magnetically trigger LEDs.
Programming exercises Delving into Python: a touch-switch-activated random Steely Dan player on a Raspberry Pi and a four-item kitchen timer on a tablet.
Peter and Paul paper-folding trick A brief survey of the Peter-and-Paul paper-folding trick, and my own version.
Equirectangular map Mapping our round-the-world trip programmatically using different global projections.
Cambridge Science Festival poster One of my images of cells could be seen up and down Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge for several years, before the laminated posters bleached and disintegrated.
Notebook sketch My experience with MIT's oral qualifying exam in materials science and engineering.
Controlled-exposure microchip A controlled-exposure technology is described here in an adapted excerpt from my 2006 MEng thesis.

MicroCHIPS logo

From 2001 to 2005 I worked for MicroCHIPS, Inc., a Boston-area bioMEMS company. This extended abstract describes the state of the technology in 2003.

3DMEMS platform

One of my areas of research at the University of Maryland was 3-D microfabrication.

Thermal actuator

The other was electrothermal actuation. In this summary, I derive an equation for estimating the first-order time constant of a microfabricated suspended beam, which we published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.

JMM bookshelf

My thoughts on philosophy, logic and teaching are well represented here.

My academic geneology immediately veers into chemistry because Bob Langer was trained as a chemical engineer: John M. Maloney—Robert S. Langer Jr.—Clark Kenneth Colton—Edward W. Merrill—Hermann P. Meissner—Hans Joachim Schumacher—Max BodensteinViktor MeyerAdolph von BaeyerAugust KekuléJustus von LeibigJoseph Louis Gay-LussacClaude Louis BertholletAntoine-Laurent de Lavoisier.

My Erdős number is at most 5: John M. Maloney—Krystyn J. Van Vliet—Rudolph Jaenisch—Eric LanderDaniel J. KleitmanPaul Erdős.

© Copyright John M. Maloney.