Quality Magazine

Editor's Note: The ABCs of NDT

October 30, 2009
All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum, offers some great lessons: Share everything. Play fair. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

It provides advice on how to live, and while the book doesn’t claim people should stop learning, I think this attitude may creep up on us if we aren’t careful. It takes effort seek out new information and knowledge, and complacency is all too common.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have the amazing example of Nola Ochs, who got her college degree at age 95. Lest you think Ochs is an isolated case, this year Chao Mu-he, 96, received his master’s degree in philosophy, thus setting a new world record for the oldest college graduate.

So if you think you are too old to learn something new, nice try.

NDT skills can be developed in a variety of places. Where did you learn your skills? In the classroom? On the job? At a conference? Did you pick these skills up on your own?

This year’s ASNT Fall Conference & Quality Testing Show provided another opportunity to keep learning, with more than 100 paper presentations, four short courses and more than 100 exhibitors. Presentations covered many different aspects of NDT, from Bercli Phased Array Solutions’ Guillaume Neau’s technical discussion of phased array to Hellier NDT’s Chuck Hellier’s session on mentoring.

As Hellier’s session proved, becoming involved is a great way to learn and get the most out of your career. He focused on two of his mentors, Robert C. McMaster and Samuel A. Wenk.

Robert McMaster, author of the first Nondestructive Testing Handbook, released in 1959, may be a familiar figure to some in the industry or Columbus residents. In addition to publishing the “NDT bible,” he was a professor at Ohio State University in Columbus, as well as one of the country’s first television weathermen.

Though his handbook continues to be used today, his legacy also includes hundreds of people he helped in NDT.

Samuel A. Wenk began his NDT career during World War II, specializing in high-energy radiography. He provided 40 years of service to both ASNT and ASTM.

Hellier urged his listeners to become mentors themselves, and concluded his presentation with the song, “You Raise Me Up.” His inspirational presentation went over well-the only question asked was, “How do you follow that?”

For those of you who are a little further along the NDT career path, it might be a good time to consider your legacy in NDT. Surely someone helped you along the way, and it might be time to pay it forward and help the next generation of NDT.

Hellier regretted that his mentors were no longer around to thank, but in his own way, he is honoring them by helping others pursue a similar career path.

ASNT encourages members to become involved with ASNT committees. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, visit www.asnt.org to contact the committee’s chair for more information.

For those of you who would like to work on your NDT skills, welcome to the NDT Fundamentals Handbook.

This special edition of NDT focuses on NDT topics that may be familiar, such as videoscopes, and those that you may not have used yet, such as high-speed video.

Save some cookies and milk for me, and I’ll see you again in February.

Michelle Bangert
Managing Editor
bangertm@bnpmedia.com