Electrical engineering is not one of the first courses that people think of when they are thinking of what major to pursue in college. Electrical engineering is still not at the top of the list on guides created to help students choose their major in college. However, electrical engineering is one of the most important things that society needs today as it deals with the application of electricity, which is needed for most things to function nowadays. This research paperwill talk about electrical engineering along with its history, importance, and possible future.
What is Electrical Engineering? Who are the Electrical Engineers?
Engineering dates back as early as the first civilization ever settled in this planet, but electrical engineering is one of those new branches of engineering whose origins can be traced to the late 19th century. This branch of engineering deals with technology and application of electricity.
Electrical engineers create, design, and manage electric technologies that helps distribute energy all over the world. They work in a wide range of electronic devices, components, and systems. They apply the mathematics and physics of electricity, electronics, and electromagnetism in a variety of scales – from tiny microchips and pocket devices to huge power station generations and supercomputers to process information and transmit energy. They design, test, and oversee electrical equipment and systems.
Electrical engineering defines the study that explores the use of electricity, magnetism and electronic principles (Jones, 2005). Electrical engineering has resulted in the emergence of different subfields that include digital computing, electronics, control systems, telecommunications and instrumentation. The field of electrical engineering is usually treated as a separate field, however, it is associated with other fields such as power engineering and power electronics.
Electrical engineers are observed to work in a range of industries due to their possession of variable skills. These range from the basic circuit theory to the enhancement of management in different projects, particularly engineering-based projects (Maxfield, 2008). It is important to note that electrical engineering involves the application of complex tools or simple tools such as a voltmeter and analyzer.
Electronic engineering incorporates the development and testing of electronic circuits, which employ the characteristics of different components such as capacitors, resistors, diodes, and transistors to attain a given functionality. The tuned circuit permits the introduction of a radio, which is aimed at filtering the single stations. Radio engineering emerged from electronic principles leading to the advancement of communication through commercial radio, radar and televise information.
The advancements in electronics have resulted in the development of numerous commercial radios, computers, television and microprocessors. Microelectronics presents a field that is quickly gaining popularity leading to the microfabrication of minimal electronic circuit components that are used in integrated circuits. The primary microelectronic components are developed through semiconductor transistors; however, all the primary electronic components can be developed at a microscopic level (Cullis, 1966).
History of Electrical Engineering
Electricity presented a subject of primary interest since the early 17th century. In the 19th century, there was intensified research in the electrical engineering field leading to notable developments in the field. For instance, George Ohm covered the concept of potential difference and electrical current whereas Michael Faraday discovered the concept of electromagnetic induction (Jones, 2005).
In the 19th century, electrical engineering became a profession. The global electric telegraph was formulated by practitioners and the initial electrical engineering institutions were created, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. This resulted in evident prospects of the possible transformations that would result from the adoption of electricity. By the end of the 19th century, electrical engineering had transformed the world through the introduction of different electrical components that enhanced rapid communication and transport through the creation of submarine cables, landlines and wireless telegraphs (Jones, 2005).
In 1897, Hull Albert was noted for his contribution in electrical engineering through the development of the cathode ray tube, which formed a portion of the oscilloscope, a primary component for the development of the electronic television. Moreover, Fleming John also invented the initial radio tube, referred to as the diode whereas the amplifier tuber was developed in 1906 by Robert Leiden (Ward, 2007).
These developments have been applied in modern electrical engineering advancements facilitating the development of various output devices such as phones, televisions, and computers. Consequently, modern electrical engineering has applied varying electrical principles to develop various devices of communication and entertainment.
The practical evolution in the electrical engineering field prompted the development of units of measurement. This resulted into the international standardization of measurements through the development of volts, coulombs, ampere, henry, and farad. In 1893, there was an international conference that was held in Chicago, which determined the need for standardization in the electrical engineering field to ensure constant communication with other professionals (Jones, 2005).
The publication and adoption of these standards has resulted in different advances in the electrical engineering field since the various standardized forms were acknowledged in different legislations in nations all over the world.
Importance of Electrical Engineering
An electrical engineer finds ways to innovate existing systems. One of which is to provide efficient energy distribution in the safest way possible especially for the end user. An electrical engineer makes sure that the energy circulating inside a building is safe. Electrical engineers also assure that electrical equipment are safe and efficient especially those that are in constant interaction with a living thing. They assure that the load is properly monitored and make sure power interruption is minimized.
Life in the modern world without electricity is unthinkable. The simplest realization is that without electricity, we would still be walking in the dark night with gas lamps and other harmful sources of energy. With the increasing industrialization of electricity, shops, offices, streets, and a number of different spaces rely on electrical energy to run.
Man has become more productive since electricity was industrialized. Without the innovations of these electrical engineers, there will be no more efficient machines and modes of transportation, no mobile devices, no conducive ventilation, no food preservation, no broadcasting and television systems, etc.
Many advancements in medical technology are credited to electrical engineers. Success rates in the way doctors treat patients have been growing ever since. With this, life expectancy of an average human being increased. Technological advances have been accelerating that it made the people’s lives easier and electrical engineering also helps people understand the world better.
With electrical engineering’s help with the invention of satellites, communication has never been easier. The world has become more connected. Transportation has also improved. People can communicate and travel to different parts of the world much easier with these advancements owed to electrical engineering.
Humans have been able to send people to space. There are no aspects of the world today that is not affected by the work of electrical engineering. Basically, without electrical engineers, the world is stuck in the dark, and the world will just be sitting there outside wondering what it is like to touch the stars.
How does electrical engineering impact society?
One of the primary advancements in the electrical engineering field was the introduction of the first programmable computer in 1941. The Z3 presented a programmable computer that employed electromechanical sections (Maxfield, 2008). In 1943, the first functional, digital, electronic and programmable computer was introduced resulting in the introduction of the computer era.
Currently, the arithmetic potential of the developed computer technology has facilitated the manipulation of computers to facilitate the attainment of different goals such as the Apollo program that resulted in the exploration of the moon by astronauts. It is evident that programmable computers have facilitated the manipulation of computer systems to suit the needs of humans in the contemporary world.
During the design and production of the radio, there was an increasing number of inventors that were involved in the advancement of radio electronics and technology. The association of different forms of electromagnetic radiation resulted in the inclusion of various invisible waves. Hertz Henrich was observed to participate in the advancements through the introduction of a spark plug transmitter that detected radio waves utilizing electrical devices.
Different physicists also experimented on radio wave transmission and detection leading to the commercialization of the telegraphic system. This advancement in electrical engineering has resulted in increased transmission of messages all over the world thus facilitating communication in the modern age.
It’s clear that electrical engineers help shape the world today through their innovative use of electrical devices and systems. The application of electrical engineering principles has increased dramatically in the last two centuries. The discovery of both alternating and direct current has brought about the transmission of electrical power longer distances leading to increased access to electricity for individuals all over the world (Maxfield, 2008).
Future of Electrical Engineering
With the modern world society being heavily reliant to electrical technology, thus electrical engineering, ambitious research and development departments all over the world are working towards a better and more efficient way to store and distribute electrical energy. With the hep of electrical engineering, humanity has no plans on slowing down technological advancements.
Consumers today can produce their own power supply unlike in the past where people rely on the local power grid. With these, electrical engineers find ways to change the way electricity is distributed using smart devices. This allows consumers to control the amount of power they use. These devices also give consumers access to information whether there will be power interruptions or when to save energy. Soon, it will be inevitable for electrical engineers to develop a smart power grid that allows more efficient and cheaper way of energy distribution.
In the current electrical distribution systems, the problem of power surges and electrical power loss has resulted in great losses to different production industries. Therefore, there is an emerging need to develop a system that will ensure the constant supply of electrical power in industries and homes. The advancement of the power grid may prompt the introduction of satellite-controlled power systems, which provide electrical engineers with feedback that is bound to minimize the power surges and ensure constant provision of electrical power (Okafor, Okoro, & Ejimanya, 2009).
Another excellent contribution of electrical engineers to technology is electric vehicles. Electric vehicles can already be seen roaming in the streets today. Many companies have been investing on these for electric vehicles are more efficient and eco-friendly than diesel-powered machines. More efficient energy storage and battery is being developed that can power not just these vehicles but also different machines.
An example would be mills which rely on solar and wind energy. With a better energy storage, people can mill even with the absence of these sources. Along with these, wires will be a thing of the past. Wireless technology have already emerged and is continuously being developed by electrical engineers. This includes wireless charging, wearable smart devices, and wireless transmission of data. Wireless technology provides more accessibility to the user and reduce the number of accidents caused by wires.
The advancement of control systems has been observed to increase the application of the control theory in different aspects such as the development of automobiles. Tesla has demonstrated the possibility of an automatically controller vehicle. Therefore, there is bound to be the development of automatically controlled electrical systems in the future (Menon & Ohlmeyer, 2001). Where regular feedback is provided to the subject computer, the control theory can be employed in the determination of the response of the system to the feedback that is provided.
It is integral to note that the electrical engineering field was acknowledged in the 19th century after the commercialization of different electronic components such as the telephone, telegraph and electrical power. Consequently, there was an increased interest in investment in recording and broadcasting media. It is integral to note that the introduction of the transistor and the integrated circuit led to a decrease in the price of electronic components, thus facilitating access of electronic components in household settings (Cullis, 1966).
Robotics, drones, and artificial intelligence are already emerging and shaping the world as we breathe. Technology without the interference of a person help reduce workload and make people more productive. Robots are currently used in many manufacturing setups that requires repetitive action which for humans would be tedious. Drones are used for communications, reconnaissance, photography, and entertainment. With these, humans are much safer to work with dangerous tasks and human error has greatly decreased.
Nanoelectronics has proposed the further scaling down of electrical components resulting in smaller electronic components and greater control of electrical devices (Sacha & Varona, 2013). The advancements in nanoelectronics are bound to facilitate the optimization of warfare through the development of nanoelectronic bombs. It is important to note that nanoelectronics have been classified as a disruptive technology due to their significant differentiation from the traditional transistors (Cullis, 1966). The devices that may emerge from the advancement in nanoelectronics include the advancement in computing technology, optimization of displays, energy production and radios.
From the discussion, it is evident that electrical engineering principles play an integral role in the present interaction. The advancement in power and control of electrical engineering is bound to increase the improvement in different industries that facilitate the institution of major services such as transport and communication. Moreover, the expansion of electrical engineering knowledge is bound to lead to the specialization of courses that are taught in institutions of higher education to facilitate specialized knowhow among electrical engineering professionals.
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