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DR.

PRANESH ASWATH: Electrical engineering


as a field in a field that involves the study of electricity, electronics,
and electromagnetism, and that's sort of the historical context
to electrical engineering.
And if you look back during the time-frame
of the 18th and 19th century, the earlier section
when we focused on the history of engineering,
we looked at the impact of technology, such as the telegraph, telephone,
and electrical power generation that, to the period
that we now call as the second Industrial Revolution.
So a number of physicists were very integral in developing
some of those technologies.
And that field eventually earn the term, electrical engineering.
Later on, I would say, towards the latter part
of the 19th century to the early part of the 20th century is when
the discovery, or rather, invention of the vacuum tubes
and electronics associated with that resulted in the rise of broadcasting,
radio, and then, eventually, television which were made possible,
again, because of the branch of electrical engineering
which we call electronics.
And I would say that towards the mid-part of the 20th century,
and mid- to the latter-part of the 20th century,
right after, I would say, the end of the Second World War,
with the invention of the transistor, resulted
in the development of semiconductor devices
and significant level of miniaturization of electronic devices.
In the old days, vacuum tubes and so forth resulted
in radios which were relatively large.
And radio transmission stations also had to be very large.
And it was not something that was physically possible for small stations
to achieve, so there were very few stations that had the large power
requirements and the electronics that were available to deliver
radio transmissions.
But with the advent of integrated semiconductor devices,
they were able to miniaturize these devices significantly,
and then today, you find semiconductor devices
in practically every application.
Every household device had some kind of electronics associated with that.
Now, again, looking back historically, during the frame of the Industrial
Revolution, which was a time when electrical engineering played
a very important role, there were numerous people
who played a very significant role in the emergence
of electrical engineering, among whom were people like Thomas Edison, Nikola
Tesla, George Westinghouse, and others.
And we had look at some historical context when we focused on our section
on history of engineering.
Today, electrical engineering is a much broader field.
It has a number of sub-fields within electrical engineering.
Subjects such as traditional electronics,
areas like signal processing, power generation, transmission,
telecommunication, controls, which is a very important sub-group
within electrical engineering, robotics.
Then, of course, there are other areas, such as instrumentation,
which is very cross-disciplinary.
It goes across fields such as mechanical engineering,
bioengineering, and so forth.
And of course, the latest areas of emerging technology
is in the area nanoelectronics, where things
have gone from macro, to micro, to much smaller miniaturization,
where devices are at the nano-size scale.
The other aspect of electrical engineering
is, electricity is one of the main source of power
to drive motors or devices.
So it is integrated in other aspects of engineering,
including mechanical engineering.
For example, the integration of mechanical engineering and electronics
is a field known as mechatronics, which is an integral part
of the field of robotics.
And so, other areas, for example, in aerospace, if you think of aerospace,
you might think of all of the issues related to flight and so forth.
But a very important aspect of aerospace is
in the area of electronics and electrical engineering,
because controls, sensors, vision, and all those factors
are important aspects of flight.
In this section, we're going to focus on actually,
a very small subset of engineering, but nonetheless a field that
is relatively new and emerging.
And as part of that, I will introduce three faculty members
who will be focusing on these new emerging
areas in electrical engineering.
The first is Professor Samir Igbal.
Professor Iqbal is a associate professor in Electrical Engineering
at UT Arlington.
He got his Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering
from NED University of Engineering in Pakistan,
and his Master's and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University.
His area of research is one of those new, emerging fields which
is at the boundary between engineering and bioengineering,
and is known as nanobiotechnology.
In his section, he will be focusing primarily
on the topic of nanotechnology, what is nanotechnology,
what are the implications of nanotechnology,
and what are the devices, and so forth that
can be developed using nanotechnology?
The second professor you'll be hearing from is Professor JC Chiao.
Professor Chiao is the Janet and Mike Green
Professor of Electrical Engineering, and he earned his Electrical Engineering
Bachelor of Science Degree from the National Taiwan University,
and a Master's and Ph.D, also in electrical engineering
from California Institute of Technology.
Professor Chiao's research is primarily focused
on what is known as micro-electro-mechnical systems,
or in colloquial terms, is also known as MEMS.
And this is also an area which is a relatively new or emerging field.
And over the last few years, Professor Chiao and his crew
came up with a very nice, new, interesting invention,
which is micro-windmills.
These are windmills, most of us know what windmills are.
They're used to convert wind energy to electrical energy.
And usually, when you talk about windmills,
their very large, giant structures that convert
wind energy to electrical energy.
But what Professor Chiao is working on and will be part of his presentation
is what we call a micro-windmills, which are made by MEMS technology,
and they're the size of an ant, and hundreds of them
can fit onto your cellphone.
So as you're walking around, you can actually use the motion of air
against your cellphone to generate electricity.
So he's going to be talking about energy harvesting, using micro-windmills.
The third faculty member you're going to be hearing from
is Professor Ali Davoudi, who got his Bachelor
of Science degree in Electrical Engineering
from Sharif University in Iran, and his Master of Engineering
in Electrical Engineering from University of British Columbia,
and his PhD, again, in Electrical Engineering from University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champagne.
Professor Davoudi runs the Laboratory for Renewable Energy and Vehicular
Technologies at UT Arlington.
And his area of research largely is in the area of power generation.
When you think of power generation historically,
power used to be generated, and is still, to a large extent,
is generated at a central power plant, and is transmitted in one direction
to the customers, who may be thousands of miles away, using a national grid.
That's a traditional way electricity is generated, whether it's a nuclear power
plant, a coal-powered power plant, or a hydroelectric power plant, that's
generally the way its done.
But today, with the advent of things such as solar energy that you
can out a panel on your roof, or wind energy, where
you can have a windmill in your backyard,
it's possible to generate power at local distributed locations.
So the paradigm shift is going from centralized power
generation and transmission, to distributed power generation
and transmission.
So instead of having single direction power transmission,
you need to have bi-directional power transformation.
And secondly, instead of having a single, centralized grid,
you need to have a distributed grid.
So now, Professor Davoudi will be talking about micro-grids.
How can you generate power at discrete locations in a distributed fashion,
but also integrate it into a regular grid
so that power can be transmitted over long distances, but generated,
not in a central location, but at various different locations.
As you can see, these three areas are really
emerging areas in the area of electrical engineering,
none of which is what we would consider traditional electrical engineering,
but nonetheless, it also tells you a little bit
about the diversity of electrical engineering
and the opportunities that are there in the field.
Hopefully, you'll get a better appreciation
of opportunities that are there in the field of electrical engineering
by listening to these faculty members.
Thank you.