Talk:Electrical engineering/Archive 1

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This is an archive of discussion on Talk:Electrical engineering

topics on EE?

Where do I navigate through to the topics on EE?

On complex number and Eulers formula in complex analysis, I mention that complex numbers are being used in electrical engineering and other fields to describe periodically changing signals. Is there a good page to link to? Also, you may want to link to the above pages. Thanks -- AxelBoldt --- Complex numbers are extensively used in Signal Processing and Circuit Analysis. Perhaps you can make links to these pages

First amplification

"Vacuum tubes were the only electronic device able to amplify a signal for 40 years, u"

i heard that they used the nonlinearities of transformers to amplify, or something like that, before tubes. - Omegatron 00:41, Jul 13, 2004 (UTC)

There is a gizmo called a magnetic amplifier, based on a saturable reactor. There are patents relating to it from 1903 to 1950, according to Platt, S. Magnetic Amplifiers, Theory and Applications, Prentice-Hall, 1958. Another book by the US Navy is ISBN 0970961855. The US Navy got excited about them because they were robust and could handle huge currents. Nowadays they seem to be used for power control (e.g. here), but I can't find any references to audio or radio amplification. -- Heron 08:50, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I found this page while searching last night that says they used audio transducers in a relay or a "balance-beam amplifier" to amplify: - Omegatron 13:46, Jul 13, 2004 (UTC)
Amazing! We have now established that there were other methods of amplification besides the valve, so I have altered the article slightly. The details can go in later. Perhaps some of this stuff should go into the amplifier article, and not here. -- Heron 16:48, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Sequence of subfields

I moved "power engineering" up because I think the historical development sequence would be roughly: - Power and early telecoms theory roughly contemporary - Early radio and electronics - Control theory, more telecoms and switching theory - Computing and the rest following. (And the theories, tools, and work section was really needed. ) --Wtshymanski 03:35, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Absurdity of image selection

Ok, I don't know what User:Wtshymanski's and User:Heron's problem is with Tesla, but Wtshymanski took it to a point nearing vandalism with this edit [1] which contained the following image:

File:Milan Vidmar.jpg
An electrical engineer. Not all electrical engineers are dead white males. Today many are women, and a large part of the world's electrical engineering patents were originated by non-Cacuasians. There is no such thing as a picture of a typical electrical engineer.

This caption is just asinine because of:

  1. Not all electrical engineers are dead white males.
    • There has been no claims that all electrical engineers are dead nor white nor male nor dead white males
    • dead white male is a red link
  2. "non-Cacuasians" is spelled wrong
  3. "There is no such thing as a picture of a typical electrical engineer."
  4. Doesn't even link or mention Milan Vidmar

Look, I have no problem against removal of Tesla. What I have a problem with is you two claiming it's "Tesla-worship" [2] or an "extraneous image" [3] [4].

I have no idea what your intentions are Wtshymanski, but you're either trying to make a point (but you're disrupting WP, which is against policy) or being, for the lack of a better word, stupid/hypocritical by removing an "extraneous image" and replacing it with (AFAIK) a non-world renowned EE with an asinine caption. Cburnett 21:24, Jun 5, 2005 (UTC)

  1. I thought a more neutral image was in order since the choice of Tesla to illustrate the article appears to be debatable.
  2. I regret the spelling error. I've never been a strong speller and lately I notice I don't self-edit as much as I used to.
  3. Is it not true that not all electrical engineers are dead white males? The claim is implicit in the choices of illustrations so far. The only illustrations I found quickly on Wikipedia excessively over-represent dead white males, and I thought it necessary to explain that these are not particularly relevant criteria to the practice of electrical engineering.
  4. I will have to find the IEEE Spectrum article on an electrical engineer who was born male and had gender reassignment surgery to become female; with publications both before and after the transition. This is a pretty extreme example to show that gender identity is not a factor in electrical engineering.
  5. Sometimes Wikipedia has to explain the obvious because its only obvious to specialists in the subject matter.
  6. Red links are how Wikipedia grows. Diversity is a serious problem in engineering education and recruiting students to the field is not well-served by implying that white males are representative. I should have linked to Dead White Males but this is a non-Wiki-standard capitialization that I should have looked for. Or, I could have linked to dead white males, which redirects to a very similar article.
  7. In my opinion the caption is not asinine; after writing up this response I'm pleased that my flippant impulsive choice actually has a depth of validity that now surprises me. The caption is making people think about the issues.
  8. I left out Dr. Vidmar's name because I was using the image as a generic illustration of what an electrical engineer looks like and I purposely wanted to demphasize the association to any particular engineer. Some editors feel that Edison was not a good choice, and some feel Tesla is not an appropriate choice. Some editors feel that a picture is necessary. I feel the picture may well be extraneous but I am in the minority. Picking a more obscure, generic electrical engineer was my attempt to fufill what I saw as the purpose of showing a picture of a person without the associations that others find objectionable. Admittedly, I knew this was going to be a debatable choice as their are several Tesla enthusiasts here on Wikipedia. There's no point in identifying "some editors" particularly as anyone interested can read the edit history.
  9. I wonder if any electrical engineer is really recognizable to the general public - I note that the expression "thomas edison engineer -wikipedia" gets more than twice as many Google hits as "nikola tesla engineer -wikipedia", and Edison was never formally schooled in electrical engineering (as the profession didn't have any formal degree programs during Edison's school years). And neither gets more than a small fraction of the hits of "justin timberlake singer".
  10. Indeed, Edison (like many "practical" engineers of the late 19th centrury) had to be persuaded of the applicability of mathematical methods in solution of electrical problems. Since this is so central to the way EE is done today, I thought a more modern engineer would be a better choice. I understand from Paul Nahin's book on Oliver Heaviside that Tesla was not known for mathematical methods, either, and instead relied on a poweful physical intuition for his inventions. Since both these individuals did engineering in a way that is no longer typical, I don't think either picture is terribly relevant to the modern professional practice.
  11. I am please to see the article get more attention; this was nominated as an article that should be upgraded to "featured" status.
  12. Could someone please amplify on electrical engineering education in Europe? I'd especially like to know when graduate-level degrees in EE were possible. The Web is frustratingly vague on this point.
  13. Dr. Vidmar is at least notable enough to have a Wikipedia article and I recommend Milan Vidmar to be read. Interestingly enough he founded a school of engineering education in his own country and he also had a doctorate. He would seem to be much more in the modern spirit of electrical engineering as a professional discipline than the "invention factory" approach that was characteristic of the early, unsystematic era of electrical engineering. If an illustration be needed, I submit Dr. Vidmar will do very nicely.
  14. I submit that there is no such thing as a picture of a typical electrical engineer and I would appreciate any citation that establishes the contradictory case. Any picture of an individual is going to be unrepresentative.
  15. I do not accuse anyone of "Tesla-worship". It's my impression that several Tesla enthusiasts have been somewhat partisan in claiming priority for Tesla in so many areas. The revolving magnetic field is quite enough to justify Tesla's reputation and the extreme claims are not required to assure Tesla's lasting fame. I have in fact inserted a reference to Tesla's radio remote control patents which were particularly relevant to the history of Remote control.
  16. I hope the above points show I am not being hypocritical, though I admit my thoughts about the issue are much better articulated now than when I removed the extraneous image. Perhaps I'm stupid.

--Wtshymanski 04:46, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

And just now, "milan vidmar" -wikipedia gets more than 4400 hits on Google - which is 20% as many as Tesla. This surprised me, too ! --Wtshymanski 05:40, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
These are extraneous images. Engineers are just people; we don't need an image of what a person looks like. Nationalism or racism or whatever is driving such captions has no place in the wikipedia. - Omegatron 22:50, Jun 5, 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, any particular image is as relevant as any other.--Wtshymanski 04:46, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
No. An image of an engineer is not necessary and should not be included. Especially if it's going to be used for stupid disruptions like this. - Omegatron 14:26, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)
Agree, a picture of an engineer, especially a dull studio portrait, does not help to clarify the article and is not necessary. I'd support removal of the picture of an individual EE. --Wtshymanski 23:02, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  • If we are going to stick with Tesla can someone please add something to the body of the article about him. Thanks. - Cedars 05:51, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • I think that would apply to anyone added, not just Tesla. Cburnett 06:07, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

I don't think I'll spend the time replying to Wtshymanski's 16-point "rambling". Suffice to say that I don't care exactly which image is there so long as there is one there. The reasons to remove Tesla have been weak and guided by his race and gender instead of his accomplishments in the EE field. I wouldn't even care if there were two images there! Cburnett 06:07, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

There should be no image. Everyone knows what people look like. - Omegatron 14:29, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)
Oh no, not again.
Nikola Tesla is considred by many to be one of the fathers of electrical engineering
--Wtshymanski 20:21, 17 August 2005 (UTC)

Removal of NPOV

I think the NPOV box has been incorrectly added to this page. From WP:NPOV:

when one writes neutrally, one is very careful not to state (or imply or insinuate or subtly massage the reader into believing) that any particular view at all is correct.

If Wtshymanski desires to continue on about race and gender, then fine (whatever, I'm not game for such a discussion today), but the article does not state anything resembling that EE's are only "dead white males"...or anything about race, gender, etc. as far as I've read. If the dispute is over the Tesla image, then that's not NPOV being disputed!

Unless Wtshymanski can argue why and exactly what aspect of NPOV is disputed, I think the {{npov}} should be removed ASAP. Insofar, I see nothing resembling NPOV being disputed. Cburnett 06:14, Jun 6, 2005 (UTC)

Would-be engineering students may look at this article and I'd rather it did not, even subliminally, advocate that only white males are electrical engineers. Diversity is a real problem in engineering education. Tesla made an essential contribution to electrical engineering, but his methods are not representative of modern engineering practice. --Wtshymanski 23:02, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
When you put {{npov}} on a page, you are expected to state the disputed passages and terms that you find violate the NPOV policy.
Since you mention Tesla, I assume your dispute is with the image and *that's it*. Thus far, the debate has been over the existance of the image and you made it one about race & gender. So really, you're carrying this dispute against yourself because no one is arguing with you about it. You are the one talking about race & gender. You are the one changing the article to talk about dead white males. You are the only one putting anything about race and gender into the article. You are the one raising the NPOV dispute. Etc. I'll point out the following at WP:NPOVD:
If you add the above code to an article which seems to you to be biased, but there is no prior discussion of the bias, you need to at least leave a note on the article's talk page describing what you consider unacceptable about the article.
I would have reverted your edit adding the template, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt that you just didn't get around to starting this discussion after doing it (had to go to work or something). Guess I was wrong. :/ Cburnett 05:23, Jun 7, 2005 (UTC)

Hi everyone,

I've made some changes to the article including removing the NPOV notice and reverting the picture back to Edison.

The revert back to Edison is because:

  • Edison is mentioned in the History section of the article, Tesla is not.
  • The Edison picture is correctly cropped, the Tesla picture is not.

I've also removed the NPOV notice because I don't see how the article advocates any particular side of the debate. This is the definition adopted by Wikipedia for the basic concept of neutrality. [5]

As always, I'm happy for anyone to edit my work but I urge you all to please consider the big picture. There are so many areas where this article needs major improvement and the issues of whether there is subtle cultural bias or whether Tesla's work was more significant than Edison's are relatively minor.

That said, if you can edit the history section to briefly explain Tesla's contribution or to highlight major work in the field outside of the United States, please feel free to do so.


Cedars 01:18, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hi Cedars: I don't think Edison is any better a choice than Tesla to illustrate the article. Could we not get some generic person in a hard hat and office clothing looking up at a transmission line with a roll of prints under one arm? Or perhaps someone lecturing to a classroom with some Maxwellian equations on the board? Neither Edison nor Tesla is representative of today's electrical engineers, I think.

I wish we had more data in the article on history of EE in the UK and Europe and Asia. I've noticed there was an explosion in EE education at least around 1875 - prior to that date you couldn't study a course in electrical engineering anywhere, but a generation later there were master's and doctorates available. --Wtshymanski 13:10, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

You say "today's electrical engineers" yet we're talking about the history section. Cburnett 05:21, Jun 11, 2005 (UTC)

Hi Wtshymanski,

Cburnett is correct, the purpose of the image was to illustrate the "History" section of the article, not to present a picture of the typical engineer. Images, like section headings, break up an article making it more readable (for most people). I also believe that the entrepreneurial spirit is still quite alive in this generation of engineers and therefore disagree that Edison or Tesla are not representative of today's electrical engineers.


Cedars 02:01, 12 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Plans for Improvement

Hi everyone,

I thought I might share my ideas for improving the article. Please feel free to comment and if anyone wants to expand the lead or history section for me your changes would be most welcome. It may take a few months for me to complete all the items on the list.

Cedars 04:35, 12 July 2005 (UTC)

  1. Add "Training and certification" section incorporating "Professional organizations"
  2. Remove "Broadcasting" subsection (not significant enough)
  3. Remove "Major applications" section (should be covered in subfields or possibly in additional table)
  4. Rename "Digital signal processing" subsection to "Signal processing" and rewrite it
  5. Rewrite "Telecommunications" subsection
  6. Simplify "Electronic" subsection
  7. Expand "Theories, tools and work" to include a picture and typical engineering workplaces
  8. Rewrite "Related disciplines" to discuss biomedical engineering, mechatronics, MEMS and nothing else
  9. Tweak "Power" subsection
  10. Expand "History" section (probably to include Tesla)
  11. Expand lead section
  12. Proof-read entire article

Just thought I'd say you're doing excellent work on this. Definitely need to be nominated for FA when done! Cburnett 05:45, July 17, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks, Cburnett. Cedars 14:43, 17 July 2005 (UTC)

More tools and skills

I've added what I think are some essential skills - the language needs polishing. I think some of the sections are a little busy in terms of it appropriate to give so many specifics in an overview? The iron ring is uniqe to Canadian practice and might baffle most's fairly obscure even in Canada, and I've been asked where I got the pinky ring many times. not talking about the other picture, no sir, not again --Wtshymanski 19:40, 22 July 2005 (UTC)

Hi Wtshymanski,

Thanks for your comments. Here are my responses:

  • I added information on legal obligations and the code of ethics to the "Traing and certification" section.
  • I integrated your changes to the "Tools and Work" section. Feel free to revise it further if you want.
  • I have no problem with removing the iron ring (in fact I think as an image it's a bit plain) but I would like there to be some image to accompany the "Training and certification" section (maybe EE students).
  • As for the claim that some sections are a little busy, I assume you are refering to the biggest section, the "Subfields" section. The purpose of this section is threefold:
  1. Provide an introduction to electrical engineering as theoretical subject (not just as an occupation)
  2. Introduce many of the applications of electrical engineering (notice that each picture is an application)
  3. Provide a comprehensive overview of many of the types of work an electrical engineer might do.
I think the "Subfields" section does this quite well and gives a real taste of what electrical engineering is all about. I'm happy for it to undergo some editing (especially the "Power" subsection which I think needs to be revised) but I'm more than a little ambivalent about removing too much detail.


Cedars 10:46, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

Sub article

I have decided the article is probably getting a little long. I've reproduced the "Subfields" section in a new article called subfields of electrical engineering. I will replace the section with a summary table that references the new article when I have the available time.

Cedars 13:21, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

I disagree with this. As is, the article is under 32 KB. If this is eventually to become a featured article, I don't think it will make it with the sub fields in their own article. Besides, each sub field should have its own article and the section in electrical engineering should be a summary. Cburnett 05:14, August 10, 2005 (UTC)
If that is the case, we can move the subfields section back into the article. However the article was probably getting a bit long for most readers. As you can see the summary table still keeps a few paragraphs on each subfield and closely links with the related article. Cedars 14:39, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

First EE course

MIT did not offer the first electrical engineering course in 1882. Stevens Institute of Technology, in 1870, offered electrical generation and power distribution courses. There may even have been earlier courses, but 1882 was not the first.

The Stevens Institute article says that in 1870 it offered a course covering *everything* in engineering - I think this article is saying that MIT offered the first program *titled* "Electrical Engineering". Be Bold. This article could possibly say that in the early days EE was often lumped in with other disciplines as there really wasn't yet that much to study. --Wtshymanski 15:15, 12 August 2005 (UTC)

Standardising Formulae

I was thinking that similiar to books on the topic where formulae are discussed through a chapter they are summarised at the bottom with simply the name of the formula and the formula itself

for example

Reluctance of a magnetic circuit
S = \frac{l}{\mu_0 \mu_r A}

It would provide a nice tidy method of just picking up the formulae you need. What do you think?