Encyclopedia of Electrical Engineering
Encyclopedia of Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering is the branch of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electro-magnetism and electronics. The basic of Electrical Engineering works on movement of electrical charges.
In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin in America tried experiments with charges. It was Franklin who named the two kinds of electricity positive and negative. He even collected electric charges from thunderstorm clouds through wet string from a kite.
Scientific understanding into the nature of electricity grew throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries through the work of researchers such as Ampère, Coulomb, Faraday and Maxwell. In the 19th century it had become clear that electricity and magnetism were related, and their theories were unified: wherever charges are in motion electric current results, and magnetism is due to electric current. The source for electric field is electric charge, whereas that for magnetic field is electric current (charges in motion).
Hans Christian Ørsted was a Danish physicist and chemist who discovered that electric currents create magnetic fields, which was the first connection found between electricity and magnetism. On 21 April 1820, during a lecture, Ørsted noticed a compass needle deflected from magnetic north when an electric current from a battery was switched on and off, confirming a direct relationship between electricity and magnetism.
Electrical Engineering has the immense advantage of covering tens of specialisations, making the field very flexible and offering you a great chance trying on areas like a nervous person tries clothes before a date. Some specialisations you could find interesting are:
  • Radio-Frequency Engineering;
  • Signal Processing;
  • Microelectronics;
  • Control Systems;
  • Power Engineering;
  • Telecommunications.
When a person studies and masters electrical engineering is known as electrical engineer.

What does an electrical engineer do?

Electrical engineers work on a wide range of components, devices and systems, from tiny microchips to huge power station generators. They design, develop, test and supervise the manufacturing of electrical equipment, such as electric motors, radar and navigation systems, communications systems and power generation equipments.
"Scientists dream about doing great things. Engineers do them."

James A Mechener

Today’s electrical engineers design electrical devices and systems using basic components such as conductors, coils, magnets, batteries, switches, resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes and transistors. Nearly all electrical and electronic devices, from the generators at an electric power plant to the microprocessors in your phone, use these few basic components. Critical skills needed in electrical engineering include an in-depth understanding of electrical and electronic theory, mathematics and materials. This knowledge allows engineers to design circuits to perform specific functions and meet requirements for safety, reliability and energy efficiency, and to predict how they will behave, before a hardware design is implemented. Sometimes, though, circuits are constructed on "breadboards," or prototype circuit boards made on computer numeric controlled (CNC) machines for testing before they are put into production.
Electrical engineers are increasingly relying on computer-aided design (CAD) systems to create schematics and lay out circuits. They also use computers to simulate how electrical devices and systems will function. Computer simulations can be used to model a national power grid or a microprocessor; therefore, proficiency with computers is essential for electrical engineers.
"Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems."

Scott Adams