Field of study
Electrical Engineering focuses on the theory and application of electrical energy and information. It is a broad and diverse field, with everything from solar cells to computer chips and medical implants. Electrical Engineering can be divided into sub disciplines, such as Energy Supply, Microelectronics, Telecommunications, Instrumentation and Signals and Systems.
Energy supply focuses on the generation, conversion and distribution of electrical energy. This discipline is the core of our electricity supply, while it simultaneously deals with the development of more efficient solar panels and quick chargers for electric cars. In addition, the discipline includes so-called ‘smart grids’, which smartly connect renewable energy sources to electricity consumers.
Instrumentation connects the physical world around us with a world of electrical signals. The discipline includes both the measurement of electrical and non-electrical signals and the design of sensors, such as a digital camera or touchscreen of a smartphone or connecting electronics to the human body. The use of electromagnetic waves for remote measuring of things as meteorological phenomena is also part of this discipline.
Microelectronics focuses on the analysis, design and manufacture of miniaturised electronic circuits: chips. Throughout the decades, this discipline has succeeded in doubling the number of transistors combined on a chip, every two years (the so-called Moore’s Law). Microelectronics is therefore the driving force behind computers, smartphones and new medical implant devices.
Signals and Systems focuses on the mathematical aspects of working with signals. A system is defined as a mathematical representation of the connections between various signals. Signals are part of nearly all applications in electrical engineering and in essence they use similar mathematical techniques. This is why signals and systems together form an independent discipline. You may end up working on transmitting voice signals or something completely different like the imaging of foetuses in the womb.
Telecommunications focuses on transmitting information with a cable, with fibre optics or wireless. This discipline is all about the underlying physics, such as the electromagnetic waves on which radio communication operates. But it also includes the signal processing operations that can transmit information. Without telecommunications there would be no television, mobile network or internet.
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