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Thread: Electrical Engineering

  1. #1 Electrical Engineering 
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    Jan 2013
    Hi all! i'm thinking of becoming and electrical engineer, yay.. Anyway. I love building electronics and designing circuits. Except i've never been the greatest at coding (throughout HSC i will learn this more) I'm doing physics and advanced English but here's my problem. I'm only doing general maths. Courses at universities suggest mathematics extension 1. (This is Australia in case you were wondering) Am i still going to be able to complete this course without advanced maths? I did advanced maths in year 9+10 and coped well, it just won't fit with my units throughout HSC. If the answer here is no i'm going to do a TAFE Course instead. Thankyou

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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
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    May 2005
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    Any Electrical Engineer will need advanced maths in some form.

    "There's really a lot of math involved in electrical and electronic
    engineering. How much you do depends on what area of EE (shorthand for
    electrical and electronic engineer) you do. For example, there's a lot
    more abstract math in communication theory and signal processing, and
    many more very direct calculation differential equations in circuit
    theory and systems design.

    Let me begin with basic systems / circuit theory. Circuit theory at
    its simplest form is really differential equations, which is basically
    solving equations involving derivatives, so you need some calculus.
    And algebra and trigonometry are fundamental to understanding it.
    Every basic circuit element (resistor, capacitor, inductor) has a
    related current-voltage relation determined by its impedance. This is
    where complex numbers come in. For example:

    Resistor: V = IR (V = voltage, I = current, R = resistance)
    Capacitor: V = (jwC)I (C = capacitance, w = frequency, j =sqrt(-1))
    Inductor: V = I/(jwL) (L = inductance)

    So, even in the first area of EE, circuit theory, there's already
    calculus, complex numbers, and the Laplace transform (if you look
    carefully based on physical properties).

    If we move on to the theory of "how" electromagnetism works, we have
    Maxwell's equations. These pretty much form the basis for EE. They are
    written in both integral and derivative forms and involve vectors. So,
    suddenly, we also have vector calculus.

    Let's go on to networks. Networks involve nodes communicating with
    each other. A lot of computers linked together form a network. Cell
    phone users form a network. Networking involves the study of the best
    way of implementing a network. Much work has been done to find the
    best protocol, or method, for doing so. It involves a lot statistical/
    probability calculation. We really can't tell how people will use
    networks, so we need statistical models.

    If we move to Communication Theory/Information Theory, a mathematician
    named Claude Shannon developed a mathematical theory to explain
    various quantities related to how to communicate between devices.
    Communication Theory is used everywhere, from RADAR, to telephones, to
    devices within computers. The underlying theory requires at least
    calculus, some linear algebra, some measure theory, etc.

    If you look at modern EE, researchers have basically looted libraries
    looking for abstract mathematics done in the last few hundred years.
    Each abstract mathematical theorem somehow finds its use in EE. Even
    wavelets, which have revolutionized signal processing, were discovered
    by mathematicians early in the 20th century, but not used by engineers
    until 20 years ago.

    If I seem to be answering in general, it's because it is not possible
    to do EE without math. And depending on whether you do research or
    implementation, you use a different amount of math, either a lot of
    math at a very high level or some very basic calculus. A specific
    answer could potentially fill books.

    I hope this helps."

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  4. #3  
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    Jan 2013
    Yes i fully understand what you are saying, and i wasn't worried about wether i could do the maths, i was worried about ending up in a university course cold turkey and expected to know every equation and form of math. But now i've seen that there is an advanced math bridging course i can do before the engineering one. On top of that the course also has 2 sections of mathematics fundamentals on top of a physics section too. Thankyou for answer shedding some light on what electrical engineering is all about
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