What do you think is the most difficult subdiscipline in Electrical Engineering?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Ryuk, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Ryuk

    Thread Starter New Member

    Oct 9, 2012
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    As the title asks, do you think it's RF? Electric machine design and other electromechanics? Nanoelectronics? Optics?

    I've been told RF is the most mathematically-intense, although that doesn't necessarily mean it's the hardest. I don't know how deep nanoelectonics goes into quantum mechanics, but I've read that nanocircuit designers have to have a decent knowledge of quantum effects.
     
  2. Papabravo

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    Feb 24, 2006
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    Power generation and transmission along with rotating machinery.
     
  3. Metalmann

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    Dec 8, 2012
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    I would guess it to be Patience, similar to Mechanical Engineering.;)
     
  4. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Maybe some aspects of control theory? Mathematicians who enjoy making things more complicated for others can really have an impact there.
    Otherwise, I guess, new electronic materials can also be quite complicated.
     
  5. bountyhunter

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2009
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    I always hated digital electronics because I have an analog brain.
     
  6. Papabravo

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    I'm your doppelgänger -- I have a digital brain! Really!
     
  7. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    My brain is wired to be digalog, which sounds great until you talk to a job placement office and they don't have that category.
     
  8. Metalmann

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    Dec 8, 2012
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    I'm beginning to feel the same way!:(
     
  9. tshuck

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    Oct 18, 2012
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    I feel that I will forever be in awe of microwave engineers; there is the black magic of EE!
     
  10. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    While I think most people can agree to many broad statements, I suspect that most of us have an exaggerated notion of how difficult fields are with which we have not become conversant. Also, it's going to be a pretty individualized conclusion, as some of the responses have already made clear.

    I remember a meeting with a new customer in which we had about four or five people from each company present. They started off talking about how they took certain cells from jellyfish cultures and modified them with receptors for various viruses such that if a cell of that virus attached to the cell it would emit a photon. We sat there amazed and said, "You mean you can really do something like that?", to which they said that what they were doing was actually pretty routine stuff and that they weren't doing anything particularly new, but what was new was that they wanted us to design a disposable chip that could simultaneously see about forty different cell cultures and provide a measurement of how much light was given off by each culture over the period of a few minutes. So we described how we would use a pixel with a photodiode detector and a very tiny integration capacitance such that we could distinguish individual photon events and periodically sweep through the array seeing how many of the pixels had been hit and resetting them while exporting the event to the external interface. They sat there amazed and said, "You mean you can really do that?", to which we responded that it was pretty routine and we weren't really pushing the boundaries on anything.

    Both sides were very aware of how what was routine in one field was black magic in the other -- and it's left me with the realization that there must be many, many potential advances that don't happen even though all of the pieces are just sitting there simply because no one sees all the pieces at the same time.
     
    tindel and Georacer like this.
  11. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    Once again it is proof that the broker's percentage is, if job done properly, well deserved.

    Interdisciplinary broker. My job in next life? :p
     
  12. Brownout

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    Jan 10, 2012
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    In 20 years of digital design, I've never not been pushing the boundary. There's always something new to deal with; new tools, new products, new methods... Everything I know gets replaced with something "better" every 24-36 months. I start projects with cutting edge tools, and end projects with nearly obsolete tools. Further, all new tools come with bugs.

    That's life on the bleeding edge.
     
  13. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    We pushed the boundaries hard on many of our chips. Our bread and butter were lunatic fringe designs that often had been turned away from the mainstream houses (or sometimes were FROM the mainstream houses that they had given up on). For a long time my mantra was that we weren't interested in doing a chip unless we had to violate the design rules. But those days are over because with deep-submicron processes we learned, the hard way, that you don't go violating the design rules otherwise your yield doesn't just go down, it disappears.
     
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