Brief History of Electrical Engineering

Published On: February 15, 2017By

The historical evolution of electrical engineering can be attributed, in part, to the work and discoveries of the people in the following list. You will find scientists, mathematicians, and physicists.

William Gilbert (1540–1603), English physician, founder of magnetic science, published De Magnete, a treatise on magnetism, in 1600.

Charles A. Coulomb (1736–1806), French engineer and physicist, published the laws of electrostatics in seven memoirs to the French Academy of Science between 1785 and 1791. His name is associated with the unit of charge.

James Watt (1736–1819), English inventor, developed the steam engine. His name is used to represent the unit of power.

Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), Italian physicist, discovered the electric pile. The unit of electric potential and the alternate name of this quantity (voltage) are named after him.

Hans Christian Oersted (1777–1851), Danish physicist, discovered the connection between electricity and magnetism in 1820. The unit of magnetic field strength is named after him.

Andre Marie Ampere (1775–1836), French mathematician, chemist, and physicist, experimentally quantified the relationship between electric current and the magnetic field. His works were summarized in a treatise published in 1827. The unit of electric current is named after him.

Georg Simon Ohm (1789–1854), German mathematician, investigated the relationship between voltage and current and quantified the phenomenon of resistance. His first results were published in 1827. His name is used to represent the unit of resistance.

Michael Faraday (1791–1867), English experimenter, demonstrated electromagnetic induction in 1831. His electrical transformer and electromagnetic generator marked the beginning of the age of electric power. His name is associated with the unit of capacitance.

Joseph Henry (1797–1878), American physicist, discovered self-induction around 1831, and his name has been designated to represent the unit of inductance. He had also recognized the essential structure of the telegraph, which was later perfected by Samuel F. B. Morse.

Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777–1855), German mathematician, and Wilhelm Eduard Weber (1804–1891), German physicist, published a treatise in 1833 describing the measurement of the earth’s magnetic field. The gauss is a unit of magnetic field strength, while the weber is a unit of magnetic flux.

James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879), Scottish physicist, discovered the electromagnetic theory of light and the laws of electrodynamics. The modern theory of electromagnetics is entirely founded upon Maxwell’s equations.

Ernst Werner Siemens (1816–1892) and Wilhelm Siemens (1823–1883), German inventors and engineers, contributed to the invention and development of electric machines, as well as to perfecting electrical science. The modern unit of conductance is named after them.

Heinrich Rudolph Hertz (1857–1894), German scientist and experimenter, discovered the nature of electromagnetic waves and published his findings in 1888. His name is associated with the unit of frequency.

Nikola Tesla (1856–1943), Croatian inventor, emigrated to the United States in 1884. He invented polyphase electric power systems and the induction motor and pioneered modern AC electric power systems. His name is used to represent the unit of magnetic flux density.

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