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DECEMBER 2021 I DESIGN007 MAGAZINE 41 Shaughnessy: Does a PCB designer need to have an artistic side to apply the science? Beeker: I think that one needs to have an abstract side, like Van Gogh or Delaunay— shapes that are defined by their function and connectivity result in the best performance. Shaughnessy: You've been spreading the word about the need for designers and EEs to focus more on fields than on the traces, as many designers were taught. Does this require a designer to have artistic and scientific abilities in order to apply this concept correctly? Beeker: I believe it goes to trust. It was hard for me to trust the shapes to manage the fields; plumbing connects the sources of energy to the places on the board where it will be used, with enough capacity to do the job. A one-gal- lon-a-minute hose cannot deliver five gallons a minute. You need a bigger hose or five hoses. e same is true for PCB design. Shaughnessy: Steve Jobs demanded that the inside of the device look as beautiful as the out- side. Are electronics designers and engineers "closet artists" looking for a chance to express themselves? Beeker: As a goal in itself, that is not always going to yield a good design. Symmetry is a common standard for beauty, and that is rarely present in a good design. Shaughnessy: Is there anything else you'd like to add? Beeker: It's all about the space, which still seems to be the final frontier. If you are not designing the spaces, with today's products, the cost is severe. Billions of dollars are spent every year by well-meaning design teams on redesigning PCBs, oen with very little hope that the new version will be any better than the first. Ralph Morrison said it best: "Buildings have walls and halls. People travel in the halls not the walls. Circuits have traces and spaces. Energy and signals travel in the spaces not the traces." DESIGN007

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