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Design007-Nov2022

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20 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I NOVEMBER 2022 Feature Article by Happy Holden I-CONNECT007 I was first introduced to James Maxwell in 1967 as a college student. I had to decide whether I would take the Maxwell fields course or the switching and coding course. Being a chemical engineering major with a co-major in control theory, I had heard about the trials and tribulations of the infamous Maxwell fields course. Aer a lot of consideration, I decided to take the switching and coding course, since it was more related to computer theory, while the fields course was more related to RF, power generation/distribution, and commu- nications. In those days, our transistors, tubes and ICs were still pretty slow, except for radio, radar, etc. At that time, signal integrity in board layout was not an issue. I was using RTL, DTL and slow TTL logic on bread- boards of non-plated through-holes with tinned-copper wire and Tef- lon® spaghetti tubing (Figure 1). But aer talking with students who had managed to successfully pass the fields course, I was awed by the mathematical rigors they had endured. I was astounded when these very same students found thermodynamics so difficult. Max- well's eqations are not easy. Maxwell's Equations Born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1831, Maxwell packed a variety of discoveries into his 48 years of life. He made advances in astronomy, the kinetic theory of gases, and optics. Max- well was also something of a theologian, with deep knowledge of the Psalms. But Maxwell is best known for his work in electromagnetism and the set of four par- tial differential equations that bear his name. Maxwell's equations, also known as Maxwell- Heaviside equations, explain how electrical and magnetic fields are generated, as well as how they interact with each other. He is also credited with being the first to calculate the speed of propagations of electromagnectic waves—the speed of light. Albert Einstein was one of Maxwell's biggest fans. My Experience With Maxwell Figure 1: A non-plated through-hole breadboard for tinned wire with spaghetti tubing. If it works here, don't worry about Maxwell.

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