The Deep Complexity in Electrical Engineering

Thriving in today’s world means philosophical sacrifices

3 min read
Opening illustration for Reflections department page.
Illustration: Chad Hagen

From time to time I have seen Internet videos of seemingly impossible gymnastic performances. Sometimes the links to these videos have been accompanied by a comment by the poster to the effect of “I could do this if I wanted, but I choose not to.” This brings a little smile to my face, but I’ve been thinking lately that I’ve been telling myself something similar when I see some of today’s technical literature.

The scope of electrical engineering has been growing continuously through the years, but so too has the depth of complexity and required knowledge across this ever-larger landscape. There are many more highly trained engineers worldwide now than there were a few decades ago, so new applicable knowledge accumulates at a faster pace, while it seems that older, irrelevant knowledge leaves the field more slowly. There is more to know, and it is more demanding and complex.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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