The research functions of electrical and electronics engineering include basic research in physics and other sciences, applied research, design of devices, equipment, and systems for manufacture, field-testing, the establishment of quality control standards, supervision of manufacture and production testing, and engineering management.
Electrical engineering may be said to have emerged as a discipline in 1864 when the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell summarized the basic laws of electricity in mathematical form and showed that radiation of electromagnetic energy travels through space at the speed of light.
Electrical and electronics engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with practical applications of electricity in all its forms. Electronics engineering is the branch of electrical engineering which deals with the uses of the electromagnetic spectrum and the application of such electronic devices as integrated circuits and transistors.
electrical and electronics engineering, the branch of engineering concerned with the practical applications of electricity in all its forms, including those of the field of electronics. Electronics engineering is that branch of electrical engineering concerned with the uses of the electromagnetic spectrum and with the application of such electronic devices as integrated circuits and transistors.
In engineering practice, the distinction between electrical engineering and electronics is usually based on the comparative strength of the electric currents used. In this sense, electrical engineering is the branch dealing with “heavy current”—that is, electric light and power systems and apparatuses—whereas electronics engineering deals with such “light current” applications as telephone and radio communication, computers, radar, and automatic control systems.
The distinction between the fields has become less sharp with technical progress. For example, in the high-voltage transmission of electric power, large arrays of electronic devices are used to convert transmission-line current at power levels in the tens of megawatts. Moreover, in the regulation and control of interconnected power systems, electronic computers are used to compute requirements much more rapidly and accurately than is possible by manual methods.