Can you imagine what it would be like today if there were no electricity? We would have no electric lights, no computers, and no cellphones. Our kitchens would not have refrigerators, stoves, or microwaves. Our daily lives and routines would be much different than what we are familiar with today. Although most of us take electricity and all of the devices powered by it for granted, electrical engineers think and work with these creations every day. To electrical engineers, electricity is an exciting and interesting subject. Maybe the rest of us should stop taking electricity for granted and learn a little more about electrical engineering and how electricity works.
What Is Electrical Engineering?
Take a minute and look around at your surroundings. What do you see that is plugged in? Do you see anything that is powered by batteries? Are there switches on the walls or on any toys? Everything powered by electricity exists thanks to the work of electrical engineers.
Electrical engineering is the specific name for the job where people make things with electricity. These engineers create, fix, invent, and work with all things electric. They spend years learning the science and math that make sense of electric power so that they can continue to create and improve things.
The Impact Electrical Engineering Has on Your Life
Every day, you use devices powered by electricity that make life easier and more fun. Some of these devices even keep you safe and healthy. For example, you may have an alarm system in your home that you simply enter a code in when you come and go. Although you don’t think much about it, you know that it keeps strangers out of your home and keeps you and your family safe. But it probably never occurred to you that at some point, an electrical engineer must have designed it. Or how about the phone that you use to talk to and text your friends every day: Where do you think it came from? Again, an engineer created it so that you could talk to anyone from anywhere.
Now, take a look outside. What do you see that is affected by electricity? Do you see wires, poles, or electrical boxes? Those items are all the sources of power to your homes, schools, and other buildings around your town. Without these sources, you would not have electric lights, heating, air conditioning, or appliances that let you cook.
Do you use a computer? Electrical engineers also invented both the wired and wireless networks that you use every day for social media and surfing the Web. Everyone has a favorite television show, and this, too, is a result of engineers who created televisions. Or maybe you prefer video games. All of those gaming consoles and controllers came from the minds of electrical engineers, too. As you can see, electrical engineering has a big impact on your life and all of the things you do every day.
What You Can Do to Become More Involved With Electrical Engineering
Whether or not you have ever considered a career in electrical engineering, it can be helpful for everyone to learn a few basics about it. Knowing where electricity comes from and how it is generated is important. Understanding what a circuit is and how to build one can change the way you think about electronics. Most of the devices you use every day run on electricity, so knowing a little about how it works is not only interesting but might help you if you need to fix something that breaks.
Building small electric toys or doing experiments are great ways to learn more about this type of engineering. Anyone looking to find out more about electrical engineering should try one or more of these exciting and fun projects:
- Static Electricity Experiment
- Bend Water With Static Electricity
- Roll a Can With Static Electricity
- What Fruits and Vegetables Conduct Electricity
- How to Make an Electromagnet
- Make a Magnetic Linear Accelerator
- Magnetic Fields Lesson
- Build a Power Pack
- Electric Circuits
- Build a Circuit
- Squishy Circuit Recipes: How to Make Electric Play Dough (PDF)
- Basic Circuits: How to Make a Dimmer Switch (Video)
- Using Inquiry and Modeling to Study Electrical Resistance (PDF)
- Cup Speaker: Make a Speaker That Turns Changing Electric Current Into Sound
- How to Make a Homemade Radio That Really Works
- Build a Power-Free Radio With a Glass Bottle
- Build a Simple Electric Motor
- Dance Pad Mania: Build Your Own Dance Pad
- How Electrolysis Works
- Hands-On Engineering Projects to Bolster Your Electricity, Sound, and Force Units (PDF)