Electrical engineering is a protean profession. Today the field embraces many disciplines that seem far removed from its roots in the telegraph, telephone, electric lamps, motors, and generators. To a remarkable extent, this chronicle of change and growth at a single institution is a capsule history of the discipline and profession of electrical engineering as it developed worldwide. Even when MIT was not leading the way, the department was usually quick to adapt to changing needs, goals, curricula, and research programs. What has remained constant throughout is the dynamic interaction of teaching and research, flexibility of administration, the interconnections with industrial progress and national priorities.
The book's text and many photographs introduce readers to the renowned teachers and researchers who are still well known in engineering circles, among them: Vannevar Bush, Harold Hazen, Edward Bowles, Gordon Brown, Harold Edgerton, Ernst Guillemin, Arthur von Hippel, and Jay Forrester.
The book covers the department's major areas of activity—electrical power systems, servomechanisms, circuit theory, communications theory, radar and microwaves (developed first at the famed Radiation Laboratory during World War II), insulation and dielectrics, electronics, acoustics, and computation. This rich history of accomplishments shows moreover that years before "Computer Science" was added to the department's name such pioneering results in computation and control as Vannevar Bush's Differential Analyzer, early cybernetic devices and numerically controlled servomechanisms, the Whirlwind computer, and the evolution of time-sharing computation had already been achieved.
About the Authors
Karl Wildes has been associated with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science since the 1920s, and is now Professor Emeritus.
Nilo Lindgren, an electrical engineering graduate of MIT and professional scientific and technical journalist for many years, is at present affiliated with the Electric Power Resèarch Institute in Palo Alto, California.