[time-nuts] modern electronics education/jobs (was:

Tim Shoppa tshoppa at gmail.com
Sat Nov 14 19:17:12 EST 2015

When I got to a fancy school where they build satellites, I thought for
sure my soldering iron skills would be useful for doing all the fancy stuff.

But no! The satellites were built by a team of highly skilled ladies who
looked completely down on the amateurish skills of us wannabes. And I
include in the wannabes, the professor who had a Nobel prize!

My skills putting together circuits from handbooks for real experiments
were put to good use. Knowing how to use a scope and to not put the ammeter
in parallel with the power supply, was very useful. But no way was I as
good as the ladies who actually built the satellites.

Tim N3QE

On Saturday, November 14, 2015, Ray Xu <rayxu123 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi guys,
> Your mostly-lurking EE (and, recently, also physics) undergraduate student
> here.
> You guys make me feel nostalgic for my young age of
> almost-legal-to-drink-in-the-US!
> I wish I can reply to all of you one by one but I'd rather not clog the
> mailing list with more off-topic discussion.  (Feel free to email me
> off-list)
> I just have to say I have a deep appreciation for the previous generation
> of electronics and technology and engineers (you guys).  I personally feel
> like I've been born into the wrong generation, or at least "conflicted"
> between the two generations of electronics.  I still enjoy hands-on
> DIY-building, soldering, dead-bug style prototyping, and etc at home but it
> definitely is starting to become obsolete and antiquated.  On the other
> hand, I also enjoy working in research labs with the cutting-edge.  In the
> former, time slows down and its just a matter of mostly applying
> knowledge.  In the latter, time passes by quickly and its all about
> intellectual growth.
> When I was younger, I frequently interacted with engineers that used to be
> involved in the defense industry during the Cold War/Viet/Korean War era.
> They are now mostly retired.  They were my main source of knowledge, and as
> a consequence, I grew up learning analog electronics by actual
> breadboarding, hand-soldering, playing with oscilloscopes, and reading The
> Art Of Electronics during my free time.  It wasn't until relatively
> recently I started using LTSpice.  I have never touched an Arduino or
> Raspberry Pi and I probably never want to*; I learned microcontrollers on
> my own using the PIC platform and in a few of my courses on the ARM and
> "LC3" platform.  Perhaps the biggest contributor towards my passion and
> desire to learn about electronics is my family.  My father bought me a
> brand new Tek oscilloscope during ~7th grade and made it clear to me that
> he will spend money for my hobby if it meant I will have the opportunity to
> learn.  (This was significant, because from where I grew up, the Asian
> parents were stereotypically notorious for being frugal and only cared what
> their son's/daughter's GPA and test scores were)
> In the research (the "cutting-edge") world, I actually find my past and DIY
> experience useful in gaining an intuitive understanding of a problem or
> design challenge at hand.
> In the classroom, I heavily agree that most of my peers need more hands-on
> experience.  Seriously, some people still can't explain why knowing the
> power dissipation of a resistor is important.  Or how much current is
> flowing through a pull-low or pull-high bias resistor.  Or what happens
> when you have a simple RC circuit (without having to write a transfer
> function).  It's kind of disturbing.  Maybe after I've obtained my PhD, I'd
> like to propose serious changes to the undergraduate EE curriculum of my
> university.
> Keep it up guys.  If any of you are in the Austin, TX or Dallas, TX area, I
> am willing to meet up in person.
> On Thu, Nov 12, 2015 at 8:14 PM, Richard (Rick) Karlquist <
> richard at karlquist.com <javascript:;>> wrote:
> >
> >
> > On 11/12/2015 1:01 PM, William Schrempp wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> has failed. I hear old machinists complaining about new machinists who
> >> can't
> >> drill a hole if the drill-press isn't computer-controlled. And in my
> work,
> >> nurse education, I see students who can't be bothered to learn how to
> >> take a
> >> manual blood-pressure, because a machine can now do it (sort of). Much
> to
> >> ponder here. . . .
> >>
> >
> > Bill Schrempp
> >>
> >>
> > This reminds me of a summer job I had as a lab assistant between my
> > freshman and sophomore years at college.  There were a couple of
> > journeyman machinists with Bridgeport mills.  They didn't let me
> > use them, but they did patiently teach me how to use the drill
> > press, taps, hacksaw, etc to make simple parts that didn't require
> > their skills.  They told me that, in Germany, a kid training to be
> > a machinist would start out by being given a file, a pair of calipers,
> > and a rough block of metal.  His task was to make a perfect cube with
> > sides of exactly 1 cm by 1 cm.  Only after mastering that, would
> > he be allowed to move onto more advanced equipment.  Fortunately, the
> > machinists just told me this story to scare me, but they didn't make me
> > file a perfect cube.  They did tell me I needed to learn to drill holes
> > with 0.005 inch accuracy using a machinist's scale and a center
> > punch to lay them out.
> >
> > Rick
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
> --
> --
> __________
> Ray Xu
> http://www.utdallas.edu/~rxx110130
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