Electrical and computer engineering participates in 2018 Physics and Engineering Festival

May 1, 2018
| By: Rachel Rose

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University was well-represented at the annual Physics and Engineering Festival, hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M on Saturday, April 7.

The event boasted over 200 interactive demonstrations and lectures, and over 5,000 visitors attended. Dr. Krishna Narayanan, the Eric D. Rubin ’06 Professor, and David Gent, a former student, represented the electrical and computer engineering department during the festival, and their presentations resonated with the community and drew interest in the field of electrical engineering and all the department is doing.

Narayanan’s presentation centered on the Voyager spacecraft, which launched in 1977. There were two space probes in the original launch – one devoted to studying Jupiter and Saturn and the other to study Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Voyager sent back pictures of Jupiter, Saturn and the moons of Jupiter then it continued on its way. Now, billions of kilometers away, we are still receiving signals from the spacecraft.

“The question is ‘how are we still getting signals from there?’,” Narayanan said. “You have to keep in mind that Voyager was launched in 1977. In 1977, there wasn’t a lot of technology. The cell phone today is a more powerful computer than the computer that is on the Voyager and we are still getting signals from there. We talked about how electrical engineering and communications technologies make this possible.”

GentGent showcased several demonstrations, including telegraphs, a replica Titanic transmitter, an orange powered digital clock, a Morse Code keyboard and more.

“The hit of the show was my Morse Code Keyboard,” Gent said. “I let visitors type in their name so I would decode their name by ear as they typed. Many people thought I was a mind reader or at least had a hidden camera watching them type.”

Both Narayanan and Gent said that there was no shortage of interest in their demonstrations and that parents and children alike were excited and engaged. The Physics and Engineering Festival provides a venue for the department to highlight and share the exciting work that is being done with the public.

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