Engineering Colloquium: How a Scottish Academic in 1873 Set the Stage for Today's Global Communications

Mar 2, 2023 , 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Department of Engineering
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Mr. Rob Rowlands
Volunteer Faculty
Engineering Department, SSU

Abstract: Hard as it is to believe today, the connection between electricity and magnetism was not made until early in the 19th Century. James Clerk Maxwell brought together field theories from Gauss, Ampere and Faraday into a unified set of equations. At the publication of his “Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism” 1873, radio had not yet been demonstrated and the electromagnetic properties of light were not understood. Today these equations are the basis of our modern world allowing us to carry powerful communications tools in our pocket or place a telescope in space a million miles away. The talk is a review of some of the miracles that followed from the math, though understanding the vector math is not required (119 words).

Bio: Rob received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in electrical engineering from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1971. He was a Transmission Engineer in the NZ Post Office for 22 years, followed by 21 years with HP and Agilent in the SF Bay Area in Business Development and sales of communications test equipment. Since 2017 he has been a volunteer lecturer teaching a popular RF Test Laboratory class at Sonoma State University. He is semi-retired but still selling test equipment for Gap Wireless. Rob is a life member of IEEE


Each spring and fall, the Engineering Department at SSU presents a series of colloquia on a wide range of engineering topics and trend of technologies. The talks are generally very high-level and designed for the general audience. The Engineering Colloquium was established in Fall 2006 and was initially sponsored by former Agilent Technologies (now Keysight Technologies) and local industries.

Days & Dates: First and Third Thursday of every month
Zoom ID:
Lecture: 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. including Q &A

For more information, please contact the ES Department at (707) 664-2030 or sends e-mail).

A portrait of Mr. Rob Rowlands in a lab
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March 2, 2023
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