We sat down with Dr John Bissell, a lecturer who teaches maths for engineering here at York, to chat about what he likes about the subject and why electronic engineering is relevant to everyday life.
What do you love about teaching Electronic Engineering?
In its truest form, university life is about participating in a culture of learning and scholarship in which we explore and develop ideas that are worth knowing. Belief in this principal varies, but teaching is a context in which it is still (for now) more-or-less intact. For me, time spent with students is a shared opportunity to deepen understanding, and to engage in the serious and playful process of discovery. What could be better?
Why do you think it's important to study Electronic Engineering?
Engineering is essential rather than important. There are at least two reasons for this. First, engineering of technology is a necessary requirement for human life. Second, engineering of technology is a necessary consequence of human life.
How does the subject relate to the world we live in?
From a practical perspective, pretty much every activity that human beings engage in requires technology of one form or another, and that technology must be designed, fabricated, operated, and maintained (that is, engineered).
From a political perspective, irresponsible and inappropriate use of engineering and technology lies at the heart of all our most serious societal, ecological, and environmental problems.
From a philosophical perspective, engineering sits at the interface between how we understand the workings of the natural world, and how we integrate those workings into the fabric of our daily lives.
What modules do you teach? Tell us a bit about them!
I mainly teach engineering mathematics. In practical terms, mathematics is the most important tool an engineer has for articulating engineering problems, and for formulating solutions to those problems. On a much deeper level, mathematics offers unparalleled insights into the profound beauty, majesty, and mystery of the creation.
If you could take another module in the department that's not one of your own, what would it be?
Our department is currently expanding to cover a range of new modules, and I’d probably opt for one of those, say thermodynamics, or fluid mechanics (or maybe even thermofluids...).
What is your favourite thing about Electronic Engineering in general?
You can’t beat a driven LCR-circuit. It’s a real classic.
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