Women in Microwaves

Update June 2024: WIM always seems to have the best reception at the International Microwave Symposium (IMS), and 2024 was no exception. This year's event was held in the National Spy Museum, where you can learn all about US espionage, starting in the Revolutionary War.

There was a fun demonstration of a "singing" Tesla coil, up on the roof of the seventh floor.  Also known as "Zeusaphone" (Zeus was the Greek god of lightning, or "Thoramin" (Thor was the Norse god of thunder), the idea was first demonstrated at SXSW in 2007.   The equipment was developed by Professor David Ricketts (NC State) and his students. We will try to explain how it works, hopefully someone that knows more about it will correct any misrepresentations!  A Tesla coil produces tens of thousands of volts, which can produce an arc across a centimeter or so, accompanied by a "motorboat" sound.  Breakdown can span larger distances when the conductors are sharpened to a point.  Ordinarily the voltage is a train of pulses, at 1 MHz or thereabouts.  By using a digital controller, the pulse train can be further pulse-width modulated to put audio on top of the "carrier". For example, by grouping pulses on and off at a period of 1 millisecond, an audio tone of 1kHz is generated, which corresponds to B5 on a piano, two octaves above middle C. Further modulation can be applied to generate musical chords, and by changing the 1 MHz pulse duty factor the audio volume can be tweaked.

Many thanks to Professor Ricketts and his students for putting on this awesome demonstration!

It is the policy of Microwaves101.com to be inclusive and supportive to all people in microwave engineering, this includes men and women of all races and sexual orientations. There is a world-wide shortage of engineers; everyone who cares about this field should know better than to discriminate against any group of people. In the subject at hand, we are talking about a group that makes up half of the planet's population, is historically under-represented in engineering, and in the future could supply a lot more engineers with just a little encouragement. To women engineers, the Unknown Editor offers the following advice: speak up more when you have ideas, even if you have to tell some of your louder (and often less qualified) male engineering colleagues to just shut up and listen for once. Then ask around to find out what male engineers make in your department, and demand equal pay.

March 8 is International Women's Day. Be sure to read about the history of this celebration, dating to 1909, with (gasp!) socialist ties, and read about it in the news.

Also in the news, Custom MMIC, in partnership with the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, just announced the first recipients of their “Women In Engineering” scholarship.  Congratulations to the three winners and kudos to Paul and Kate Blount for what looks like a great program!

Custom MMIC's President and CEO, Paul Blount and his wife, Kate Blount, present “Women in Engineering” scholarships to Sarah McKinley, Emma Fournier, and Grace Remillard (center, left to right). 

What is WIM? 

Women in Microwaves (WIM) is the subset of the IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) group focused on women working in the field of microwave engineering and typically active within the MTT society. Visit the Women in Microwaves website to stay up to date on activities at the upcoming International Microwave Symposium and elsewhere.

Women in Engineering (WIE) Mission (copied straight from their website!)

Our goal is to facilitate the recruitment and retention of women in technical disciplines globally. We envision a vibrant community of IEEE women and men collectively using their diverse talents to innovate for the benefit of humanity.

Here's an article from High Frequency Electronics with WIM's own Sherry Hess talking about her plans for encouraging more women to enter the field of engineering. And check out Sherry's Women in Engineering blog, she's always got something interesting going on. And we have a cool video from IEEE.tv where Professor Rashaunda Henderson talks about her work.

At this point, you may be wondering "what a great project - how can *I* help?" Well, you can check out the WIM website, and you can attend any of their events. By the way, we here at Microwaves101 have been enjoying the WIM receptions at IMS since 2013. In fact, we had so much fun at the reception at IMS2018 that we forgot to take pictures! Anyone got a couple of good shots you can donate to this page? Send 'em in! Or you can contact any of their officers directly.  Here's a handy list!

Professor “Cherry” Wenquan Che, Nanjing University of Science and Technology  yeeren_che@163.com

Sherry Hess, VP of Marketing at NI/AWR sherry.hess@ni.com

Professor Rashaunda Henderson, University of Texas - Dallas rmh072000@utdallas.edu

Author : Brenda