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Electrical Engineering for Everyone

Consider how harnessing the power of the electron has fundamentally changed the world, as you get a thorough introduction to the world of electrical engineering.
Electrical Engineering for Everyone is rated 3.9 out of 5 by 51.
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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Simplistic Popular science level overview of engineering with a hint of "girl power".
Date published: 2024-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Electrical Engineering Lecture 10 Liked Lecture 10 because of the new insights I got from listening to the lecture. I have not listened to the whole lecture series yet.
Date published: 2024-01-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Look at the camera! How can The Great Courses spend thousands on developing a course and not make sure the instructor is looking at the camera that is recording her. It is SO distracting to have her looking off in the distance half the time she is "on camera." I am only two lessons in and am already considering sending it back. I started teaching video courses in 1999, and that's one of the first things I learned.
Date published: 2023-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nice Overview!!! This course took us from the history of electronics through its uses for the future. A brief tour on such a massive subject gave us a nice overall vision. Professor Bottomley had examples and touched on many applications throughout the lectures. We enjoyed it very much.
Date published: 2023-10-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A very good general overview Professor Bottomley's course on electrical engineering provided a very good general overview of the subject. She uses many demonstrations to illustrate her lectures. My only criticism is that some of her demonstrations were difficult to see. To cite just one example, she often used a digital volt-ohm meter to show electrical measurements, but the screen on the meter was too dark to see. She should have used an analog meter with a white face and a black needle for contrast. To cite another example, some of her LED demonstrations were difficult to see because the light on the LED was barely visible. Aside from this, it was a good survey course.
Date published: 2023-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course. I was very impressed with this course. Dr. Bottomley covered a wide array of topics in engineering. Her delivery was clear and polished. I would say several things. I am very proud and impressed with the U.S., that we have a government and culture that encourages and foments R&D of electronics. I am also thankful to the thousands of geeks, researchers, scientists, academicians, etc., who brought forth these amazing technologies. There is an invisible world out there, and we are living in it. This course gives an amazing overview of electrical engineering. It is not a "summer read". Be prepared to work your brain.
Date published: 2023-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! Much More Than I Expected Things started out a bit slow but picked up quickly, covering way more than I expected. She effectively used a large number of demonstrations to convey the material and concepts and shared great examples from her career. Also, she was very easy to understand and follow.
Date published: 2023-01-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Covers lots of electrical things not only engineer very easy to understand. non technical showing for technical we take for granted
Date published: 2023-01-16
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To many of us, electricity can still seem like the “magic” our ancestors imagined it to be when they saw it in the natural world. But the science of electricity is considerably more amazing than magic, as you’ll see in the 24 fascinating lectures of Electrical Engineering for Everyone. With dozens of live demonstrations, along with explanatory graphics and video, Dr. Laura J. Bottomley brings you on the amazing journey of electrical engineering—the discipline that has taken us from the electric lightbulb to interstellar space to artificial intelligence in less than 150 years.


Laura J. Bottomley

Electricity is almost like magic. Poof, lights on. But unlike magic, once you understand how it works, electricity is even more fascinating when you encounter it in your daily life.


NC State University

Laura J. Bottomley is the director of Women in Engineering, Engineering Education, and The Engineering Place at NC State University, where she earned her PhD in Electrical Engineering. She has worked at Texas Instruments and Bell Laboratories and has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Mentoring. She was named a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and was elected to the YWCA Academy of Women. She is the author of Creating a Better World: Innovation, Ingenuity, and Engineering.

By This Professor

Electrical Engineering for Everyone
Electrical Engineering for Everyone


Four Miracles of Electrical Engineering

01: Four Miracles of Electrical Engineering

Discover the four revolutions in electrical engineering that have brought major opportunities and benefits to masses of people in just the past 150 years. Learn, specifically, what each of the four periods brought and the basic properties of the electron and electric circuits on which our entire electrified world is based.

33 min
Static Electricity and DC versus AC

02: Static Electricity and DC versus AC

From the moment your phone alarm wakes you in the morning until you turn off the lights at night, almost everything you do—cooking, working, driving, checking the news—is possible because of one simple fact: electrons carry energy. Consider the two ways electrons use their energy-carrying ability to create electricity.

33 min
Making Electricity: Power Generation

03: Making Electricity: Power Generation

How do we create the massive amounts of energy needed to power our cities and individual homes? We don’t. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only converted from one form to another. Learn how electrical engineers use Maxwell’s foundational equations—via four revealing demonstrations—to create generators to power our grids.

26 min
Current on the Move: The Electric Grid

04: Current on the Move: The Electric Grid

No matter what source is used to generate electricity, that power must be distributed and managed to provide continuous and reliable energy for the end user. Explore the US power grid—much of which has been in place for more than 50 years—and discover the significant benefits a “smart grid” would bring.

32 min
First Connections: The Telephone Network

05: First Connections: The Telephone Network

In the 1870s, Alexander Graham Bell was trying to improve the telegraph when he and his assistant discovered that speech itself could be transmitted over telegraph wires. Explore the subsequent engineering developments that brought the telephone to almost all households, including Bell’s invention of twisted-pair cabling to reduce crosstalk, still in use today.

29 min
The Digital Revolution in Telecommunications

06: The Digital Revolution in Telecommunications

In the old-style analog telephone system, voltage increased and decreased across the wires, corresponding to the human voice signal. But in a digital system, that all changes. Learn how the human voice is changed into binary values, sent over the system, and then converted back into volts with the voltage applied to the speaker in the phone handset. The human ear takes it from there.

30 min
Radio and Television Transmission

07: Radio and Television Transmission

In the 1880s, Heinrich Hertz proved that the high-frequency phenomena of light and heat are also electromagnetic waves and Nikola Tesla invented the “Tesla coil” which served as the basis for the radio oscillator. Just a few years later, radio signals were being sent and received across the Atlantic Ocean. Examine the additional, fascinating developments that led to the television monitor and then the emergence of digital TV.

32 min
Space Communications and Satellites

08: Space Communications and Satellites

When the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I in 1957, the space race was on. A US satellite was launched 14 months later and it demonstrated the feasibility of two-way satellite communications. Since then, electronic communications have become part of our daily lives—from weather predictions to digital maps to texting. Follow the fascinating story that has led to the need for us to track almost 10,000 active satellites.

32 min
Communication Goes Mobile: Cell Phones

09: Communication Goes Mobile: Cell Phones

Since 2006, the number of landlines has decreased, while the quantity of mobile phones and other communication devices now outnumber the entire human population. Explore how engineers have created the cellular systems required to manage large numbers of calls at once, even as the user moves from place to place.

31 min
Electric Circuit Design

10: Electric Circuit Design

When people first realized that electricity could be controlled, it was the beginning of an explosion of opportunity, eventually leading to electronic circuits—circuits that can control other circuits. Learn why just two laws, Ohm’s law and the conservation of energy, provide all the information and relationships needed to design circuits, as you also explore the properties of semiconductors, diodes, and various color LEDs.

32 min
Transistors and Batteries

11: Transistors and Batteries

The development of the transistor was motivated by the need for a device that could amplify signals. How batteries could convert chemical energy to electrical energy was also developed. Learn how the emergence of these two technologies have allowed us to move from electric circuits to electronic circuits, in which one circuit controls another. What does the future hold when we now have transistors as small as atoms?

35 min
How Electronics Use Digital Logic

12: How Electronics Use Digital Logic

With the advent of logic gates that could be assembled to perform mathematical or logical calculations, engineers could build up from very simple transistors and diodes to a powerful graphic calculator or complex system of facial recognition. Learn about why the numerical basis for logic gates is binary, and how they can be combined to form logic gate circuits.

26 min
Computer Processors and Memory

13: Computer Processors and Memory

Explore the very earliest electronic computers, including Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine. Although Babbage was not able to completely build it out before his death, his “engine” was based on the same four components that define computers today—input device, some type of memory to store data and temporary calculations, a calculating processor, and an output device.

28 min
Computer Networks: Ethernet to Internet

14: Computer Networks: Ethernet to Internet

In the original telephone system, connections were made end to end through switches, and the connection stayed in place until that one conversation was complete. But when email was developed in the 1970s and ‘80s, people weren’t satisfied sending just one type of signal. Explore the development of the ethernet and internet and learn about the protocols that now allow us to send such a wide variety of information types.

32 min
Photonics: Fiber Optics to Optical Storage

15: Photonics: Fiber Optics to Optical Storage

Discover the many benefits of fiber optics, and the broader field known as photonics, and learn why the field and its applications have exploded since the first lasers were developed in the 1960s. Although we cannot yet transmit power over optical fiber, the technology has brought great advantages in communications security and speed, materials longevity, and cost savings.

32 min
Many Kinds of Sensors All around Us

16: Many Kinds of Sensors All around Us

Electronic sensors—instruments that detect some type of physical quantity—have been around for more than 130 years, ever since the invention of the electric thermostat. Explore today’s proliferation of sensors all around us and discover their basic similarities as they convert signals into electrical quantities that can be used to take action.

27 min
Electronics Scavenger Hunt

17: Electronics Scavenger Hunt

Explore the electronics in a typical home through this lecture’s virtual scavenger hunt. Watch while Dr. Bottomley takes apart a hair dryer, a CD player, a computer CPU, and other machines. You’ll learn about the many electronic components you’ll find inside—resistors, capacitors, inductors, transistors, integrated circuits, electro-mechanical switches, and more.

33 min
Electronics of Sound and Music

18: Electronics of Sound and Music

While sound is not part of the electromagnetic spectrum, it can be manipulated, generated, and shaped by electric circuits. Explore what the signalscope output can tell you about the makeup of various sounds, from a single tone to the human voice to piano chords, and how these can be manipulated by circuits to synthesize entirely new sounds.

31 min
Electronics in Medicine and Safety

19: Electronics in Medicine and Safety

The entire communication system between our brain and each of our senses is electrochemical, with each of our senses acting as a sensor that emits electrochemical outputs. Learn how this aspect of the body opens the door to electrical engineering solutions for medical problems—from cochlear implants to heart pacemakers to defibrillators. Applying electricity to the human body carries risks, and safety must always come first.

33 min
Control Systems: Smart Cars and Smart Grids

20: Control Systems: Smart Cars and Smart Grids

Explore cybernetics, systems that use information and feedback to control an output that has some type of goal, with feedback present. Discover the various parts of several cybernetic systems: your car’s cruise control, an implantable insulin delivery pump, and a vending machine—three completely different control systems that all function with the same principles of cybernetics.

32 min
Informatics: Signal Processing to AI

21: Informatics: Signal Processing to AI

When we drive a car, we process signals from all aspects of our environment—visual signals large and miniscule, sound, touch, and even smell. Learn what components we would need to create a reliable and safe system of self-driving cars—with signal processing as the basis—and why the system would be almost impossible to create and maintain without the benefit of artificial intelligence.

34 min
Networks of Things: RFID, Bluetooth, and IoT

22: Networks of Things: RFID, Bluetooth, and IoT

With the technological development of sensors, feedback control, Bluetooth, and machine learning, we can now network not just computers, but “things” as well. Discover the enormous advantages this “Internet of Things” can provide—from health care to transportation to manufacturing—if we can adequately address the significant concerns regarding privacy and security.

34 min
Electrical Engineering in the Everyday World

23: Electrical Engineering in the Everyday World

Dr. Bottomley takes you on a virtual vacation to Rwanda to highlight myriad examples of electrical engineering all around the world. From your garage door opener to airport security, the technologies developed by electrical engineers are all around you before you even board the plane. But it’s the electronics you’ll find in an isolated game park that might really surprise you.

33 min
The Evolution of Electrical Technology

24: The Evolution of Electrical Technology

What does the future of electrical engineering look like? Explore why answering that question depends on technological advances and … everything else in the physical and cultural environment. Using the now-defunct Picture Phone and Betamax as examples, learn how economics, politics, marketing, culture, and more affect which technologies are brought to market, and which will succeed.

37 min