Analog Engineers - Look at Middlebrook

• Joseph M. Zias
Joseph M. Zias
Some of the great Analog Engineers and Teachers have passed; Bob Pease, Jim Williams, R. David Middlebrook.
I would like to inform/remind engineers and students interested in Analog Design of Dr. R.David Middlebrooks work. He was a prolific author and many of his papers are available through Veneable Instruments. In particular consider watching his 20 hour video on Technical Therapy for Analog Designers.

https://www.venableinstruments.com/venable-vault/tag/dr-r-d-middlebrook

Personally, I am recreating his loop gain measurements on a uc709 feedback amplifier - Fun!

DaveE
Joseph M. Zias said:
In particular consider watching his 20 hour video on Technical Therapy for Analog Designers.
I haven't watched the videos yet. Can you say what the title means by "Technical Therapy"? I'm assuming it has some special meaning?

berkeman said:
I haven't watched the videos yet. Can you say what the title means by "Technical Therapy"? I'm assuming it has some special meaning?
The short version is that EE is taught backwards in virtually all institutions. They give you a circuit and you thoroughly analyze it using precisely correct tools. Like a complete set of KCL, KVL, etc. Circuits are often very simple or nearly useless. Things like geometric arrangements of resistors, for example. Answers are often a gibberish of correct but unwieldly equations, as Dr. Middlebrook would say (taking points off of your HW) "unilluminating form". He was strong proponent of the factored pole-zero form of polynomial expressions common in Laplace based transfer functions, for example.

This is NOTHING LIKE what real EEs have to do for most of their careers. We have the opposite problem; given a set of requirements, design a circuit. This requires more insight into what really matters in the circuit, what effects what, why, etc. When analysis is needed he would ask you to identify and focus on "the salient points". Use approximation as part of the analytical process instead of precise solutions. He would teach a more incremental approach, use simple models and then evaluate if the errors left behind are significant.

He developed some unique and powerful analog analysis techniques, like his extra element theorem, which allow you to reduce or increase complexity without starting over from scratch. He also taught a nice exposition of approximating factors of large polynomials.

He was also an outstandingly good lecturer, winning several undergraduate teaching awards. His videos and papers are intended to be easy and useful, unlike some academics. He spoke to engineers, not university deans.

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Here is a very short paper answering some of this in his own words:
https://authors.library.caltech.edu/records/vdh0v-tk561

You can also see his style here in my old post about his re-teaching the quadratic equation to undergrads.

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BTW, one of my favorite quotes, which he said often to students:
"Engineering is the art of approximation" - R. D. Middlebrook

Dave,
A very good reply. I attended one of Middlebrook/Cuk seminars in 1984 and bought his DVD years later from his group Ardem.