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Microwave Devices

  1. Apr 9, 2007 #1
    I'm taking a microwave devices course this semester, basically it's about wave guides, cavity resonators and such, the problem I'm facing is that I spend a lot of time trying to understand each and every little bit of detail in the course which of-course requires an extensive use of E&M, so I end up losing my self and my time studying stuff that are not necessary for the course, so my question is when I'm studying upper Engineering courses which focus on application rather than theory should I understand every and I mean every little physical concept behind the device or should I just focus on the device and how it works and how to use it with intermediate physical understanding of how it works.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 9, 2007 #2


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    That's a hard question. There will be times later on in your work where your understanding of fundamental concepts (that go beyond the straightforward coursework) will help you with something. But generally in those instances, you will be able to do a little extra reading and studying to help you with those later problems. If you are doing a lot of extra work now in your school studies, and it is bringing down your test/homework/lab grades some, I'd say that it might be too much extra work for right now.

    I think that the best guide in your situation (upper division, getting some really useful, practical EE knowledge that you can use daily in your EE work), is to use the labs and maybe some extra projects to guide how much extra you learn. I've said before many times here on the PF that doing labs and research and projects and extra projects outside of school really helps you to see what is important in real-world work, and to learn to "ask the right questions" of your instructors and of yourself. So I'd say that it's fine for you to spend a little extra time learning about something unusual that you saw in a lab, or learning how and why the inside of an RF spectrum analyzer is put together, or when you use a horn versus a parabolic dish, or how you weatherproof different types of antennas, or what the approaches are for dealing with multipath, or what the bounds of CDMA are, etc.

    I've definitely spent a lot of time studying theoretical things, but I've also found over the years in industry that real devices are what matter, at least to EEs. So basing your learning on real devices and your work with them, is usually a good barometer of how deeply and how broadly you should approach your overall studies in a particular area.

    I hope that makes sense. There's a lab with this course, no? Can you get the lab guide early and read ahead? That will help you to guage what extra materials you may want to study ahead of time.
  4. Apr 9, 2007 #3
    I think yea, better understanding means better engineer. Microwave field has pretty much matured now, but the millimeter waves (>30 GHz) have not and it's a hot topic right now as more companies invade that frequency range. Waveguides up to 325 GHz are used so some pretty serious modeling is required.
  5. Apr 10, 2007 #4
    i am gonna attempt a university in usa ... i am from lebanon...so plz can i know a little defenition about upper engineering and lower one .. thanks..i am reading the booklet of the university and i am not getting the stuff... by the way it is university of michigan ...
  6. Apr 10, 2007 #5
    Thank you all for your replies I think I'm gonna go with berkemen he makes more sense to me.

    moe_3_moe, I wish you good-luck with Michigan, if what I hear is correct it has one of the top engineering programs in the US.

    Lower engineering courses are the one's that are taught to you when you first enter into Engineering, they'll normally be single variable calculus, Newton physics, programming..etc, upper division courses are the courses that dive into the subject an example would be VLSI, DSP, Microwave devices, Operating system programming..etc.
  7. Apr 10, 2007 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    And just to add a bit to abdo375's answer to moe, the first two years of your undergraduate degree are usually your lower division classes, and the last two years of your degree are the upper division classes. The dividing line can blur a bit of course.
  8. Apr 10, 2007 #7
    thanks... i already finished my two years in lebanon but i will redo it in university of michigan because we use the SI of units here and more it will be a new beginning ...thanks for the answers
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