Happy National Math Day (and Pi Day Too)

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Ask any electrical engineer for their favorite mathematical formula and you’re likely to hear all about Ohm’s law. It’s an important calculation because Ohm’s Law is used to determine how much power will be lost when transmitting electricity over distance (a critical factor when lost power means lost income).

Described by Georg Ohm in 1827, Ohm’s law states that a steady current (I) flowing through an electrical conductor is directly proportional to the applied voltage (V) and inversely proportional to the resistance (R). The equation may appear as V=IR, I=VR, or as R=VI, depending on which variable you know and what you’re trying to find.

While Ohm’s law is important, there are many other pioneers whose work in energy and math are as important today as they were when they were first identified: Watt, Ampere, Kelvin, Tesla, Volta, Edison, and Marquez to name a few.

In the energy sector, engineers use trigonometric functions for three phase power (P=√3 V∟ I∟ p.f.). Fiber optic losses are calculated in decibels. Determining the slope of a curve helps predict the response time required to properly sequence commands in a control system. Even business systems use complex formulas for a wide range of accounting, business metrics, and forecast calculations.

As we celebrate national math day (and “Pi” day), join us in recognizing a few of the pioneers of math and electromagnetic theory whose names, and work, is as relevant today as it was when first defined:

  • Georg Ohm – German physicist Georg Ohm formulated the theory describing resistance. He published his electromagnetic theories, including all the components of Ohm’s law, in 1827.
  • Nikola Tesla – Born at midnight during an electrical storm, Tesla was awarded more than 100 patents. A genius and visionary, Tesla was credited with inventing alternating current (AC) electric power systems which allowed more efficient and safer power transmission over long distances than the direct current (DC) systems preferred by Thomas Edison,
  • Andre Ampere – Ampere was the first scientist to theoretically explain, and mathematically describe, the connection between electricity and magnetism.
  • Anders Celsius – Celsius was the creator of the temperature scale that bears his name. He was also the first person to make a connection between the radiant atmospheric phenomenon known as the aurora borealis and the Earth’s magnetic field.
  • Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) – Kelvin invented the international system of absolute temperature. He contributed to the fields of electricity, magnetism, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, geophysics, and telegraphy.
  • Alessandro Volta – Volta conducted theoretical and experimental work that resulted in his construction of the first battery.
  • Heinrich Hertz – Hertz discovered radio waves, confirming Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory and paving the way for numerous advances in communication technology.
  • James Joule – Joule developed the mechanical theory of heat and Joule’s law which quantitatively describes the rate at which heat energy is produced from electric energy by resistance in a circuit.
  • Thomas Edison – Originally an advocate of direct current (DC) transmission, Edison held a world record 1,093 patents related to electric light, power, alkaline batteries, telephony and telegraphy, motion pictures, sound recording, and electric automobiles. A tinkerer and inventor, Edison turned to experts like Francis Upton, Nikola Tesla and A.E. Kennelly for the mathematical and theoretical expertise that Edison lacked. Edison himself said that he didn’t understand Ohm’s law when experimenting with the incandescent lamp.
  • James Clerk Maxwell – His influential work in electromagnetism and light established the direction of physics in the 20th A prodigy from the start, Maxwell published his first paper at the age of 14. He went on to apply mathematical theories to define Saturn’s rings; developed the first color photograph in 1861; and predicted that waves of oscillating electric and magnetic fields travel at the speed of light.
  • James Watt – Watt made significant improvements to steam engines and defined the unit of horsepower as 33,000 pounds lifted one foot per minute. The watt, a unit of power used for both electricity and mechanics, was named after him.
  • Mario Marquez – Mr. Marquez was a mathematical genius who frequently filled whiteboards with calculations to solve complex metering challenges. He pioneered the mathematical expressions required for dynamic loss calculations and peer-to-peer metering. His work at Trimark supported equitable compensation for electric power resources. Mr. Marquez’ work ethic, good humor, and dedication to customer service established values that remain at the core of Trimark’s culture today.

About Trimark

Trimark Associates, Inc. (Trimark) delivers industry-leading solutions to allow real-time operational control, enable informed management of power production operations, and ensure regulatory compliance. Trimark’s turnkey products, engineering, and customer support services control, measure, and manage all aspects of power production that utility-scale power producers require to maintain peak business performance.

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