Bridging the Gap Between Theory and Experiment: Engineering Physics in Academia, Industry and in the Classroom

Dr. Alex Patterson
Fri, December 10, 2021 at 11:00 AM

Engineering physics is often overlooked as a viable path of study because it is unclear to students how such a broad and theoretical skillset can be readily applied to solving practical problems in engineering. However, an education in the fundamentals that underpin the traditional engineering disciplines provides students with an intuitive understanding of the physical concepts underlying engineering problems and equips them with a set of problem-solving and analysis tools that are adaptable across a wide variety of technical fields. In this seminar, I will discuss my research experiences in academia and industry as an electrical engineer and applied physicist working on the modeling and simulation of nanoelectronic and photonic devices. Additionally, I will discuss how my educational and research backgrounds have informed my teaching philosophy and in-class teaching strategies, as well as what students can expect to gain from taking courses in engineering physics.

Alex Patterson is an electrical engineer/applied physicist whose research interests focus on the bridging the gap between theory and experiment via developing models of nanoelectronic and photonic devices and using them as tools to better understand device behavior. From 2018 to 2021, he worked at Osram Opto Semiconductors in Regensburg, Germany, where he implemented advanced methodologies for electrical, thermo-electrical, and optical modeling of LEDs and developed simulation tools. Prior to working in industry, he completed his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at MIT, where he developed
applied theory and models for describing field electron emission at the nanoscale. His primary goals are to empower students through providing them with the tools they need to solve engineering problems and to create those tools where they are needed. He is a recipient of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.