Waygood Interview: An Introduction to Electrical Science, 2nd Ed

Routledge is pleased to share with you our author Q&A session with Adrian Waygood, marking the release of his second edition publication; An Introduction to Electrical Science, Second Edition.

What inspired you to write this book?

I went to college in the ‘60s, at a time when textbooks were exceptionally-well written, from a technical point of view… but were as dry as dust! Third-person, past-tense… that sort of thing!I believed then, as I now know for certain, that if we want students to learn, then learning materials must be made interesting and enjoyable as well as being technically accurate. Students learn when they can see some direct benefit for themselves or, failing that, when a subject is made interesting enough to keep their attention. Well, we can’t always achieve the former, but there’s no excuse for not achieving the latter!

At the same time, I have tried to address students’ misconceptions about electricity and electrical science. Reading the various ‘Question and Answer’ websites on the worldwide web, shocked me regarding student’s misconceptions and, in my books, I have sought to counter these misconceptions.

How does this edition differ from your first?

Well, the main difference is that there are more chapters, enabling me to include more topics. Chapters that I would have liked to have included in the first edition but couldn’t do so because of the space available. To my surprise, my publishers appear to have enough confidence in my book to have allowed me the extra space the second time around.At the same time, I have taken the opportunity to expand and rewrite some of the chapters, which, upon reflection, needed some improvement.

How has your career in the armed forces influenced your career as an author?

Well, I held commissions in both the Royal Navy and in the Royal Navy of Oman. In the Royal Navy I was an ‘Instructor Officer’, a specialist branch that no longer exists. Its role was to provide a cadre of officers with specialist skills tasked with managing and providing technical and other training to its personnel, mainly at one or other of its various training establishments or at sea. For most of my time in the Royal Navy I taught electrical engineering to artificer apprentices and mechanicians (a term then used to describe RN technicians), and I also received formal training in instructional design methods. Probably the highlight of my RN career was as Education Officer in HMS Ark Royal, responsible to the ship’s company for their training and general education –such as that provided by the Open University. It was during this particular appointment that I started developing and writing learning materials as class hand outs, and I discovered I had a talent for doing so.

What are the biggest developments in the electrical science field?

Well, I guess the obvious one is the introduction of digital electronics, something that didn’t even exist when I was a student. And, of course, a whole new field of alternative-energy sources and battery development is coming along in preparation for the introduction of electric vehicles in the coming decades. But, of course, my books are primarily aimed at teaching fundamental electrical science to apprentices and technicians. And those fundamentals haven’t changed a great deal, and they remain an essential foundation for anyone intending to work in the electrotechnology field, whether they intend to pursue an electrical or an electronics specialty.

How has your book addressed these developments?

As I said, not a great deal has changed at the introductory level in electrical science. But there are some changes. For example, the way in which scientists are now able to count the movement of individual primary charges will result in changes to the way we measure current and define the ampere. A section has been added on the introduction of ‘smart meters’. The chapter on cells and batteries, which appeared in the first edition, has now been expanded to include fuel cells.

How does your new edition of An Introduction to Electrical Science, set itself apart from its competitors?

I have developed an informal writing style in which I imagine I am sitting opposite and speaking directly to one of my readers, and that we are learning together.For example, I make a lot of use of the words, ‘you’ and ‘we’. Wherever possible, I try and make the subject interesting by introducing any historical context and, where appropriate, I use humour –just as I would if I was standing in front of a live class. I have also spent a great deal of time on the worldwide web, visiting ‘Question-and-Answer’ sites, in which students pose questions which are then answered by other readers. These sites reveal an astonishing number of misconceptions people have about electricity, and I have tried to address and correct those.

Students are often fearful of alternating-current theory with its large number of equations. But, really, anyone who can use Pythagoras’s Theorem and basic trigonometry to solve right-angled triangles can derive all those equations without having to commit them to memory. This is how I try and approach topics I know ‘frighten’ students.

Who has influenced you the most in your career?

I can’t say that any one person in particular has influenced my career, which has been varied and has taken me all over the world.

But, as far as writing my books is concerned, I have had tremendous support and encouragement from two good friends and former colleagues, George Brain and Greg Collins. George and Greg, both outstanding lecturers, worked in the same department as me, when I was at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT), in Canada. During that period, I developed numerous hand outs covering practically all the topics I was tasked with teaching. George and Greg were both enthusiastic users of my hand outs and suggested I turn them into a book. Both have since been kind enough to write the forewords to my books. I would also like to mention another friend and former colleague, Anne Wafaa, who edited and helped put in order an otherwise chaotic bundle of teaching notes which formed the basis of what was eventually to become ‘An Introduction to Electrical Science’.

What first attracted you to electrical work?

I’ve always been interested in electricity. In fact, when I look back, I often wonder how I managed to survive my childhood without being electrocuted! It started with my electric train set, and I remember experimenting with its transformer, trying to figure out how it worked, while thinking nothing of leaving the cover off with it connected to the mains! And I remember trying to fix my parents’ broken-down old radiogram… again, with the power still connected! If this sounds dangerous, remember, at that time, boys’ comics contained articles on how to make fireworks! Yes, seriously!

What do you feel has been a career highlight?

In the mid-‘80s, I requested a sabbatical from my work, lecturing at NAIT, in order to take up a uniformed position as Head of Instructional Design for the Royal Navy of Oman, to be based at its Training Centre at a large newly-constructed naval base located an hour or so’s drive from the capital, Muscat.

For the first time in my career, I was given carte blanche to create and run a brand-new training organisation. During my two-year appointment in the role, my organisation performed job analyses of every specialty, from seaman to photographer, cook to engineer, at all levels, ratings, senior ratings and officer cadets, creating training specifications for each specialty, and we then embarked on completely redesigning and redeveloping their training courses. It was a major exercise and I had the full support at all levels of the command structure. It was an exhilarating experience and my efforts were rewarded with an Omani decoration!

When I look back at my career, my two years in the Sultanate of Oman, brings back the fondest memories, both professional and social. Within the first month of having arrived there (during a fortuitous national holiday) a colleague and I took a navy Land Rover, and we drove the entire length of Oman -right down to the Yemen border! The country is absolutely stunning, with beautiful beaches, deep fjords, rugged mountains, rolling green hills, majestic deserts, and rugged canyons. But, more than this, working with the Omanis was really rewarding: they must surely be amongst the most hospitable and welcoming people on the planet! It was impossible to drive into a village, no matter how remote, without receiving invitations to enter their homes and share their fresh dates and coffee with them.

Purchase a copy today

  • An Introduction to Electrical Science, 2nd ed

    2nd Edition

    By Adrian Waygood

    Heavily updated and expanded, this second edition of Adrian Waygood’s textbook provides an indispensable introduction to the science behind electrical engineering. While fully matched to the electrical science requirements of the 2330 levels 2 and 3 Certificates in Electrotechnical Technology…

    Paperback – 2018-10-05
    Routledge

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Adrian Waygood

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Exclusive! Until 5th September 2019 get 20% off Paperback - enter the code ENG19 at checkout*

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