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Women: Pioneers of Electrical/Electronic Engineering - Edith Clarke (1883 – 1959)

Edith Clarke was the first woman to be professionally employed as an electrical engineer in the United States, and also the first female professor of electrical engineering. She was the first woman to deliver a paper at the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, the first female engineer whose professional standing was recognized by Tau Beta Pi (the oldest engineering honour society and the second oldest collegiate honour society in the United States), and the first woman named as a Fellow of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers.



Edith Clarkespecialized in electrical power system analysis and wrote the book Circuit Analysis of A- C Power Systems.



Clarke began her career as a “computer” -- literally a human calculator, in support of the engineers working to build the first transcontinental phone line. Duly, Edith Clarke became a pioneer in electrical engineering who used mathematics to improve understanding of electrical power transmission.


Clarke’s most famous contribution was the “Clarke Calculator” in 1921, a graphical device that simplified equations used by electrical engineers to calculate parameters associated with electrical power transmission and power lines. The Clarke Calculator was patented in 1925.



Clarke also helped in the design of the electrical systems of the Hoover Dam, contributing expertise to develop and install the dam’s hydropower generating electrical turbines.



Clarke took to gather data about the electric grid and duly analysed the data to produce innovative ideas at the time that can now be deemed as the first step towards “smart grid” technology.


In 2015 Edith Clarke was posthumously inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame, joining the likes of Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla for her invention of the Clarke Calculator.



Eur Ing Dr Robert Brown (Robert) is the Executive Director of Fraser George and Associates Limited and is a Consultant and Forensic Engineer in the fields Electrical Electronic and Control Engineering.


Robert is an accomplished professional Expert Witness having prepared and presented many court compliant reports and presented oral evidence within the High Court, Crown Courts and County Courts.


For further information please contact Robert via;


Email,…robert.brown@frasergeorge.com or robertbrown@robertbrown.uk.com


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