The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering has its origins in the Department of Physics and Electrical Engineering in the Manchester Municipal School of Technology. In 1905, Professor A Schwartz was appointed the first Professor and Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering. At this time, Electrical Engineering comprised mainly of the study of electrical machines for drives and for the generation of electricity. Some Metrology and Electrical Chemistry was also taught.After the Second World War undergraduate degree courses began to grow in size and scope and Power Systems and High Voltage engineering together with the newer subjects of Electronic Engineering, Automatic Control and Communication Engineering entered the curriculum.
The First Stored-Program Computer was built in the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering
The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), nicknamed Baby, was the world’s first stored-program computer and it was developed in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Manchester. It was designed and built by Frederic C. Williams and Tom Kilburn and it ran its first program on June 21, 1948. Read about the background to the original Baby and how a replica was built to celebrate its 50th anniversary. www.digital60.org/
The appointment of Professor Colin Adamson as Head of Department in 1962 and the expansion of university sector in the early 1960s led to a further expansion of the Department. This saw the introduction of the new areas of Solid State Electronics and Digital Processes incorporated into teaching and research.
By 1964 the academic staff had risen to 32 including two Professors and this growth was continued over the next decades. The newly introduced taught Masters degree courses meant that postgraduate numbers also grew rapidly and, as a consequence, so did the research activity. During the 1970s and 80s it was not uncommon for the numbers of M.Sc and Ph.D degrees awarded by the Department each year to exceed the number of undergraduate degrees. More recently, as the undergraduate class sizes have increased due to the availability of a wider range of taught programmes, including 4-year M.Eng courses, this trend has been reversed.
The School has proved successful in all recently introduced quality measures: the Research Assessment Exercise, the Teaching Quality Assessment and the IEE Accreditation of undergraduate programmes. It has come into being just as the former Department reached its centenary. During this time nearly 1000 Ph.D and 3000 MSc degrees were awarded in addition to the countless B.Sc, B.Eng and M.Eng graduations.
The new School has over 58 academic staff and more than a quarter of these are Professors.
The challenge now is to carry forward this new structure and to continue the successes of the old.