# Evolution of Microwave Engineering: Maxwell's Legacy

Classified in Physics

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## A Short History of Microwave Engineering:

- Microwave engineering is often considered a fairly mature discipline because the fundamental concepts were developed more than 50 years ago, and probably because radar, the first major application of microwave technology, was intensively developed as far back as World War II. However, recent years have brought substantial and continuing developments in high-frequency solid-state devices, microwave integrated circuits, and computer-aided design techniques, and the ever-widening applications of RF and microwave technology to wireless communications, networking, sensing, and security have kept the field active and vibrant.

- The foundations of modern electromagnetic theory were formulated in 1873 by James Clerk Maxwell, who hypothesized, solely from mathematical considerations, electromagnetic wave propagation and the idea that light was a form of electromagnetic energy. All of the practical applications of electromagnetic theory—radio, television, radar, cellular telephones, and wireless networking—owe their existence to the theoretical work of Maxwell.

### MAXWELL’S EQUATIONS

- Electric and magnetic phenomena at the macroscopic level are described by Maxwell’s equations, as published by Maxwell in 1873. Maxwell’s work was based on a large body of empirical and theoretical knowledge developed by Gauss, Ampere, Faraday, and others.

- In RF and microwave engineering, then, one must often work with Maxwell’s equations and their solutions. It is in the nature of these equations that mathematical complexity arises since Maxwell’s equations involve vector differential or integral operations on vector field quantities, and these fields are functions of spatial coordinates.