Saturday, 24 November 2012

Solar Cells

One of the courses I took in my senior year was a semiconductors course. There was one topic I was really interested in and that was solar cells. I will just go over a little bit of what I learned/remember from class.

A solar cell is a semiconductor device that uses the suns radiation to produce electrical energy. Typically a solar cell is a p-n junction diode. This means that the solar cell is a combination of an n-type semiconductor and p-type semiconductor material. The reason why is because the p-n junctions potential energy barriers are formed and this will facilitate the separation of electron-hole pairs(carriers) generated from photons.

One of the important parameters of a solar cell is the band gap energy. The band gap energy is the minimum energy required to excite an electron from the valence to the conduction band. When the electron is excited into the conduction band it is free to participate in conduction. At the same time though, a 'empty' space is left in the valance band (hole) and as electrons move around in the valence band, it looks like the hole is moving. This means the electron and hole participate in conduction.

Now we can learn about carrier concentration. We learned about free carriers above (electrons and holes participating in conduction). We can call the concentration of these carriers the 'intrinisic carrier concentration'. This tells us the number of electrons in the conduction band and the number of holes in the valence band. The number of carriers will depend on the band gap energy and temperature of the material (High band gap energy leads to less carriers). The band gap energy and carrier concentration will be important in determining the solar cells efficiencies.

When we illuminate light onto a solar cell three things occur. It is either absorbed, reflected or nothing happens. Sunlight contains photons and these photons have different energy levels because of their different wavelengths. E=hc/lambda where h represents Planck constant, c represents the speed of light, and lambda represents the wavelength.

Here is a simple way of looking at it.

If the energy of the photon is greater than the band gap energy of the solar cell that means the electron will be excited out of the valence band and into the conduction band. However, the excess energy of the photon is wasted into heat.

If the energy of the photon is less than the band gap energy of the solar cell nothing will happen to the electron.

If the energy of the photon is equal to the band gap energy the electron will be excited out of the valence band and into the conduction band. This is the most ideal case as no energy is wasted into heat.

I hope this info is useful for anyone who wants to start learning solar cells. Note this is just an intro to solar cells and not in depth information. Solar cells can become much more complex when dealing with other factors like recombination and quantum effieciency.

What do you think of solar cells? Do you believe that they will be important in the future as a clean and renewable energy source? Problems that arise now are the cost of production and the amount of land required to use. Furthermore, the effieciency's of solar cells are still low.

Want to learn more? You can learn more about solar cells by going here

Solar Cells and Photovoltaic Education

Is there a topic you want to write about? Wind turbines? Electronics? Feel free to message me on our facebook page!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Electrical or Computer Engineering?

We all know that in some departments around the world they combine electrical and computer engineering in 2nd year, but after that you gotta choose between the two. Have you ever had troubles choosing between the two? I know for me I had an easy time and chose electrical because I was not a big fan of programming. However, some people may not have an easy time choosing between the two. Some people want to know which one will provide a better career? More money? Or what if I want to do both? Well here's a post by Abraham Chan, a University of British Columbia student in the faculty of applied science. He will share his thoughts of electrical and computer engineering and discuss why he chose the path he did.

This is what he had to say:

Deciding if you should go into Electrical or Computer Engineering?

After completing general engineering courses, students must choose a specific engineering discipline, which will set the direction for academics and perhaps, a future career. Should you find yourself in a tossup between electrical engineering and computer engineering, I hope I can help clarify their differences through my take on the situation.

Electrical and computer engineering programs typically share similar introductory courses in the first year. Courses like circuit analysis and digital logic design are usually required in both programs.

Electrical engineering deals with the application and development of electricity and electromagnetism. On the contrary, computer engineering deals with the application of electricity and software to develop computer systems.

To break things down for you, computer engineering can be described as electrical engineering without power electives and with software courses in its place. Furthermore, electrical engineering can be subdivided into energy systems and nanotechnology sectors whereas computer engineering can be split into hardware and software sectors.

The job market potentials for both fields are continually growing. However, computer engineering opportunities will be more diversified and grow at a faster pace than electrical engineering due to declines in the manufacturing sector and a heightened demand for software application development.

In the end, many electrical engineers will find work in the computer engineering sector and vice versa. The undergraduate programs are designed to give you a broad sense of what it is like in the respective field of study. After all, your upper-level technical electives will be more relevant to a potential employer than a designation on your degree.

Authors Note: At the end of my first year, I knew I was either going to study electrical or computer engineering. While I was interested in circuits, I had also expressed a fondness for programming. As a student determined to attain a future career in engineering, I wanted to choose the appropriate program. I wanted to weigh my options based on a variety of factors such as academic potential, employment opportunity and industry development. As a result, I examined the curriculum for each program. Wary that electrical and computer engineering share a common second year curriculum, I went with electrical engineering knowing that I could switch to computer engineering for third year. Having completed the various second year electrical and software courses, it was clear that my interest lied within computer engineering. I made the change to computer engineering just before third year and I have not regretted since.

This post was written by Abraham Chan, a Computer Engineering Student at the University of British Columbia (CANADA)

Feel free to comment on why you chose the engineering discpline you're in.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Online Article + Supportive Comments!

So this is kind of old news, but I wanted to update it here on our blog page. As some of you may know, the Huffington Post wrote an article about our facebook page Engineer Memes online

You can find the online article here:

I thought this was really cool! I never expected my page to get this kind of attention/exposure especially from a news website like HuffingtonPost! Being an admin of this page has been a lot of fun. The only downside i've seen is that it is really tough to have engineer memes that can make everyone happy. Since I am an electrical engineer it's tough to create memes that other types of engineers can relate too. I have been thinking about looking for other admins who are studying/working in these different fields to help me with the page. The future is still uncertain though and I will have to wait and see what will happen.

At the same time it's great to see some of the people who commented about the page and are really supportive about it! Here are some of the comments I have read:

Although i love your funny memes, some are also motivational and inspiring which i also thanks. Hannah Marie Seeger
You guys make my engineering memories fun. Abdullah Tariq
These memes are getting exponentially more hilarious with each hour I've spent in the library. So they are tending to infinite hilarity at the moment. Emily Beatty
This definitely has to be the best, most funniest page Ive ever seen. Keep it up guys. Sending this message from a lab in my university. Meanwhile in power electronics.....Xain Shah
Hiiiii there! Just wanted to say Awesome page, I can relate :D keep up the good work. Vanisha Mahabier Panday
Your page gave me the inspiration and the motivation because now I know I am not the only one who suffers from engineering. I am surrounded with some jerks from different majors who make me feel like I am the only one who gets fucked in this school. Engineering = awful school but amazing post graduate life and now I'll go back to study :) Karim Fahmi

I'm glad lots of people from around the world are able to enjoy these photos and are able to relate to these pictures. I know I can't make everyone happy, but I am trying my best. As well, if you have memes/pictures you want to share just message me on the fanpage! I welcome all types and will also give you credit for the photo! Thank you for the support! Anyways, I hope everyone had a good weekend and remember to...not drink and derive!

Feel free to leave comments on ways to improve the facebook page or anything you want to say!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Women in Engineering

So I posted a engineer meme a week ago and it poked fun at how there are no females in Engineering. See picture here:

A bunch of female engineers commented on the photo about how the photo was false (which is awesome by the way!). It was awesome and very nice to see all these posts by the female engineers on our fan page. It's great to see that there are more females joining engineering and that they are happy with their choice, going into engineering :). So I updated the photo with this meme:

I hope everyone liked the updated picture. Anyways, the reason why I wanted to make this post is because I wanted to share what some of the females in engineering had to say. I chose several comments from the pictures. Here are some of the comments:

Robotic Engineering. I'm Mexican, I'm studying a semester in France and Engineering rocks. It's not as easy as some other may think it is. We have to face discrimination day after day. But you have to have enough courage to let people know you are able to do the things as well. It's true there's a difference in strength between men and women, but we are using our minds and not our muscles.I really love what I do. Real Engineering. Sandra Bonilla

It'll take a while for us to mix in, it only started being acceptable for women to go to college like 100 years ago. That seems like a while, but 1965 was 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation but was everything equal yet? Quit calling us stupid and singling us out when all we want is a lucrative major in something we're good at and interested in. Stephanie Marin

I'm one of 3 girls in a total of 30-40ish students per class. In the beginning it's a bit hard to fit in, if you are too cocky like i was x3 but then it's just the same or even better. In fact, we engineer girls would be just common girls if it wasn't for the fact that we just decided to ignore what narrow minds think (like oldfashioned people in my home town who think i'm boyish or lesbian, no matter what i'm wearing atm, whenever i say i'm studying electromechanical engineering... like if it had any kind of relation) and chose a path we like/are good at. Each time i like more and more being an engineering student, each time i think about my decision i realize that it was the best for me, i know i wouldn't be happy in another area. Should we allow oldfashioned and non realistic stereotypes to prevent us from turning in engineers if that's what's going to make us happy? Hell no! A huge hug to all my female engineer or soon to be colleagues! Always proud to be an engineer! ;D. Cíntia Fernandes
I am Mexican, and I'm studying Civil Engineering in Manchester. I cannot described in a comment my passion for engineering, but what I can say is Thank you Great Britain, I face no discrimination whatsoever. Plus, last year I received the Civil Engineering school prize for the best grade of the year. I can only look forward to embrace my gender in the feel, by NOT trying to prove anything to anyone and just enjoy what I do best. Cheers! X. Carla Leticia Monck
I find it ironic how many guys want female engineers, but when they meet one (some of them) act as If girls should not belong in a science class. I'm a student for Aerospace Engineering and Political Science, and I'm really tired of some guys questioning my abilities due to my vagina. Which makes no sense. Ninoshka Llontop Lozano
Surprisingly to most I am a female Electronic Engineering Technology major with a concentration in Renewable Energy Engineering Technology. I get all A+ to B grades in all my math and engineering classes. I'm on the path of switching to an ABET accredited school to finish my Bachelors and then take the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (the FE/EIT) and after going on for my Masters and Doctorate in either Electronic Engineering Technology or Electrical Engineering while pursuing my Professional Engineering License. I can say it is a lot of hard work and a lot of people try to tell me I can't do it but regardless I remain focused and dedicated to help make progress in the field of Engineering because Trust me i'm an Engineer! I <3 Engineering! Angela Lizardi Shephard
Mechanical engineering right here! Already took the FE, currently biting my nails while I wait for my score. Also, I will be one of the first females to graduate from my university's new ME Program this coming May! Besides getting made fun of for my hot pink TI-84 and my tendency to be girly about a lot of other things, being one of the few females in the program isn't bad at all! I deal with the guys and their personalities rather well, I'm a pretty laid back person with a good sense of humor. I'm definitely able to be myself around them without feeling awkward. Oh and thanks for correcting the meme, definitely approve. Amanda Ibañez

It's great to see all these comments by female engineers. I hope you enjoyed reading these comments by other engineers! Maybe it will put things into perspective.

Being a female engineer is just like being an engineer... Oh wait that's because it is just being an engineer! Laura Daniels

Yep, remember that a female and male can become an engineer. Now lets celebrate something we can agree on with this meme. Feel free to comment about what you're thinking!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Looking for Guest Bloggers


Do you like writing and want to talk about your engineering experiences? Is there something you want to inform to the engineering commmunity? Are there causes you believe in like volunteer work done under 'engineers without borders'. Then this blog may be the right place for you! You will not have to commit to this blog(can be a one time thing only if you want) or can write as much as you want!

What kind of posts am I looking for?

Anything that is engineering related. It can be about your experience as an engineer, or an engineering student. It can be about the toughest course you took in engineering. It can be about the skills and qualities you have gained from being an engineer. You can give tips and advices you would want engineers and engineering students to know in school or on the job. You can write about new technology that have came out or products that are currently in research and development. You can talk about projects you have done in school, or clubs you joined like the 'solar car' club. As well, the post can be written in a humourous or serious way. We invite you to use photos/funny memes that can relate to the topic you are writing about, but they are not required.

Currently we have over 300,000 pageviews as of November 8th, 2012.

If you want to write a blog post just message me on our fanpage Engineer Memes

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Life of a Procrastinator

Ok so we have seen the life of an Engineer. Obviously, this picture is giving us too much sleep correct? But have we seen how the life of an engineer who procrastinates goes? I know I had a lot of problems with procrastination. I would rather play videogames, go hang out with friends, watch some t.v. or just do anything that wasn't studying or homework. Well here's how the life of a procrastinator works. We will walk through several gifs and show how their semester is like (it's still missing lots of projects/homework/quizes/midterms/finals etc etc).

New Semester
After the 1st week
After the 2nd week
Before the midterm
During the midterm
After the midterm
Before the final exam
The final exam schedule is out
7 days before the final exam
6 days before the final exam
5 days before the final exam:
4 days before the final exam:
3 days before the final exam
2 days before the final exam
1 day before the final exam
The night before the final exam
1 hour before the final exam
During the final exam
Leaving the final exam
Holiday begins

And that is the life of a procrastinator in engineering school/college. Is that how your semesters look? Comment!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Productivity Level = 0

Ever have that kind of day where you didn't really do anything productive or even fun? Lets make Engineer Memes out of it...!

But yeah, I often do. I remember for a whole semester in my undergrad (2nd year), all I did was sleep, eat, play videogames and sometimes hang out with friends. It was the biggest waste of time ever! That semester was so bad and it effected my GPA a lot. If I could go back to that semester I would actually have tried. I think the problem was there were so many courses I didn't like that semester (microcomputers and OOP: c++). That semester was bad. Sleep at 4am, wake up in the afternoon and miss all my classes. Third and fourth year were a lot better though (thank goodness I stopped gaming). I actually had a WAYY better social life and still got a lot of school work done. :)

Have you had any days where you were just not doing any work, or weeks, or even months! Feel free to comment and leave your experiences! Also, remember to check out our facebook engineer memes page at

Saturday, 3 November 2012

How I feel about 8 am Engineering classes

Must stay awake: This is what I look like during an 8 am class.

So I had several 8 am classes when I was an undergrad studying engineering. I hated 8 am classes. I even lived on campus and I still had trouble going to class. What made it worse was that it was a engineering stats course. I don't think I ever learned anything in that class because it was so early.

Granted my sleeping pattern was messed up. Maybe I should have went to bed earlier? How do I go to bed earlier though if I have lots of projects and assignments due? Or have many quizzes and midterms to study for?

I had a funny situation occur to me in 3rd year though. So I signed up for a course (electrical mechanical energy conversion and transmission)and it was suppose to be at a later time like around 2 pm or something. Unfortunately, the professor changed the time because he didn't like it. He changed it to 8 am. I ended up dropping the course and taking it a year later. But guess what happened? It ended up being at 8 am again. Fail.

In the end though, maybe the 8 am classes are good for us? It really prepares us for the 'real world' when we need to start our work at 8 or 9 am! Plus with all the projects we will be working on there's a possibility we won't be getting much sleep anyways!

Anyways, have you had any 8 am classes? Do you like 8 am classes or if you're an Engineer currently working do you enjoy your work hours? I heard in some companies they let you come in anytime you want, but you still have to work your full amount of hours? Feel free to comment!

eHarmony - Why we should date an Engineer

So I am just surfing facebook and looking at stuff and I see this hilarious post one of my friends had on their page by eHarmony. What is eHarmony some of you may be asking? Well eHarmony is an online dating website designed for people who are single to meet and eventually create a long-term relationship. The site also provides advice on dating and uses specific algorithms to find you a compatible partner or some one with similar personalities .

Anyways, back to the main story. I saw this article my friend shared written by eHarmony! eHarmony is giving advice to people on why they should date an Engineer! Win!

Me and You = Love

If you do not want to check out the article, it pretty much gives 15 reasons why we should date an Engineer. Leave a comment on what you think of these reasons!

Considering dating an engineer? Here are 15 reasons why you should:

1. Your parents will approve.

2. You’ll always have a pencil when you need it. Just look behind his/her ear.

3. Can’t do the math? Your date would love to solve those problems for you.

4. If you buy a home together, it will be structurally sound.

5. Conflict resolution will be approached in a calm, logical manner.

6. No pretentious dining options. Just keep the fridge stocked with beer.

7. The clocks on your stove and DVD player will be set and synched.

8. Engineers are always up for a challenge.

9. Stress and strain in a relationship is manageable. Engineers don’t run away from a problem.

10. No lazy approaches to dating here. Engineers are prepared to “do it right the first time.”

11. You can joke about friction and gravitational attraction.

12. Have computer problems? Your date can kill “bugs” for you.

13. All those broken gadgets in your home will get fixed — and possibly improved.

14. Need to talk late at night? Engineers can handle all-nighters.

15. Engineers are used to wearing rings. Just sayin’.

Also, feel free to post what other reasons why one should consider dating an engineer!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hug An Engineer & Engineering Student Day

Yes! It's that time of the year again. Exams are coming, lots of assignments due, midterms and tests approaching, and lots of all-nighters to finish up projects!

Engineering can be very stressful when we do not organize our time effectively. We have assignments due practically every week, sometimes midterms every week, and on top of that we have labs and lab reports that can take forever to finish and they end up not being worth as much as our midterms and tests we are given! As well, engineers who are already working their jobs can take control of our lives when they have to work 50+ hours a week on salary. The amount of time they get to see their friends and family is minimal and the amount of sleep they get is little!

So here's a day for all you engineers and engineering students. Hug an engineer day. Hopefully we can get this day to become a big thing and we can all receive hugs when we're feeling down and stressed out from our friends and family.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how busy are you? 10 being the busiest and 1 being not busy at all!

Creative Commons License
Hug An Engineer & Engineering Student Day by Engineer Memes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Share this event with your friends, engineers, engineering students, family, and colleagues! The date this is happening is November 28, 2012!