Maxwell’s Theory for Us Regular Folks By James C. Rautio, Board Chair, Sonnet Software, Inc.


Maxwell’s electromagnetic theory brings shear terror to the hearts of many sophomore electrical
engineers because it requires intense mathematics to understand. But that effort can be rewarding.
Maxwell’s theory shows us that light and radio waves and electricity and magnetism are all just different
aspects of the same thing. And once we understand it, we can start predicting it. Today’s cell phones
and computers would be impossible without this understanding. But what about us ‘regular folks’?
When mathematics comes up, we pull out our (electromagnetic) cell phones and start texting… Well,
this presentation will give you a physical understanding of Maxwell’s theory…no equations at all. With a
few simple animations (intended to inform rather than impress) and interspersed with bits of ‘Dad’
humor, everyone, no matter their background, will walk away with a precious view through a window
into the incredibly amazing and beautiful universe of Maxwell’s theory. Those who might be
professionals in electromagnetic theory will also find this presentation useful as we all find occasions
where we need to explain what we do for the benefit of interested ‘regular folks’.

  Date and Time




  • Date: 13 Jan 2022
  • Time: 08:30 AM to 10:00 AM
  • All times are (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
  • Add_To_Calendar_icon Add Event to Calendar
If you are not a robot, please complete the ReCAPTCHA to display virtual attendance info.
  • San Diego, California
  • United States

  • Starts 24 December 2021 12:46 PM
  • Ends 12 January 2022 12:46 PM
  • All times are (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
  • No Admission Charge


Dr. James Rautio


James C. Rautio received the B.S.E.E. degree from Cornell University in 1978, the M.S. degree in systems
engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, and the Ph.D. degree, under Prof. Roger
Harrington, in electrical engineering from Syracuse University in 1986.
From 1978 to 1986, he was with General Electric, initially with the Valley Forge Space Division, then with
the Syracuse Electronics Laboratory. During this time, he developed microwave design and
measurement software and designed microwave circuits on alumina and on GaAs. From 1986 to 1988,
he was a Visiting Professor with Syracuse University and Cornell University. In 1988, he took Sonnet
Software full time, a company he had founded in 1983. In 1995, Sonnet Software was listed on the Inc.
500 list of the fastest growing privately held U.S. companies, the first microwave software company ever
to be so listed. Today, Sonnet Software is the leading vendor of high accuracy three-dimensional planar
high-frequency electromagnetic analysis software (based on Maxwell's equations).
Dr. Rautio was the recipient of the 2001 IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (IEEE MTT-S)
Microwave Application Award, 2014 Distinguished Service Award, and 2019 Career Award. He was
appointed MTT Distinguished Microwave Lecturer for 2005 – 2007 lecturing on the life of James Clerk
Maxwell and has had major influence in the restoration of Clerk Maxwell's home, Glenlair. He is also a
Trustee of the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation, which promotes Maxwell and maintains Maxwell's
birthplace in Edinburgh as a museum of his life. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the RSE.


8:30-10am seminar & QA