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Engineering is the application of science, technology, mathematics, art, and practical experience to the design and production of objects, tools or processes. Professional practitioners of engineering are called engineers. Engineers design and build aircraft (Aerospace), roads and buildings (Civil / Structural), computers and electronics (Electrical), machines and vehicles (Mechanical / manufacturing), medical devices (Biomedical), environmental systems (Environmental), agricultural equipment and processes (Agricultural), processing plants, chemicals and molecules (Chemical), new materials (Materials) and much, much more. Without engineering, the world would be a very different place.

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Grand Coulee Dam.jpg
Grand Coulee Dam is a gravity dam on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, built to produce hydroelectric power and provide irrigation water. It was constructed between 1933 and 1942, originally with two power plants. A third power station was completed in 1974 to increase its energy production. It is the largest electric power-producing facility in the United States.

The proposal to build the dam was the focus of a bitter debate during the 1920s between two groups. One group wanted to irrigate the ancient Grand Coulee with a gravity canal, and the other supported a high dam and pumping scheme. Dam supporters won in 1933, but for fiscal reasons the initial design was for a "low dam" 290 feet (88 m) high which would generate electricity, but not support irrigation. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and a consortium of three companies called MWAK (Mason-Walsh-Atkinson Kier Company) began construction that year. After visiting the construction site in August 1934, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt began endorsing the "high dam" design which, at 550 ft (168 m) high, would provide enough electricity to pump water to irrigate the Columbia Basin. The high dam was approved by Congress in 1935 and completed in 1942; the first water over-topped its spillway on June 1 of that year.

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ua741 IC
Credit: Teravolt

An operational amplifier (often op-amp or opamp) is a DC-coupled high-gain electronic voltage amplifier with a differential input and, usually, a single-ended output. In this configuration, an op-amp produces an output potential (relative to circuit ground) that is typically hundreds of thousands of times larger than the potential difference between its input terminals. Operational amplifiers had their origins in analog computers, where they were used to perform mathematical operations in many linear, non-linear and frequency-dependent circuits. The popularity of the op-amp as a building block in analog circuits is due to its versatility. Due to negative feedback, the characteristics of an op-amp circuit, its gain, input and output impedance, bandwidth etc. are determined by external components and have little dependence on temperature coefficients or manufacturing variations in the op-amp itself.

Op-amps are among the most widely used electronic devices today, being used in a vast array of consumer, industrial, and scientific devices. Many standard IC op-amps cost only a few cents in moderate production volume; however some integrated or hybrid operational amplifiers with special performance specifications may cost over $100 US in small quantities. Op-amps may be packaged as components, or used as elements of more complex integrated circuits.

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