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Professor Wheeler

Professor Paul Wheeler, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Electrical and Computing Engineering
Utah State University

Image courtesy of Utah State University

About Professor Wheeler

[ Homepage : : Vita ]

Prof. Wheeler grew up in Ogden, Utah where his curiosity often got him into trouble. His mother often tired of his constant questions and experiments, like the time he wanted to see what it would be like to step out of a moving car. (It wasn't fun!). He was selected from his fourth grade class to see the premier of "Our Mister Sun", a documentary of how the sun worked. This introduced him to science which over the years answered many of his questions. He was also introduced to the mellophone (an Eb alto horn) which wasn't very mellow (at least the way he played it). Music became another important part of his life.

Through his high school career he enjoyed his science and music classes, his favorite class being chemistry (however he almost flunked math). He played in the band (French horn) and sang in the in the choir (bass). It took two years of college before he picked a major. This provided time to take a variety of general education classes (piquing his curiosity), playing in the band and orchestra, and catching up on the math he should have learned in high school.

By junior year he was forced into declaring a major: Should it be music? (Could he stand every day in front of a junior high band listening to out-of-tune notes?) No! Should it be languages? (He had picked up some German and Portuguese, but could he make a living that way?) No! What about engineering? (His brother was the engineer in the family) No! So by default he majored in physics and minored in chemistry.

For two years he suffered through heavy loads of physics, chemistry and math with only an hour each day of choir for his sanity. Galileo once said, "Mathematics is the language the key to the universe is written in," (Of course he said it in Italian rather than English), so the language of math was studied along with the science. His Master's degree in physics let him combine the science with music by emphasizing musical acoustics. Since he had to give up the French horn to survive his major he learned to play the horn on the computer for his thesis (this was long before MIDI made it easy).

Since he thought he might want to teach at some time he picked up a minor in education along the way. He soon learned that you can't make a living doing musical acoustics (it's too fun) so he went back to school, but this time in engineering (so what if there was another engineer in the family).

Having taken an electronics course in physics and always being curious about atomic bombs, he pursued his Ph.D. in electrical and nuclear engineering. This, of course, led to a good research and development job in industry, (sprinkled with teaching in the evenings just for the fun of it). But why let a good job get in the way of having fun? So he joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Utah State University and has been there ever since.

He could now have fun with musical acoustics and not worry about making a living. Even though his specialty in the department is digital systems he developed an Electronic Music minor program for other scientists and engineers who wanted to have fun in musical acoustics. He picked up a few music skills by taking the core classes (as well as others) from the music department and puts them to work by composing and arranging music on weekends. He now teaches courses in Basic Circuits, Microprocessors, Computer Interfacing, Electroacoustics, and Science of Sound. The Science of Sound course is one way to share this exciting field with students. The web based course allows students around the world to join in on the fun.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, January 25). About the Professor. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/Electrical_and_Computer_Engineering/Science_of_Sound/About_the_Professor..html.. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License