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Welcome to Microwave Journal’s newest guest blog: “Generation Pi”. Following the wonderful feedback Marki Microwave received after our Expert Advice column in December, I am happy to announce that I will be blogging here over the next few months now that Sherry Hess’ tenure is finished. For those of you who enjoyed reading her blog as much as I have, you can check out her latest entries on the AWR website.
In the coming months, I will use this blog as a platform to discuss topics ranging from the controversial to the comical and hopefully share some of Marki Microwave’s hard-won insights along the way. Based on the outpouring of support my father received regarding his advice column, I am very excited to have the opportunity to continue the dialog he started in December. This time, however, it is from the son’s perspective…and for this first entry, I want to talk about the youth of our industry.
I’ve heard grumblings about the microwave industry’s age problem—the grey-beards are only getting older and the younglings aren’t rising up to replace them. While I agree with the notion that the industry is in danger of losing much of the older generation’s wisdom if we’re not careful, I’m also a living, breathing example of the counter-argument. To me, it is just a matter of perspective.
Since joining Marki in 2007, I’ve been inundated with questions from reps and customers about my dad and his potential “retirement” and how I plan to follow in his footsteps. The answer is simple: I don’t. It can’t be done, my dad is a special guy and happens to be the greatest empirical scientist I have ever known. From my perspective, these people are asking the wrong question. The question is not how the younger generation will continue the work of the great scientists preceding them; the question is how they will continue the tradition of innovation and creativity those scientists helped foster.
Technological innovation is an evolutionary process based as much in artistic expression and opportunism as it is in rigid scientific theory. From my father’s perspective (and Marki’s as a whole), it doesn’t matter how you innovate, but that you innovate in the first place. The design approach of Ferenc Marki’s generation is profoundly different from my own and I have no desire to design a mixer or filter the way he would using intuition, trial and error and the occasional piece of aluminum foil (seriously, aluminum foil). In that sense, I don’t seek to follow in his footsteps. I acknowledge that there are a sickening number of tips and trade secrets that only an RF Wizard can teach you, and I promise to share some of our favorites in the coming months, but the modern era has afforded us certain advantages such as Matlab, Microwave Office and HFSS, and I intend to use them.
So no, I’ll not be the next Ferenc Marki, or Bill Oldfield, or Tom Russell—but I can assure you next time a grey-beard offers me some advice, I’ll be listening and I’d recommend all of you other younglings do the same.
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