Washington University, St. LouisEngineering


The Preston M. Green Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering (ESE) at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) was formed in 2003 as a merger between Electrical Engineering and Systems Science & Mathematics.

Electrical Engineering was the second-oldest electrical engineering department in the United States, founded in 1891. Since its inception, the department has made contributions to education and research in applied physics, electronics, communications, signal processing and biomedical engineering.

Systems Science & Mathematics was a unique department specializing in applied mathematics, systems and control. The department was founded in 1974 and has origins that date back to the Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, established in 1965. More

Today, Electrical & Systems Engineering faculty are dedicated to high-quality education and research, and are active in research programs with a wide variety of engineering and science topics. They lead national and international research teams and collaborate on interdisciplinary research projects. Our alumni are also involved in academia and industry. View their latest achievements.

Notable Alumni & Faculty

Christopher I. Byrnes, Ph.D., dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis from 1991 to 2006 and the Edward H. and Florence G. Skinner Professor Emeritus of Systems Science and Mathematics. Byrnes joined the WUSTL faculty in 1989 as professor of systems and control and chair of the Department of Systems Science and Mathematics. More

Walter R. Evans, who received his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from WUSTL in 1941 and also worked as an instructor from 1946 to 1948, is widely known for his 1948 invention of the root locus method, which is now a key tool in control theory. More

Preston M. Green, received his Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from WUSTL in 1936. After graduation, Preston Green worked in a local factory until he joined Southwest Steel Supply Co. in 1950 as vice president of purchasing and production. More

William Bennett Kouwenhoven, who was an electrical engineering instructor at WUSTL for the 1913 to 1914 academic year, is most well-known for inventing the cardiac defibrillator and the technique of CPR. More

William E. Moerner, who received his bachelor’s degrees in Electrical Engineering, Physics, and Mathematics from Washington University in 1975, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2014 (along with Eric Betzig and Stefan Hell) for his work on single-molecule fluorescence microscopy. More

John Zaborszky, received the Diploma of Engineering in 1937 and the DSc degree, with special honors, in 1943 from the Royal Hungarian Technological University. He joined WUSTL in 1954, where he developed the Department of Systems Science & Mathematics. More

Notable WUSTL Alumni with contributions to ESE

Otto H. Schmitt obtained his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Zoology and Physics from Washington University in 1934 and 1937, respectively. During his doctoral work at WU, while working on ways to imitate electrical impulses in squid nerves with electrical circuitry, he invented the Schmitt Trigger. The Schmitt Trigger is a class of electric circuit that is well-known to electrical engineering students due to its use in constructing oscillators and analog-to-digital conversion. During World War II, Dr. Schmitt worked for the U.S. government on projects including magnetic detection of submarines. After the war, he spent the remainder of his career as a professor at the University of Minnesota, where he was a pioneer in the fields of biophysics and biomedical engineering. Dr. Schmitt coined the term “biomimetics” in the 1950s to describe the imitation of systems found in nature for use in solving complex problems. For more information about Dr. Schmitt’s career and inventions, click here.

Former Department Chairs of EE, SSM, and ESE

Above: In 1974, Professor T.J. Tarn and Professor John Zaborszky toured a doll factory in Japan.

Below: In 1981, Professor Bob Morley and Joseph Trotta worked on an early version of the first digital hearing aid developed in collaboration with researchers at the Central Institute for the Deaf.

Washington University in St. Louis School of Engineering & Applied Science, Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering

Green Hall, CB 1042, 1 Brookings Drive, Saint Louis, MO, USA 63130
Phone: (314) 935-5565, Fax: (314) 935-7500

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