The November/December Issue of the Electrical Insulation Magazine has been released. Use the accordion headings below to explore this issue’s content, and visit the IEEE Xplore for full magazine access.

For a list of upcoming conferences, please visit the conference page or check out the events calendar.

Featured Articles

Challenges for Electrical Insulation Systems in High Voltage Aviation Applications

Th. Lebey; A. Rumi; A. Cavallini

Xplore Link

Gas Formation from Arcing Faults in Transformers—Part II

Michel Duval; Jerzy Buchacz

Xplore Link

A Day in the Life of a High-Voltage Materials Physics Laboratory

Abdelghaffar Amoka Abdelmalik

Xplore Link

Andrea Cavallini

Transport Electrification Technical Committee Chair

Transport electrification is regularly in the headlines in both general and specialized media because electrification is a vital part of our efforts to decarbonize society. Currently, all types of transportation have been involved in a complete or partial electrification process. Trains and ships were the first systems that were electrified. Electric or hybrid vehicles for personal mobility (cars or buses) came later and are an integral part of our approach to both decarbonize our economy and improve air quality, particularly in urban areas. Industrial vehicles such as tractors and trucks are also undergoing electrification or, at least, hybridization.

Aircraft are also experiencing a radical transformation. It started with Boeing, that pioneered the More Electrical Aircraft (MEA) beginning with the 787 Dreamliner. In the MEA, propulsion turbines eliminate bleed air extraction for auxiliaries, to enhance their efficiency. Also in MEA, hydraulic and pneumatic systems are replaced by fully electric or hybrid systems (in hybrid systems, an electrical machine is used to drive a pump or a compressor that is used to set in operation a hydraulic actuator). Going further, hybrid systems (Hybrid Electric Aircraft, HEA) where the turbofan is “boosted” by an electrical machine are under development. The hybrid approach is pushed for regional flights by GESAFRAN (Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines, RISE). Prototypes of All Electrical Aircraft (AEA) have also been tested, although their primary focus has been on flight vehicles with four or fewer passengers, for urban mobility or for certain military missions. An example is shown on the front cover this magazine of an all-electric aircraft that uses one propulsion motor and two motors for vertical takeoff and landing. This AEA, developed by Beta Technologies of Vermont, USA, recently had a test flight near Orangeville, New York, where it flew over a field of wind turbines.

Transport electrification is a fascinating and exciting topic, yet it poses several engineering challenges, also for the community of dielectricians. Transport electrification needs improved electrical insulation systems that address (1) the different combination of stresses and operating environments, (2) the expectations on power densities and costs (the former is critical for MEA/HEA/AEA, the latter for electric vehicles), and (3) the rapid evolutions of technical solutions in advance of the development of standards.

With respect to industrial applications, some stress types become more important in transport electrification (as an example, thermal cycling) while power densities are pushed to achieve levels comparable to those of hydraulic actuators, i.e., 10 to 20 kW/kg [1]. In 2015 Siemens achieved 5 kW/kg [2]; NASA expects to reach 16 kW/kg [3]. Both power densities are well above the power density of industrial actuators (<1 kW/kg) and deserve special attention to achieve high reliability levels. Ambient conditions will also be notably different, especially for aircraft where low pressure, high humidity, very low temperatures, and higher radiation (and ionization) levels must be carefully considered to ensure the electrical insulation reliability. These requirements call the dielectrician community in the DEIS to develop the following: (a) High-performing dielectrics capable of withstanding higher electric field and temperatures with improved thermal conductivity;

(b) A better understanding of the implications of using dielectrics and electrical insulation systems with these different and more aggressive stress profiles. The long-time performance is of particular importance to achieve the expected reliability levels;

(c) Developing guidelines to screen out materials having poor performance without entering lengthy and costly qualification procedures;

(d) Developing ad hoc standards that are tailored to the specific needs of the transport electrification sector, particularly when it comes to qualification; and

(e) The development of cost-effective off-line and on-line diagnostic tools, suitable to work in harsh environments with low false positive and false negative probabilities.

The Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation for Transportation Electrification Technical Committee of the DEIS is thus organizing workshops and review papers to stimulate the dielectrician community to be involved in transport electrification topics. If you feel you can contribute, please contact the technical committee chair, Andrea Cavallini, at [email protected].


[1] S. Sakama, Y. Tanaka, and A. Kamimura, “Characteristics of hydraulic and electric servo motors,” Actuators, vol. 11, no. 1, Art. no. 1, Jan. 2022. doi: 10.3390/ act11010011.

[2] Siemens develops world-record electric motor for aircraft. [Online]. Accessed Aug. 9, 2022. Available: https://press. motor-aircraft

[3] NASA High Efficiency Megawatt Motor (HEMM), Glenn Research Center, NASA. [Online]. Accessed Aug. 9, 2022. Available: aeronautics/eap/larger-aircraft/electric- machines/high-efficiency-megawatt-motor-hemm/

Antonios Tzimas

Editor in Chief

[email protected]

The last issue of the year indicates it is the time when many other issues come to a natural conclusion and calls for reflection on the experiences that filled our space and time. Indeed, it was an eventful year for the magazine and the editorial board with the introduction of a new column, “Stories from China,” and two new series of articles, “A Day in the Life of a _____ Laboratory” and profiles of DEIS members. These article series will continue in the magazine in the new year together with your new contributions, which we look forward to receiving.

This issue is launched with an editorial that introduces a new series of featured articles based on transportation electrification that aims to highlight the importance of dielectric materials in cleaner transportation solutions. The News from Japan from Professor Ohki shares insight on “Development of a 6-kV, 3,000-A Triaxial Superconducting Cable.” There is also a Story from China from Dr. Lv Zepeng and several contributors with title “Design and Prototype of a ±100- kV Superconducting Electricity–Gas Integrated DC Energy Pipeline.” Within the bulletin board find a call for 2023 Foster award nominations and highlights from our summer conference ICD.

This issue of the magazine starts with the first in the series of featured article on transport electrification that discusses some of the challenges faced with electrical insulation. Then, the second part of an article on arcing faults analysis on transformers follows. The third article is part of the series “A Day in the Life of a ______ Laboratory” with focus on the establishment of a physics laboratory in Nigeria. The fourth article is not a technical article; it is one on the profile of Professor Toshikatsu Tanaka.

The first article in this issue, titled “Challenges for electrical insulation systems in high voltage aviation applications” is authored by Thierry Lebey from the Safran group in France and Alberto Rumi and Andrea Cavallini from the University of Bologna in Italy. In this article, the authors discuss the dielectric material challenges ahead in aircraft electrification. The authors review the More Electric Aircraft requirements and recent developments by introducing the various technologies and their advantages. The article also reviews the environmental burden on electrical design in high voltage aviation applications due to high altitude with very large temperature gradients and low pressures.

The second article, authored by Michel Duval from Hydro-Quebec in Canada and Jerzy Buchacz from ZPBE Energopomiar-Elektryka sp. z o.o. in Poland, is titled “Gas formation from arcing faults in transformers—Part II.” In this article the authors review the failure rate of transformers and the relation of arcing and gas formation. The authors make corelations on the gas formation and arcing fault that have been reported during IEEE and Cigre studies. The authors demonstrate that arcing faults in paper and oil can be detected using dissolved gas analysis and sub-zones of the Duval Triangle.

The third article is titled “A day in the life of a high-voltage materials physics laboratory” and authored by Abdelghaffar Amoka Abdelmalik from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. The author walks the reader through his journey on the establishment of a high-voltage research laboratory that ceased its existence 30 years ago and was brought back with research on natural ester dielectric liquids. The author goes though the making of the laboratory and the technical requirements for dielectric material characterization. The achievements of the established laboratory are presented in international publications.

The fourth article is authored by Elizabeth Aragao, who is not our usual technical author but one who focuses on the profiles of our DEIS members. The second article of the interview series is titled “‘Your life is short and important’— A conversation with Dr. Toshikatsu Tanaka.” The author goes through Toshikatsu Tanaka’s career journey and life experiences that led him to his involvement with our society. The author highlights Toshikatsu Tanaka’s perspective on life and the importance he places on the balance between work and hobby.

John J. Shea

High Voltage Electrical Insulation Engineering, 2nd Edition

R. Arora and W. Mosch
IEEE Press
John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
ISBN 978-1-119-56887-2
501 pp., $145.95 (Hardcover), 2022

While providing the technical details on the fundamentals of electrical breakdown phenomena for solids, liquids, and gases, this book also discusses the latest advancements in high-voltage (HV) insulation and relevant applications to the power industries. Some of these topics include condition monitoring of electrical insulation, gas insulated systems (GIS), vacuum dielectrics and vacuum interrupters, and SF6 and SF6 mixtures for power equipment. Much of the book covers breakdown phenomena in air, vacuum, SF6, mineral oils, and solids including ceramics, thermoplastics, thermosets, epoxies, rubbers, and other solids.

The book is filled with graphs and tables illustrating empirical results along with basic theory supporting the measurements. The focus on fundamental theory covers Townsend breakdown, streamer formation, partial discharges, corona effects for uniform, nonuniform, extremely nonuniform, and weakly non-uniform fields. In addition to the fundamental theory and background, one of the most useful aspects of the book is the many graphs illustrating empirical data for many different types of materials under a wide variety of conditions including temperature and electric field strength dependencies. This book pro- vides a handy reference for anyone looking for breakdown and electric field data on materials and the corresponding references. The terminology used in the book has a few quirks. For example, instead of the widely used term “partial discharges” (or PD), the authors use the term “partial breakdown” (PB), which may lead to confusion for English-speaking readers.

This book would be of interest to academic researchers, graduate students, and researchers working with dielectrics in the power systems.

Batteries—Materials Principles and Characterization Methods

C. Liao, editor
IOP Publishing Ltd.
Temple Circus, Temple Way
Bristol, BS1 6HG, UK
Phone: +44 (0)117 929 7481
USA Office:
190 North Independence Mall West, Suite 601
Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA Phone: +01 215 627 0880 ISBN 978-0-7503-2682-7 133 pp., $159 (eBook), 2021

This book is about analytical methods used to characterize batteries, in particular lithium-ion batteries. The first chapter provides a brief introduction to batteries with a focus on lithium-ion batteries and the materials commonly used in these batteries. Because many battery characteristics can depend on cycling conditions during operation, many of these analytical methods are used in situ to measure the dynamic properties with the goal of developing better battery designs and materials for improving battery performance and life. Each of the remaining chapters describes an analytical method used in situ, to characterize a battery. These methods are as follows. Electrochemical characterization and modeling using both empirical and physics-based models and experimental characterization using DC and AC techniques with performance determined by redox reaction thermodynamics and transport kinetics. Synchrotron-based imaging with x-ray signals is used to show structural and chemical complexities in batteries. FTIR methods are explained and used to show a spectroscopic analysis during battery cycling giving insight into the chemical, thermal, and electrical mechanisms during battery operation. Online electrochemical mass spectroscopy (OEMS) is described and how it is used to monitor battery properties during operation of the battery. After an overview of electron microscopy, these imaging methods are used to show how to characterize micro- to atomic-scale structural and compositional properties of battery materials during battery operation. NMR methods, including 1-D and 2-D spectroscopy, relaxometry, and diffusometry, are illustrated specifically for carbonaceous anodes, transition metal oxide cathodes, and both liquid and solid electrolytes. After a comprehensive overview of x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), this method is used to show material characteristics and changes during operation. Scanning electron microscopy is used to show the reactivity of battery electrodes, electrolyte, and the separator. Small angle x-ray scattering techniques are also used for understanding the changes in nanostructure, especially with the phase-separated polymer membranes, during charging and discharging cycles. This book is intended for the chemist, chemical engineer, or material scientist who is measuring the properties and characterizing the materials used in batteries and in particular lithium-ion batteries with the goal of developing new designs and materials for improving battery properties. The descriptions of each test and the methods used to measure properties during battery operation are also very useful for those wanting to know more about the test methods.

Practical Terahertz Electronics: Devices and Applications—Volume One

V. K. Khanna
IOP Publishing Ltd.
Temple Circus, Temple Way
Bristol, BS1 6HG, UK
Phone: +44 (0)117 929 7481
USA Office:
190 North Independence Mall West, Suite 601
Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA Phone: +01 215 627 0880
ISBN 978-0-7503-3169-2
336 pp., €149.70 (Hardcover), 2021

Terahertz wave technologies have the potential to “see through” nonmetallic and nonpolar materials to reveal any prohibited object from being transported past entry points at airports. Unlike x-rays, terahertz (THz) radiation is nonionizing radiation and is not hazardous to human tissue and DNA. It lies between the microwave and infrared radiation spectrum and historically has been ignored due to the limitations from the frequency being too high for electron motion in electronic devices. Transistors typically become inefficient 0.05 THz and have a frequency limit of 0.3 THz. A semiconductor laser can only go as low as 30 THz, leaving a gap in the THz range. Recently, researchers have combined the electronic and electro-optic devices in attempts to produce practical devices in the THz range. As a result, THz radiation is being explored for use in medical diagnostic imaging for epithelial cancer and tooth decay. Also, analytical chemistry analysis, communications, spectroscopy, and imaging applications are the expected areas where THz technology is expected to evolve.

This book on THz devices and applications is volume one of a two-volume set. This volume is on devices and is divided into two parts: solid-state electronic and vacuum electronic devices.

After reviewing the fundaments of THz technology, part I describes the behavior of the Schottky barrier, metal-insulator-metal, resonant tunneling diodes, electron diodes, heterojunction bipolar transistors, MOSFETs, and high-electron mobility transistors (HEMT). The second part covers the fundamentals of vacuum-based devices including traveling wave tubes (TWTs), backward wave oscillators, gyrotrons, and free electron lasers.

The book is written from a practical engineering perspective with an emphasis on device design at the THz frequency range, rather than theoretical mathematical solutions. The focus is on the behavior of these devices at THz frequency. The author assumes basic knowledge of these devices at lower frequencies and focuses on the behavior and challenges at higher frequencies. Closed form solutions are provided to give the reader an in-depth technical understanding of the fundamentals of each device. He uses these equations to illustrate the behavior at these high frequencies.

Engineers wanting to learn more about THz technology will enjoy reading this book. It provides the fundamentals of THz technology and will give the reader insight into the challenges of achieving practical THz applications.

Simulation of Complex Systems

A. Argun, A. Callegari, and G. Volpe IOP Publishing Ltd.
Temple Circus, Temple Way
Bristol, BS1 6HG, UK
Phone: +44 (0)117 929 7481
USA Office:
190 North Independence Mall West, Suite 601
Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA Phone: +01 215 627 0880 ISBN 978-0-7503-3843-1 120 pp., $95 (eBook), 2021

Modeling complex systems can help to predict outcomes that cannot be easily predicted. Complex systems can consist of the “interaction of individuals in a social network sending messages or sharing news with each other. In an ecosystem, some species hunt, others are hunted, others again compete for the same resources or establish mutualistic relationships. The neurons in a brain are connected by synapses, so that one neuron can excite or inhibit other neurons.”

This book uses numerical simulations to understand complex systems. It ex- plains numerical simulation techniques most often used to approach a variety of complex systems that are of fundamental importance in physics, biology, engineering, social sciences, and economics.

In addition to the use of numerical simulations for modeling and understanding phenomena for applications, numerical simulations are ideal tools for hands-on experience with complex systems.

Each chapter is an independent topic and does not require reading previous chapters to understand the material. Each chapter includes an introduction and the motivation for the topic, a description of relevant numerical approaches to the problem at hand with guided exercises, a list of references for further study, and practice problems. With the help of this book, it should be possible for readers to reach a level of proficiency, sufficient to perform these methods and create models for their applications.

The book begins with some basic topics that describe numerical simulation techniques that are of fundamental importance in physics and engineering (e.g., molecular dynamics, passive and active Brownian dynamics, anomalous diffusion, and multiplicative noise) and continues with more specialized topics in biology, engineering, and the social sciences. Some relevant topics, with excerpts paraphrased from the book, cover the following models.

Molecular dynamics are used to explore the thermodynamics of systems of interest in physics and biology especially for systems that use differential equations.

The Ising model provides a very versatile framework for a wide range of phenomena related to phase transitions, such as ferromagnetism and magnetization, and insights into critical fluctuations and Casimir forces.

The growth of a forest that experiences repeated occurrence of fires provides a natural tool with which to introduce concepts related to power-law distributions and self-organized criticality, which can be used to understand a broad range of phenomena.

Cellular automata are very powerful model systems used to study the emergence of complexity and statistical properties. Conwayʼs Game of Life is the most famous example of a cellular automaton, in which a set of simple deterministic rules operating in a simplified environment can lead to very complex behaviors—reminiscent of life.

Brownian dynamics is a fundamental numerical technique used to simulate the Brownian motion of microscopic particles and to explore the physics of microscopic systems. It also provides key insights into a broad range of applications—from ecology to finance.

Multiplicative noise occurs when the noise driving a system depends on the state of the system, for example, when the diffusion of a particle depends on the particle’s position. It plays an important and subtle role in a wide range of phenomena, from signal processing to population dynamics.

The emergence of collective phenomena, such as swarming, occurs in many biological systems, such as flocks of birds, schools of fish, and swarming bacteria. The Vicsek model is a classical model used to study the collective motion that emerges from local interactions between motile individuals.

In many real systems, sensory delays occur between the time at which a stimulus is received and when the ensuing action is performed. Such delays can greatly alter the way in which an agent (or a group of agents) behaves. Furthermore, sensory delays can be used as design parameters to control the agent’s behavior.

Networks (or graphs) are central in many fields, from physics and the neurosciences to ecology and sociology. Networks can be characterized by different measures. Several different network models have been proposed to explain the properties of networks found in real life.

Game theory is the study of how to get the best outcome in situations in which multiple agents are interacting. Several paradoxes are driven by the fact that the best outcome for the individual and that for the group are often at odds—the most famous being the prisonerʼs dilemma. Things become even more interesting when agents are allowed to play multiple times and evolve more beneficial strategies.

The Sugarscape is an agent-based social simulation, in which individuals (agents) and the environment (the sugar-producing landscape) interact through a set of rules. Similar models are often employed in sociology, for example, to understand the evolution of the social fabric of a society.

This book is written at a master’s degree and graduate student level, making it ideal for a course in modeling and simulation of complex systems as well as for self study.

Elegant Circuits—Simple Chaotic Oscillators

J. C. Sprott and W. J. Thio
World Scientific Publishing Co.
5 Toh Tuck Link
Singapore 596224
US Office:
27 Warren Street
Suite 401-402
Hackensack, NJ 07601 ISBN 978-981-123-999-1
356 pp., $128 (Hardcover), 2022

A chaotic circuit is a circuit that is nonperiodic and produces an oscillating waveform that, unlike an ordinary electronic oscillator, never repeats. This book shows you how to construct chaotic circuits for demonstration and to gain an understanding of the basics of chaotic circuits. The authors discuss various types of chaotic circuits that use the non-linear properties of various active electric components to produce different types of chaotic results. These circuits use diodes, transistor, tunneling diodes, thyristors, saturating amplifiers, analog multiplier circuits, nonlinear inductor circuits, and memristors.

Each circuit type is shown, and a comparison is made between theoretical results and experimental results ob- tained from constructing circuits from easily obtained electronic components. Example waveforms are given for each circuit.

This book would be of interest to researchers and hobbyists who want to build and test chaotic circuits. No applications are given, but there is research being done on communication circuits using chaotic circuits that can be explored.

Power System Protection, 2nd Edition

P. M. Anderson, C. Henville, R. Rifaat, B. Johnson, and S. Meliopoulos

IEEE Press
John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
111 River Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
ISBN 978-1-119-51314-8
1,450 pp., $250 (Hardcover), 2022

This book introduces power system protection methods from faults on the system that can lead to outages and the methods for detecting and clearing faults to restore the system to normal operation. This book focuses on the analytical techniques used to determine system conditions and the methods used to make fault detection fast and effective rather than attempting to discuss specific hardware produced by various manufacturers. It deals with overall system protection from transmission to distribution, with this second edition providing updated information on how the introduction of renewable sources has changed the analysis and how modern relays and digital controls have changed measurement detection and speed. Areas cover protective devices and controls, relay logic, protection concepts, apparatus protection, system aspects of protection, and reliability.

Like the first edition, published in 1998, this second edition contains six parts on power system protection. The second edition provides an update to each part, mainly because of the latest advancements in relay technology, introduction of renewables, new regulations, and digital controls. Some of the major highlights in this latest edition are as follows: Part 1, Protective Devices and Controls, contains the latest information on power quality and regulatory requirements, phasor measurement techniques using precise time applications, and the effect of inverter-based resources on network faults. New highlights from Part 2, Protection Concepts, discuss the latest methods for measuring directional ground overcurrent, and coordinating overcurrent relays measuring currents at different voltages. Part 3, Transmission Protection, presents new details on changes of methods used for distance relays, new techniques for line differential protection, and detection of secondary arc extinction causing single phase tripping and reclosing. Part 4, Apparatus Protection, includes protection of industrial systems, the latest advances in digital relays, and arc flash incident energy protection. Part 5, Systems Aspects of Protection, provides an overview of entire system protection and system stability with the introduction of voltage source converter (VSCs) protection and the protection of independent power producers connected to the grid. Part 6 covers Reliability of Protective Systems with similar content as in the first edition.

This book can provide protection engineers and power engineers, who use or specify protection equipment in power systems, especially those who are integrating renewable energy sources into the grid, with a comprehensive overview of the latest technologies and regulations used to analyze and develop a modern protection system for power grids.

“Your Life Is Short and Important”— A Conversation with Dr. Toshikatsu Tanaka

Now in his second retirement, Dr. Toshikatsu Tanaka finally has time to delve into Japanese history, practice tai chi, and reflect on his career. Not that he has stopped working; he is simply working a little less. In a conversation covering everything from Portuguese desserts to philosophy, we discussed his devotion to research and a passion for sharing knowledge. His is a career defined by scientific study and elevated by collaboration. While conducting internationally recognized research, he connected Japan’s scientists with the rest of the world, helping advance his country’s power industry, shining a light on their own research, and developing lifelong friendships along the way.

Evolution Rather than Revolution

While studying materials science and electrical engineering at Osaka University, Toshikatsu Tanaka was at a crossroads. It was the mid-1960s and many of his peers wanted to work as materials scientists for emerging electronics companies. He and his fellow students had received compelling offers in this field. Few were considering the power sector.

However, Japan’s power industry was also at an inflection point. The country needed more energy to fuel its rapid economic growth. Advanced materials like polymers were expected to be used in power cables and power apparatus. The opportunities seemed limitless.

At the time, Tanaka was studying under Professor Yoshio Inuishi, the man who would eventually be recognized as the father of the Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society of Japan. Under Inuishi’s guidance, Tanaka was researching radiation damage of silicon semiconductors. For Tanaka, energy versus electronics was a choice of “evolution rather than revolution.” Knowing he wanted the freedom to select his own areas of research and have time to think, he chose the evolutionary path of the electric power industry.

That choice served him well. Polymer research became the focus of his career. As a PhD student he researched the high field conduction of polyethylene, which would later be used as power cable insulation. He then spent 40 years at the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), Japan’s research center for the electric power sector, advancing from materials scientist to vice president, including work as the project leader on a 12-year, large-scale project on lithium battery systems.

While actively working at CRIEPI, and during his decade as a professor and researcher at Waseda University, Dr. Tanaka published over 500 science and engineering papers and received countless awards, including the Science and Technology Ministry Prize from the Japanese government, the IEEE’s Dakin Award, and the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan’s (IEEJ) Inuishi Award, named after the pioneering professor who helped him find his path in the power industry. Tanaka is also a Life Fellow with the IEEE and IEEJ and a Distinguished Member of IEEE DEIS.

A Bridge Between Societies

To assist his fellow researchers, Tanaka worked with his mentors to establish Japan’s Symposium on Electrical Insulating Materials (1968). They began inviting one or two colleagues every year from the United States and United Kingdom to share their knowledge with their Japanese peers who, at the time, were often unable to travel overseas. An English session was soon added and then English proceedings. This event eventually transformed into an international conference held every three years.

With his research and event outreach, Tanaka was quickly becoming a bridge between Japan and North America’s electrical insulation societies. As international collaboration increased, so too did the world’s interest in Japan’s research. Dr. Tanaka was soon nominated to write a regular series of articles on “Electrical Insulation News from Japan” for the IEEE DEIS Newsletter. He decided to “take the bait” and wrote the “Japan Corner” for 10 years, only stepping away when work obligations limited his time for regular contributions.

Interest in Japan’s research continued to grow. In 1986, Dr. Arend van Roggen, then editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, proposed a Japan Special Issue. Dr. Tanaka was one of two co-editors to collaborate on this edition.

Next, wanting to increase communication with other Asian countries, Dr. Tanaka proposed that the IEEJ develop an Asia-focused publication. His concept became reality with the magazine Electrical Insulation News in Asia, which he chaired for ten years.

“My life lies between the real and the virtual.”

While actively working, Dr. Tanaka saw the world through this lens: “No work, no life. No hobby, no work.” Now, in retirement, he sees it as, “No hobby, no life. Hobby is everything.”

One of those hobbies has roots in his “Japan Corner” days. Tanaka curates a monthly “senior” newsletter for his fellow retirees in the field of dielectrics and electrical insulation in Japan, sharing everything from industry news, poetry, paintings, and personal reflections. ZOOM meetings follow to discuss topics in more detail.

He explains his philosophy: “Work and hobby are like the front and back of a coin. They are like the real number and imaginary number in mathematics. They are like active power and reactive power in electric power transmission. They are like real and hollow (unreal) in tai chi. One does not exist without its counterpart. My life lies between the real and the virtual.”

“Your life is short and important.”

When speaking with Dr. Tanaka, it seems little could equal his dedication to research and commitment to international collaboration. That is, until he speaks about the next generation of the power industry.

“I’m getting old. And, the young people are still staying young,” laughs Tanaka. Yet he firmly believes that “future progress in electrical insulation sciences depends on the next generation of researchers.”

Knowing this, it is no surprise that Dr. Tanaka has loved working with PhD students and postdoctoral scholars from around the world. Throughout his career he has been a professor or research fellow in England (University of Salford, Lancashire), China (Xi’an Jiaotong University; Tianjin University), the United States (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and Japan (Kyushu University; Waseda University). His advice to his students is as follows:

“Don’t be involved in what has been fully investigated. Find out what is influential to your field and the world. Find out a new direction and open a new world to come… Science and engineering are long, while life is short. Don’t do what is not needed. Your life is short and important.”

Each short and important life can make an impact. If we are lucky, it is a life as extraordinary as the one being lived by Dr. Toshikatsu Tanaka.

Elizabeth Aragao is a writer and marketing consultant based in Boston, Massachusetts. She started her career writing, producing, and reporting the news. Her favorite pieces were always profiles of interesting people and unique places. She later spent nearly a decade working in the power industry, which uniquely prepared her for this assignment: interviewing members of IEEE DEIS for a series of feature articles. When she’s not writing, Liz works with a variety of businesses, from retail stores to independent movie theaters, on their marketing.