# The art and science

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### Introduction

Electronics is the art and science of getting electrons to move in the way we want to do useful work. An electron is a sub-atomic particle that carries a charge of energy. Each electron is so small that it can carry only a tiny bit of energy.

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The charge of electrons is measured in coulombs. One coulomb is the charge carried by 6,250,000,000,000,000,000 electrons. That’s 6.25 X 1018 electrons for you math whizzes. Every good electronics text begins with this definition. The term coulomb is rarely used past page 3 of electronics texts and almost never in the actual building of electronic circuits.

Electrons are a component of atoms. There are about 100 different kinds of atoms. Each different kind is called an element. Some elements have structures that hold tight to their electrons so that it is very hard to make the electrons move.

In science, technology, business, and, in fact, most other fields of endeavor, we are constantly dealing with quantities. Quantities are measured, monitored, recorded, manipulated arithmetically, observed, or in some other way utilized in most physical systems. It is important when dealing with various quantities that we be able to represent their values efficiently and accurately. There are basically two ways of representing the numerical value of quantities: analog and digital

Analogue/Analog[4] electronics are those electronic systems with a continuously variable signal. In contrast, in digital electronics signals usually take only two different levels. In analog representation a quantity is represented by a voltage, current, or meter movement that is proportional to the value of that quantity. Analog quantities such as those cited above have n important characteristic: they can vary over a continuous range of values.

In digital representation the quantities are represented not by proportional quantities but by symbols called digits. As an example, consider the digital watch, which provides the time of day in the form of decimal digits which represent hours and minutes (and sometimes seconds). As we know, the time of day changes continuously, but the digital watch reading does not change continuously; rather, it changes in steps of one per minute (or per second). In other words, this digital representation of the time of day changes in discrete steps, as compared with the representation of time provided by an analog watch, where the dial reading changes continuously.

Digital electronics that deals with “1s and 0s”, but that’s a vast oversimplification of the in and outs of “going digital. Digital electronics operates on the premise that all signals have two distinct levels. Depending on what types of devices are in use, the levels may be certain voltages or voltage ranges near the power supply level and ground. The meaning of those signal levels depends on the circuit design,