Small Comment - Big Impact

Twenty years ago, two EMC engineers decided to run a unique experiment on a 10-meter Open Area Test Site that was being constructed in Minnesota. They ran a series of Normalized Site Attenuation studies on the plastic-enclosure site, first with the ground screen unterminated and, second, with the ground screen terminated into earth on three sides of the ground screen. The results of the study were that (1) the ground screen should be terminated into earth along its entire perimeter, if possible and (2) unterminated edges result in anomalies in the site attenuation curves.
The EMC engineers co-authored a paper on the results and published it in the 1989 IEEE National Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility (held in Denver, Colorado, from May 23-25, 1989) under the title “The Effects of Ground Screen Termination on OATS Site Attenuation.” The authors were John Maas and Daniel Hoolihan.
The paper did not win a Nobel Prize, nor did it win a Best Paper award of the Symposium. However, the authors were proud of the paper and talked about it frequently when they were sleepwalking at night.
Fast forward to 2006: The EMC Society Board of Directors held one of its periodic meetings in May of 2006 and the location was Hannover, Germany. As part of the overall meeting, a tour of Professor Heyno Garbe’s laboratories was arranged at the University of Hannover. During this tour, a young Ph.D. student, Sven Batterman, was explaining his work on his thesis which involved a 1-meter model of a 10-meter Open Area Test Site. During his explanation, he mentioned a paper by “Maas” on ground screen terminations and how important it was to terminate the ground screen. After an initial “shock and awe” period of time, a member of the Board asked the student if he remembered the co-author of the article. Pausing slightly, Batterman responded “Hooligan?” After much laughter, Dan HOOLIHAN, a member of the Board, introduced himself as the co-author and a lively discussion was held on the paper and the Ph.D. thesis that Sven Batterman was working on.
Returning to Minnesota, Hoolihan took great delight in informing Mr. Maas that a paper they had co-authored some 17 years earlier was being used as part of a young student’s Ph.D. thesis.
The accompanying picture to this article shows the three principals of this little story in Detroit, Michigan last year at the 2008 IEEE International Symposium on EMC. It was the first time all three individuals had an opportunity to meet and discuss technical issues with one another. EMC


Sven Batterman, a Ph.D. student at the University of Hannover, is flanked by Dan Hoolihan on the left and John Maas on the right. Sven won eternal glory by referencing a 1989 paper co-authored by Hoolihan and Maas in his Ph.D. thesis.


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