Roderick Bayliss wants to design more efficient and power-dense electronics, a step toward reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.
By developing high-performance power converters for the electronics that we use every day—from computers to cars and planes—he thinks that he can push past the current limits of electricity.
Packing more and more energy into tighter and tighter spaces is an ambitious goal, but Bayliss is up for the challenge, as he targets the bottlenecks in one component of electronics after another. Currently, as a PhD student in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, Bayliss is working with Robert Pilawa-Podgurski to improve power converters — devices that change the current, voltage or frequency of electric energy.
Bayliss has always been fascinated by the way energy moves through vehicles and other systems; one of his longtime passions is Formula One racing, and he has helped design new battery and traction systems for Electric Formula SAE cars. As an undergraduate and then master’s student in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bayliss developed new kinds of inductors, which store energy. He also focused on power electronics design during internships at Apple Inc., Tesla and SpaceX. At these companies, he was able to both shrink down the size of the electronics he worked on and reduce their cost.
Bayliss was born in Elmira, New York, but spent most of his childhood in Athens and Augusta, Georgia.