The Electrical Engineer of the year 2012

Professor, Adjunct Professor Leena Korpinen

Leena Korpinen is Professor of Energy and Process Engineering at Tampere University of Technology.

She is a long-time head of research in health issues relating to electrical engineering. She previously ran a laboratory for electrical engineering and health, until it was incorporated into the Department of Energy and Process Engineering as part of a university restructuring process and consolidation of academic activities in larger units. In research, she focuses on exposure to electric and magnetic fields in living and working environments as well as related health effects. The current topics of her research group include, for example, the effects of electromagnetic fields on cardiac pacemakers and implanted cardioverter defibrillators in the vicinity of 400 kV power lines and power stations.

Through the years, Leena Korpinen has greatly contributed to the provision of online study materials, some of which are still available on the Internet. An example is the series of E-Girls projects, which took place a few years ago, aimed at encouraging girls to study electrical engineering.
Leena Korpinen has enjoyed swift career progression in research. She completed a Master of Science in Technology at Tampere University of Technology in 1986 and a Licentiate of Medicine at the University of Tampere in 1989. In the area of electrical engineering, she chose to focus on electrical power engineering, completing a Licentiate of Science in Technology in 1990.

Having keen interest in both technology and medicine, Leena Korpinen undertook doctoral studies in the two fields. In 1993, she completed a Doctor of Medicine in neurology at the University of Tampere, and three years later, a Doctor of Science in Technology at Lappeenranta University of Technology. Technology and medicine were also brought together in her two dissertations. The one in medicine examined computer-aided decision making for epilepsy and sleep diagnosis, while the other, in electrical engineering, focused on the effects of short-term occupational exposure to electric and magnetic fields, especially on the heart.

Of the two interest areas, technology has gradually become the more prominent for Leena Korpinen. In 1995, she was appointed Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering, and in 1998, Professor. However, she never left the medical field either. She has been a licensed medical doctor since 1989 and an Adjunct Professor of Medical Technology at the University of Tampere since 1996. With the establishment of the laboratory for electrical engineering and health at Tampere University of Technology in early 2001 and the related changes to professorship, she found new opportunities to combine her two areas of expertise.

Recent research projects led by Leena Korpinen include:

  • Public exposure to broadband electric and magnetic fields
  • Occupational exposure to 110-kV electric and magnetic fieldsE
  • Effects of electric fields on cardiac pacemakers and cardioverter defibrillators

(Funded and commissioned by, for example, ABB, Finnish Energy, Fingrid, Finnish Electricity Association Sener, the Finnish association for promotion of electrical safety STEK, and energy companies such as Fortum, Helen, Wattenfall and Pohjolan Voima.)

Leena Korpinen has published books related to her core competences as well as a large number of articles in both Finnish and foreign scientific publications. She is also actively involved in standardization.