The horseshoe, the water wheel, the windmill, the steam engine ... systems for energy transport and power conversion have always been at the forefront of human imagination. Rooted in that tradition, modern electrical power converters have evolved through the interplay of historical, social, environmental and technological factors, among others. We use careful empirical study, reinforced with analytical modeling to elucidate the role of these factors in determining the shape and form of electrical power converters. Thus, we are able to optimize power converter systems for the future. Our research program covers the major aspects of electrical power conversion systems in different application areas including solar energy, wind energy, battery energy storage, transportation systems, industrial drives and processes, microgrids and utility power distribution. I focus on pragmatic design and practice-oriented analytical studies couped with experimental work that is rooted in the Wisconsin Idea with a deep committment to technology equity.