IEEE Milestone Showcase

 

HERE’S YOUR VIDEO CHALLENGE…


1) You can either :
  a) choose a milestone from the list below of established IEEE History Milestones OR
  b) futurecast a milestone that you think will happen in the next 10 years of technical innovation

2) Record a short video describing the milestone. It must be 60 seconds or less, in mov or mp4 format, no larger than 1 GB, and in the English
language. For the IEEE History Milestones, you must use the script provided below to qualify.

3) Submit your video by 15 July! Submissions after this date may be disqualified.  See full contest rules for more details.

Milestone

Year

Region

Section

Script

World’s First Low-Loss Optical Fiber for Telecommunications, 1970

1970

1

Rochester

 

In 1970, Corning scientists and IEEE members Dr. Robert Maurer, Dr. Peter Schultz, and Dr. Donald Keck developed a highly pure optical glass that effectively transmitted light signals over long distances. This astounding medium, which is thinner than a human hair, revolutionized global communications. By 2011, the world depended upon the continuous transmission of voice, data, and video along more than 1.6 billion kilometers of optical fiber installed around the globe.

Whirlwind Computer, 1944-59

1944

1

Boston

 

The Whirlwind computer was developed between 1945-1959 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, under the direction of IEEE Fellow Jay Forrester. It was the first real-time high-speed digital computer using random-access magnetic-core memory. Whirlwind featured outputs displayed on a CRT, and a light pen to write data on the screen. Whirlwindʼs success led to the United States Air Forceʼs Semi Automatic Ground Environment – SAGE – system and to many business computers and minicomputers.

Weston Meters, 1887-1893

1887

1

North Jersey

 

Between 1888 and 1889, Edward Weston, the 4th president of AIEE, which was the predecessor of IEEE, and the Weston Electrical Instrument Company introduced the first portable and direct-reading current and voltage meters in 1888-1893. Weston’s inventions enabling these meters included: the first truly permanent magnets; temperature-insensitive conductors; low-resistance and non-magnetic springs; metal coil frames where induced eddy currents provided pointer damping in1887; the electric shunt in 1893 for the measurement of large currents; and multiple current ranges in a single meter.

Two-Way Police Radio Communication, 1933

1933

1

North Jersey

 

In 1933, the police department in Bayonne, New Jersey initiated regular two-way communications with its patrol cars, a major advance over previous one-way systems. The very high frequency system developed by radio engineer and IEEE member Frank A. Gunther and station operator Vincent J. Doyle placed transmitters in patrol cars to enable patrolmen to communicate with headquarters and other cars instead of just receiving calls. Two-way police radio became standard throughout the country following the success of the Bayonne system.

Trans-Atlantic Telephone Fiber-Optic Submarine Cable (TAT-8), 1988

1988

1

New Jersey

Coast

 

TAT-8, the first fiber-optic cable to cross an ocean, entered service 14 December 1988. TAT-8 was the first transatlantic cable to use optical fibers, a revolution in telecommunications. It had a capacity equivalent to 40,000 telephone circuits which was ten times the capacity of the last copper cable. Several new technologies had to be developed which were beyond those for land applications. AT&T, British Telecom, and France Telecom led the consortium that built TAT-8, which spanned a seabed distance of 5,846 km between North America and Europe.

TIROS-1 Television Infrared Observation Satellite, 1960

1960

1

Princeton/Central Jersey

 

In 1960, the National Aeronautical and Space Administration launched TIROS I, the world’s first meteorological satellite, to capture and transmit video images of the Earth’s weather patterns. RCA staff at Defense Electronics Products, the David Sarnoff Research Center, and Astro-Electronics Division designed and constructed the satellite and ground station systems. TIROS I pioneered meteorological and environmental satellite television for an expanding array of purposes.

 

Thomas Alva Edison Historic Site at Menlo Park, 1876

 

 

1876

 

 

1

 

Princeton/
Central Jersey

 

Between 1876 and 1882 at Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison, an IEEE member, developed the world’s first industrial research and development laboratory devoted to developing new technology. At this laboratory Edison and his staff developed the first system of incandescent electric lighting and electric power generation, and invented recorded sound and a commercially successful telephone transmitter.

Thomas A. Edison West Orange Laboratories and Factories, 1887

1887

1

North Jersey

 

Thomas Alva Edison, an IEEE member, established his final and most comprehensive laboratory and factory complex in 1887 in West Orange, NJ. Edison’s vision to combine basic and applied research, development, and manufacturing in one organization became the prototype for industrial enterprises worldwide. Work here resulted in more than half of Edison’s 1,093 patents.

The First Two-Dimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI), 1973

1973

1

Long Island

 

Researchers at Stony Brook University produced the first two-dimensional image using nuclear magnetic resonance in 1973.The proton distribution of the object, a test tube of water, was distinctly encoded using magnetic field gradients. This achievement was a major advance for the MRI and paved the way for its worldwide usage as a noninvasive method to examine body tissue for disease detection.

Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) 1951-1958

1951

1

Boston

 

In 1951 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology undertook the development of an air defense system for the United States. The centerpiece of this defense system was a large digital computer originally developed at MIT. The MIT Lincoln Laboratory was formed to carry out the initial development of this system and the first of some 23 SAGE control centers was completed in 1958. SAGE was the forerunner of today’s digital computer networks.

Power System of Boston’s Rapid Transit, 1889

1889

1

Boston

 

Boston was the first city to build electric traction for a large-scale rapid transit system. The engineering challenge to design and construct safe, economically viable, and reliable electric power for Boston’s rapid transit was met by the West End Street Railway Company, beginning in 1889. The company’s pioneering efforts provided an important impetus to the adoption of mass transit systems nationwide.

Pearl Street Station, 1882

1882

1

New York

 

Thomas Alva Edison, an IEEE Member, established the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of New York, now Consolidated Edison, to commercialize his 1879 incandescent lamp invention. On 4 September 1882, Edison’s direct current (dc) generating station at 257 Pearl Street, began supplying electricity to customers in the First District, a one-quarter square mile (0.65 square km) area. This installation was the forerunner of all central electric generating stations.

Monochrome-Compatible Electronic Color Television, 1946-1953

1946

1

Princeton/
Central Jersey

 

Between 1946 and 1950 the research staff of RCA Laboratories, supported by IEEE member David Sarnoff, invented the world’s first electronic, monochrome- compatible, color television system. They worked with other engineers in the industry for three years to develop a national analog standard based on this system, which lasted until the transition to digital broadcasting.

MIT Radiation Laboratory, 1940-1945

1940

1

Boston

 

The MIT Radiation Laboratory, operated between 1940 and 1945, advanced the allied war effort by making fundamental contributions to the design and deployment of microwave radar systems. Used on land, sea, and in the air, in many adaptations, radar was a decisive factor in the outcome of the conflict. The laboratory’s 3900 employees made lasting contributions to microwave theory and technology, operational radar, systems engineering, long-range navigation, and control equipment.

Loran, 1940 – 1946

1940

1

 

 

The rapid development of Loran — long range navigation — under wartime conditions at MIT’s Radiation Lab was not only a significant engineering feat but also transformed navigation, providing the world’s first near-real-time positioning information. Beginning in June 1942, the United States Coast Guard helped develop, install and operate Loran until 2010.

 

 

Liquid Crystal Display, 1968

 

 

1968

 

 

1

 

Princeton/
Central Jersey

 

Between 1964 and 1968, at the RCA David Sarnoff Research Center in Princeton, New Jersey, a team of engineers and scientists led by IEEE member George H. Heilmeier with Louis A. Zanoni and Lucian A. Barton, devised a method for electronic control of light reflected from liquid crystals and demonstrated the first liquid crystal display. Their work launched a global industry that now produces millions of LCDs annually for watches, calculators, flat-panel displays in televisions, computers and instruments.

Largest Private (dc) Generating Plant in the U.S.A., 1929

1929

1

New York

 

The Direct Current (dc) generating plant installed at the New Yorker Hotel in 1929, capable of supplying electric power sufficient for a city of 35,000 people, was the largest private generating plant in the U.S.A. Steam engines drove electric generators, with exhaust steam used for heating and other facilities. The installation used more than two hundred dc motors, and was controlled from a seven-foot or two-meter high, by sixty-foot or eighteen-meter long switchboard.

Invention of the First Transistor at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 1947

1947

1

North Jersey

 

From 17 November to 23 December 1947, Walter H. Brattain and John A. Bardeen — under the direction of William B. Shockley, all Honorary IEEE Members– discovered the transistor effect, and developed and demonstrated a point-contact germanium transistor. This led directly to developments in solid-state devices that revolutionized the electronics industry and changed the way people around the world lived, learned, worked, and played.

Interactive Video Games, 1966

1966

1

New Hampshire

 

The “Brown Box” console, developed at Sanders Associates – later BAE Systems – between 1966 and 1968, was the first interactive video game system to use an ordinary home television set. Ralph Baer, IEEE member known as “the father of video games”, developed this groundbreaking device and the production-engineered version Magnavox Odyssey game system (1972) spawned the commercialization of interactive console video games, which became a multi-billion dollar industry.

IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, 1960 – 1984

1960

1

New York

 

In its first quarter century, the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center produced numerous seminal advances having sustained worldwide impact in electrical engineering and computing. Semiconductor device innovations include dynamic random access memory (DRAM), superlattice crystals, and field effect transistor (FET) scaling laws. Computing innovations include reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture, integer programming, amorphous magnetic films for optical storage technology, and thin-film magnetic recording heads.

Grumman Lunar Module, 1962-1972

1962

1

Long Island

 

The Grumman Lunar Module, which was the first vehicle to land man on an extraterrestrial body, the Moon. Because it was designed to fly solely in space, its design, construction and testing continuously pushed the technology envelope for lightweight metals and unique electrical and electronic systems resulting in one of the most important and successful engineering achievements of mankind. Many IEEE members were part of this effort.

Grand Central Terminal Electrification, 1906-1913

1906

1

New York

 

Grand Central Terminal, in continuous use since 1913, was the first large-scale railroad electrification project, a development that enabled it to become a major railroad terminal. The design of the Terminal included several notable achievements in the field of electric traction such as innovative designs of electric locomotives, multiple unit (MU) control of electric rolling stock and the pioneering use of underrunning third rail.

French Transatlantic Telegraph Cable of 1898

1898

1

Providence

 

 

The submarine telegraph cable known as Le Direct provided communication between Europe and North America without intermediate relaying. In a remarkable feat of oceanic engineering, the cable was laid in the deepest waters of the Atlantic Ocean between Brest, France, and Orleans, Massachusetts. When completed in 1898 by La Compagnie Francaise des Cables Telegraphiques, it spanned 3174 nautical miles (5878 km), making it the longest and heaviest cable in service.

FM Police Radio Communication, 1940

1940

1

Connecticut

 

A major advance in police radio occurred in 1940 when the Connecticut state police began operating a two-way, frequency modulated (FM) system in Hartford. The statewide system developed by Daniel E. Noble of the University of Connecticut, and IEEE Member after whom the IEEE Daniel E. Noble Award was named, along with engineers at the Fred M. Link Company greatly reduced static, the main problem of the amplitude modulated (AM) system. FM mobile radio became standard throughout the country following the success of the Connecticut system.

First Wireless Radio Broadcast by Reginald A. Fessenden, 1906

1906

1

Boston

 

On 24 December 1906, the first radio broadcast for entertainment and music was transmitted from Brant Rock, Massachusetts to the general public. This pioneering broadcast was achieved after years of development work by Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932), IEEE Medal of Honor recipient, who built a complete system of wireless transmission and reception using amplitude modulation (AM) of continuous electromagnetic waves. This technology was a revolutionary departure from transmission of dots and dashes widespread at the time.

First Transatlantic Transmission of a Television Signal via Satellite, 1962

1962

1

Maine

 

On 11 July 1962 the Andover Earth Station transmitted the first transatlantic TV signal to a twin station in Pleumeur-Bodou, France via the TELSTAR satellite. The success of TELSTAR and the earth stations, the first built for active satellite communications, illustrated the potential of a future world-wide satellite system to provide communications between continents.

First Real-Time Speech Communication on Packet Networks, 1974 – 1982

1974

1

Boston

 

In August 1974, the first real-time speech communication over a packet-switched network was demonstrated via ARPANET between MIT Lincoln Laboratory and USC Information Sciences Institute. By 1982, these technologies enabled Internet packet speech and conferencing linking terrestrial, packet radio, and satellite networks. This work in real-time network protocols and speech coding laid the foundation for voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) communications and related applications including Internet videoconferencing. Leonard Kleinrock, IEEE member, was an instrumental part of this effort.

First Optical Fiber Laser and Amplifier, 1961-1964

1961

1

Worcester County

 

In 1961, IEEE member Elias Snitzer and colleagues constructed and operated the world’s first optical fiber laser in the former American Optical complex. Three years later this team demonstrated the first optical fiber amplifier. Fiber lasers that can cut and weld steel have since become powerful industrial tools and fiber amplifiers routinely boost signals in the global optical fiber network allowing messages to cross oceans and continents without interruption.

First Intelligible Voice Transmission over Electric Wire, 1876

1876

1

Boston

 

The first transmission of intelligible speech over electrical wires took place on 10 March 1876. Inventor and IEEE member Alexander Graham Bell called out to his assistant Thomas Watson, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you.” This transmission took place in their attic laboratory located in a near here at 5 Exeter Place.

First Blind Takeoff, Flight and Landing, 1929

1929

1

Long Island

 

On 24 September 1929, the first blind takeoff, flight and landing occurred at Mitchel Field, Garden City, NY in a Consolidated NY-2 biplane piloted by Lt. James Doolittle. Equipped with specially designed radio and aeronautical instrumentation, it represented the cooperative efforts of many organizations, mainly the Guggenheim Fund’s Full Flight Laboratory, U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Sperry Gyroscope Company, Kollsman Instrument Company and Radio Frequency Laboratories.

Electric Fire Alarm System, 1852

1852

1

Boston

 

On 28 April 1852 the first municipal electric fire alarm system using call boxes with automatic signaling to indicate the location of a fire was placed into operation in Boston. Invented by William Channing and Moses Farmer, honorary IEEE member, this system was highly successful in reducing property loss and deaths due to fire and was subsequently adopted throughout the United States and in Canada.

Development of Information Theory, 1939-1967

1939

1

Boston

 

The mathematical principles of Information Theory, laid down by Claude Elwood Shannon, IEEE member over the period 1939-1967, set in motion a revolution in communication system engineering. They quantified the concept of information, established fundamental limits in the representation and reliable transmission of information, and revealed the architecture of systems for approaching them. Today, Information Theory continues to provide the foundation for advances in information collection, storage, distribution, and processing.

Demonstration of Practical Telegraphy, 1838

1838

1

North Jersey

 

In this building in January 1838, Samuel F. B. Morse and Alfred Vail first demonstrated publicly crucial elements of their telegraph system, using instruments that Vail had constructed during the previous months. Electrical pulses, transmitted through two miles of wire, caused an electromagnet to ink dots and dashes (grouped to represent letters and words) on a strip of paper. Commercialization began in 1844 when funding became available.

Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 1925-1983

1925

1

North Jersey

Bell Labs, whose parent organization is the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) founded by IEEE member Alexander Graham Bell, transformed the way people communicate at work and home through the invention and development of many technical innovations that were necessary for the modern telecommunication systems and other advanced technologies. From its founding in 1925, Bell Telephone Laboratories made numerous significant contributions to telecommunications and related fields that led to the information age and the digital era. Some of these contributions include: information theory, systems engineering, digital signal processing, digital transmission and switching, data networking, cellular systems, (800) service, the transistor, solar cell, integrated circuit technology, communication satellites, high capacity undersea cable, touch-tone dialing, voice and video compression, and the Unix operating system.

Apollo Guidance Computer, 1962-1972

1962

1

Boston

 

The Apollo Guidance Computer provided spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control during all of NASA’s Apollo Moon missions. It was developed between 1962 and 1972 under the leadership of IEEE member Dr. Charles Stark Draper at the MIT Instrumentation Lab – now Draper Laboratory. This pioneering digital flight computer was the first real-time embedded computing system to collect data automatically and provide mission-critical calculations for the Apollo Command Module and Lunar Module.

American Standard Code for Information Interchange ASCII, 1963

1963

1

New Jersey Coast

 

ASCII, a character-encoding scheme originally based on the Latin alphabet, became the most common character encoding on the World Wide Web through 2007. ASCII is the basis of most modern character-encoding schemes. In 1963, the American Standards Association X3.2 subcommittee published the first edition of the ASCII standard in 1963. Its first widespread commercial implementation was in the American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) Teletypewriter eXchange network and Teletype Model 33 teleprinters.

Alternating-Current Electrification of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, 1907

1907

1

Connecticut

 

In 1907, the Alternating-Current Electrification of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad was a pioneering venture in mainline railroad electrification. It established single-phase alternating current as a technical and economical alternative to direct current. This concept exerted considerable influence over subsequent systems both in the United States and abroad. The major components of the system were developed by the engineering staffs of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company of East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Alternating Current Electrification, 1886

1886

1

Berkshire

 

On 20 March 1886 William Stanley. AIEE Edison Medal Recipient, provided alternating current electrification to offices and stores on Main Street in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He thus demonstrated the first practical system for providing electrical illumination using alternating current with transformers to adjust voltage levels of the distribution system.

Alexanderson Radio Alternator, 1904

1904

1

Schenectady

 

The Alexanderson radio alternator was a high-power, radio-frequency source which provided reliable transoceanic radiotelegraph communication during and after World War I. Ernst F.W. Alexanderson, an IEEE member, IEEE Medal of Honor winner, and General Electric engineer, designed radio alternators with a frequency range to 100 kHz and a power capability from 2 kW to 200 kW. These machines, developed during the period 1904 to 1918, were used in research on high-frequency properties of materials as well as for international communications.

Adams Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1895

1895

1

Buffalo

 

When the Adams Plant went into operation on August 26, 1895, it represented a key victory for alternating-current systems over direct-current. The clear advantage of high voltage AC for long distance power transmission and the unprecedented size of the plant (it reached its full capacity of ten 5,000-HP generators in May 1900) influenced the future of the electrical industry worldwide.

Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA, 1920

1920

2

Pittsburgh

Westinghouse Radio Station KDKA was a world pioneer of commercial radio broadcasting. Transmitting with a power of 100 watts on a wavelength of 360 meters, KDKA began scheduled programming with the Harding-Cox Presidential election returns on November 2, 1920. A shed, housing studio and transmitter, was atop the K Building of the Westinghouse East Pittsburgh works. Conceived by C.P. Davis, broadcasting as a public service evolved from IEEE member Frank Conrad’s weekly experimental broadcasts over his amateur radio station 8XK, attracting many regular listeners who had wireless receiving sets.

Westinghouse Atom Smasher, 1937

1937

2

Pittsburgh

The five million volt van de Graaff generator represents the first large-scale program in nuclear physics established in industry. Constructed by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1937, it made possible precise measurements of nuclear reactions and provided valuable research experience for the company’s pioneering work in nuclear power.

US Naval Computing Machine Laboratory, 1942-1945

1942

2

Dayton

In 1942, the United States Navy joined with the National Cash Register Company to design and manufacture a series of code-breaking machines. This project was located at the U.S. Naval Computing Machine Laboratory in Building 26, in Dayton, Ohio. The machines built here, including the American “Bombes”, incorporated advanced electronics and significantly influenced the course of World War II.

Manufacture of Transistors, 1951

1951

2

Lehigh Valley

The commercial manufacture of transistors began in Lehigh Valley, PA, in October 1951. Smaller, more efficient, and more reliable than the vacuum tubes they replaced, transistors revolutionized the electronics industry.

Mainline Electrification of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 1895

1895

2

Baltimore

On 27 June 1895, at the nearby Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland, the B&O demonstrated the first electrified main line railroad, and commercial operation began four days later. The electrification involved designing, engineering, and constructing electric locomotives far more powerful than any then existing and creating innovative electric power generation and distribution facilities. This pioneering achievement became a prototype for later main line railroad electrification.

First Technical Meeting of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1884

1884

2

Philadelphia

As part of the landmark International Electrical Exhibition organized by the Franklin Institute and held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1884, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, a predecessor of IEEE, held its first conference on 7-8 October 1884. This meeting was the first formal technical conference on electrical engineering held in the United States. And it’s why we are celebrating IEEE Day today!

First Atomic Clock, 1948

1948

2

Washington

The first atomic clock, developed near Washington, DC by Harold Lyons (IRE Fellow) at the National Bureau of Standards, revolutionized timekeeping by using transitions of the ammonia molecule as its source of frequency. Far more accurate than previous clocks, atomic clocks quickly replaced the Earth’s rotational rate as the reference for world time. Atomic clock accuracy made possible many new technologies, including the Global Positioning System (GPS).

Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, 1946

1946

2

Philadelphia

A major advance in the history of computing occurred at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946 when engineers put the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) into operation. Designed and constructed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering under a U. S. Army contract during World War II, the ENIAC established the practicality of large scale, electronic digital computers and strongly influenced the development of the modern, stored-program, general-purpose computer.

Book “Experiments and Observations on Electricity” by Benjamin Franklin, 1751

1751

2

Philadelphia

In April 1751 the Royal Society published Benjamin Franklin’s book, “Experiments and Observations on Electricity: Made in Philadelphia in America.” A collection of letters to London’s Peter Collinson, it described Franklin’s ideas about the nature of electricity and how electrical devices worked, and new experiments to investigate lightning. This book led to a better understanding of charges, stimulated Franklin’s work on lightning rods, and made him an internationally known figure.

Birthplace of the Bar Code, 1948

1948

2

Philadelphia

In an attempt to automate the reading of product information in a local grocery store, IEEE member Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph Woodland at the Drexel Institute of Technology developed a solution that became the ubiquitous Barcode Identification System. Patented in 1952, the Barcode has become a key technology for product identification and inventory control in industry and daily life.

Richmond Union Passenger Railway, 1888

1888

3

Richmond

In February 1888, the electric street railway system designed by IEEE member Frank Julian Sprague for the Richmond Union Passenger Railway began operating in Richmond, Virginia. Sprague’s Richmond system became the lasting prototype for electric street railways because of its large-scale practicality and operating superiority. This system, which combined Sprague’s engineering innovations with other proven technical features, helped shape urban growth worldwide.

First Central Station in South Carolina, 1882

1882

3

Coastal South Carolina

The United States Electric Illuminating Company of Charleston started up South Carolina’s first central station for incandescent lighting in October 1882 — only one month after IEEE member Thomas Edison opened his famous Pearl Street plant in New York City. In the following years, the company’s parent firm was a major force in the growing electrical industry.

Electronic Technology for Space Rocket Launches, 1950-1969

1950

3

Canaveral

The demonstrated success in space flight is the result of electronic technology developed at Cape Canaveral, the J. F. Kennedy Space Center, and other sites, and applied here. A wide variety of advances in radar tracking, data telemetry, instrumentation, space-to-ground communications, on-board guidance, and real-time computation were employed to support the U.S. space program. These and other electronic developments provided infrastructure necessary for the successful landing of men on the moon in July 1969 and their safe return to earth.

World’s First Reliable High Voltage Power Fuse, 1909

1909

4

Chicago

In 1909 Edmund O. Schweitzer, IEEE member, and Nicholas J. Conrad developed an extremely reliable high voltage power fuse which used an arc-extinguishing liquid to assure proper interruption of short circuits. These fuses, later manufactured at this location, played a major role in the adoption of outdoor distribution substations, and the technology remains a central component of electrical transmission and distribution systems today.

Vulcan Street Plant, 1882

1882

4

Northeastern Wisconsin

Near Appleton, Wisconsin, USA on September 30, 1882, the world’s first hydroelectric central station began operation. The station was known as the Vulcan Street Plant and had a direct current generator capable of lighting 250 sixteen candle power lamps each equivalent to 50 watts. The generator operated at 110 volts and was driven through gears and belts by a water wheel operating under a ten foot fall of water.

Superconducting Magnet System for the Fermilab Tevatron Accelerator/Collider, 1973-1985

1973

4

Chicago

Between 1973 – 1985, in Batavia, Illinois, the first large-scale use of superconducting magnets enabled the construction of the Tevatron. By 1985, the Tevatron achieved energy above 1 Tera electron-volt (TeV) in proton-antiproton collisions, making it the most powerful particle collider in the world until 2009. The Tevatron construction established the superconducting wire manufacturing infrastructure that made applications such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) viable.

Single-element Unidirectional Microphone – Shure Unidyne, 1939

1939

4

Chicago

In 1939, Shure Incorporated introduced the Unidyne microphone. Using the Uniphase acoustical system, the patented Unidyne was the first microphone to provide directional characteristics using a single dynamic element. This breakthrough offered lower cost, greater reliability and improved performance for communication and public address systems. Shure Unidyne microphones are still manufactured and used worldwide in numerous audio applications.

One-Way Police Radio Communication, 1928

1928

4

Southeastern Michigan

At this site on April 7, 1928 the Detroit Police Department commenced regular one-way radio communication with its patrol cars. Developed by personnel of the department’s radio bureau, the system was the product of seven years of experimentation under the direction of police commissioner, William P. Rutledge. Their work proved the practicality of land-mobile radio for police work and led to its adoption throughout the country.

Long-Range Shortwave Voice Transmissions from Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition, 1934

1934

4

Cedar Rapids

Beginning 3 February 1934, Vice Admiral and IEEE member Richard E. Byrd’s Antarctic Expedition transmitted news releases to New York via short-wave radio voice equipment. From New York, the US nationwide CBS network broadcast the news releases to the public. Previous expeditions had been limited to dot-dash telegraphy, but innovative equipment from the newly formed Collins Radio Company made this long-range voice transmission feasible.

First Wearable Cardiac Pacemaker, 1957-1958

1957

4

Twin Cities

During the winter of 1957-58, IEEE member Earl E. Bakken developed the first wearable transistorized pacemaker, the request of heart surgeon, Dr. C. Walton Lillehei. As earlier pacemakers were AC-powered, this battery-powered device liberated patients from their power-cord tethers. The wearable pacemaker was a significant step in the evolution to fully-implantable units.

Atanasoff-Berry Computer, 1939

1939

4

Central Iowa

John Vincent Atanasoff conceived basic design principles for the first electronic-digital computer in the winter of 1937 and, assisted by his graduate student, IEEE member Clifford E. Berry, constructed a prototype here in October 1939. It used binary numbers, direct logic for calculation, and a regenerative memory. It embodied concepts that would be central to the future development of computers.

Virginia Smith High-Voltage Direct-Current Converter Station, 1988

1988

5

Denver

Built by Siemens, owned and operated by Western Area Power Administration (US DOE), the 200 MW HVDC Virginia Smith Converter Station near Sidney, Nebraska, connected the eastern and western U.S. grids. Its core technology is an all solid-state converter with integrated steady-state, dynamic, and transient voltage control up to its full rating. The station was an important advance in HVDC technology and cost-effectiveness.

Transcontinental Telegraph, 1861

1861

5

Denver

Between July 4 and October 24, 1861, a telegraph line was constructed by the Western Union Company between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California, thereby completing the first high-speed communications link between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. This service met the critical demand for fast communications between these two areas. The telegraph line operated until May 1869, when it was replaced by a multi-wire system constructed with the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railway lines.

Taum Sauk Pumped-Storage Electric Power Plant, 1963

1963

5

Saint Louis

The Taum Sauk Plant, when it came on-line in 1963, was the largest pure pumped-storage electric power plant in North America. Other pioneering features for this pumped-storage plant were its high capacity turbine-generators and its ability to be operated remotely, 90 miles away, from St. Louis, Missouri.

Speak & Spell, the First Use of a Digital Signal Processing IC for Speech Generation, 1978

1978

5

Dallas

In December 1976, IEEE member Richard Wiggins demonstrated the Speak & Spell concept to IEEE members Paul Breedlove, Larry Brantingham, and Gene Frantz in Texas Instruments’ Dallas research laboratory. This group led the team that created Speak & Spell in April 1978. The key device was the industry’s first digital signal processing integrated processor, the TMS5100. This innovation in audio processing began the huge digital signal processing consumer market.

Shoshone Transmission Line, 1909

1909

5

Denver

July 17, 1909, the Shoshone Transmission Line began service carrying power, generated by the Shoshone Hydroelectric Generating Station, to Denver. The Line operated at 90 kV, was 153.4 miles long, and crossed the Continental Divide three times reaching an altitude of 13,500 feet. Its design and construction represented an outstanding electrical engineering accomplishment due to its length, the mountainous country over which it was constructed, and the unusually severe weather conditions under which it operated.

Merrill Wheel-Balancing System, 1945

1945

5

Denver

In 1945, Marcellus Merrill first implemented an electronic dynamic wheel-balancing system. Previously, all mechanical methods were static in nature and required removing the wheels from the vehicle. Merrill’s innovative balancing system came to be widely used internationally. Elements of the dynamic balancing systems are still used today, primarily for industrial and automotive production applications.

Mercury Spacecraft MA-6, 1962

1962

5

Saint Louis

Col. John Glenn, piloted the Mercury Friendship 7 spacecraft in the first United States human-orbital flight on 20 February 1962. Electrical and electronic systems invented by McDonnell Aircraft engineers, including IEEE members, made his and future spaceflights possible. Among the key contributions were navigation and control instruments, autopilot, rate stabilization and control, and fly-by-wire (FBW) systems.

Georgetown Steam Hydro Generating Plant, 1900

1900

5

Denver

Electric generating plants, through their high-voltage lines, provided critical power to the isolated mines in this region. Georgetown, completed in 1900, was unusual in employing both steam and water power. Its owner, United Light and Power Company, was a pioneer in using three-phase, 60-Hertz alternating current and in being interconnected with other utilities.

First Semiconductor Integrated Circuit (IC), 1958

1958

5

Dallas

On 12 September 1958, IEEE member Jack S. Kilby demonstrated the first working integrated circuit to managers at Texas Instruments. This was the first time electronic components were integrated onto a single substrate. This seminal device consisted of a phase shift oscillator circuit on a tiny bar of germanium measuring 7/16” by 1/16” (11.1 mm by 1.6 mm). Today, integrated circuits are the fundamental building blocks of virtually all electronic equipment.

Ames Hydroelectric Generating Plant, 1891

1891

5

Pikes Peak

Electricity produced in Ames, CO, USA in the spring of 1891 was transmitted 2.6 miles over rugged and at times inaccessible terrain to provide power for operating the motor-driven mill at the Gold King Mine. This pioneering demonstration of the practical value of transmitting electrical power was a significant precedent in the United States for much larger plants at Niagara Falls (in 1895) and elsewhere. Electricity at Ames was generated at 3000 volts, 133 Hertz, single-phase AC, by a 100-hp Westinghouse alternator.

16-bit Monolithic DAC, 1981

1981

5

Dallas

In early 1982, Burr-Brown Research Corporation, later part of Texas Instruments, Inc., demonstrated a 16-bit monolithic digital-to-analog converter. Coupled with earlier compact disc development by Philips and Sony, it enabled affordable high-quality compact disc players, helped transform music distribution and playback from analog phonograph records to digital compact discs, and ushered in digital media playback.

TPC-1 Transpacific Cable System, 1964

1964

6
10

Hawaii

The transpacific undersea coaxial telephone cable system linking Japan, Hawaii, and the U.S. mainland became operational in 1964. President Lyndon Johnson and Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda inaugurated this communications link on 19 June 1964. The joint project involving American Telephone and Telegraph, Hawaiian Telephone Company, and Kokusai Denshin Denwa improved global communication and contributed to deep-water submarine cable technologies.

The Floating Gate EEPROM, 1976 – 1978

1976

6

Santa Clara Valley

From 1976-1978, at Hughes Microelectronics in Newport Beach, California, the practicality, reliability, manufacturability and endurance of the Floating Gate EEPROM — an electrically erasable device using a thin gate oxide and Fowler-Nordheim tunneling for writing and erasing — was proven. As a significant foundation of data storage in flash memory, this fostered new classes of portable computing and communication devices which allow ubiquitous personal access to data.

The CP/M Microcomputer Operating System, 1974

1974

6

Santa Clara Valley

IEEE member Dr. Gary A. Kildall demonstrated the first working prototype of Control Program for Microcomputers or CP/M in Pacific Grove in 1974. Together with his invention of the BIOS (Basic Input Output System), Kildall’s operating system allowed a microprocessor-based computer to communicate with a disk drive storage unit and provided an important foundation for the personal computer revolution.

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, 1962

1962

6

Santa Clara Valley

The Stanford two-mile accelerator, the longest in the world, accelerates electrons to the very high energy needed in the study of subatomic particles and forces. Experiments performed here have shown that the proton, one of the building blocks of the atom, is in turn composed of smaller particles now called quarks. Other research here has uncovered new families of particles and demonstrated subtle effects of the weak nuclear force. This research requires the utmost precision in the large and unique electromechanical devices and systems that accelerate, define, deliver and store the beams of particles, and in the detectors that analyze the results of the particle interactions.

SPICE Circuit Simulation Program, 1970

1971

6

Santa Clara Valley
Oakland-East Bay

Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis, known as SPICE, was created at UC Berkeley as a class project in 1969-1970. It evolved to become the worldwide standard integrated circuit simulator. SPICE has been used to train many students in the intricacies of circuit simulation. SPICE and its descendants have become essential tools employed by virtually all integrated circuit designers.

SPARC RISC Architecture, 1987

1987

6

Santa Clara Valley

Sun Microsystems introduced Scalable Processor Architecture known as SPARC and Reduced Instruction-Set Computing, known as RISC, in 1987. Building upon UC Berkeley RISC and Sun compiler and operating system developments, SPARC architecture was highly adaptable to evolving semiconductor, software, and system technology and user needs. The architecture delivered the highest performance, scalable workstations and servers, for engineering, business, Internet, and cloud computing applications.

SHAKEY: The World’s First Mobile Intelligent Robot, 1972

1972

6

Santa Clara Valley

Stanford Research Institute’s Artificial Intelligence Center developed the world’s first mobile intelligent robot, SHAKEY. It could perceive its surroundings, infer implicit facts from explicit ones, create plans, recover from errors in plan execution, and communicate using ordinary English. SHAKEY’s software architecture, computer vision, and methods for navigation and planning proved seminal in robotics and in the design of web servers, automobiles, factories, video games, and Mars rovers.

Semiconductor Planar Process and Integrated Circuit, 1959

1959

6

Santa Clara Valley

The 1959 invention of the Planar Process by Jean A. Hoerni and the Integrated Circuit or (IC) based on planar technology by IEEE member Robert N. Noyce catapulted the semiconductor industry into the silicon IC era. This pair of pioneering inventions led to the present IC industry, which today supplies a wide and growing variety of advanced semiconductor products used throughout the world.

RAMAC, 1956

1956

6

Santa Clara Valley

Developed by IBM in San Jose, California at 99 Notre Dame Street from 1952 until 1956, the Random Access Method of Accounting and Control (RAMAC) was the first computer system conceived around a radically new magnetic disk storage device. The extremely large capacity, rapid access, and low cost of magnetic disk storage revolutionized computer architecture, performance, and applications.

Public Demonstration of Online Systems and Personal Computing, 1968

1968

6

Santa Clara Valley

 

Commonly termed the “Mother of All Demos,” IEEE member Douglas Engelbart and his team demonstrated their oNLine System known as NLS at Brooks Hall in San Francisco on 9 December 1968. Connected via microwave link to the host computer and other remote users at SRI in Menlo Park, the demonstration showcased many fundamental technologies that would become ubiquitous, including collaborative online editing, hypertext, video conferencing, word processing, spell checking, revision control, and the mouse.

Opana Radar Site, 1941

1941

6

Hawaii

On December 7, 1941, an SCR-270b radar located at Kuhuku, Hawaii, U.S.A tracked incoming Japanese aircraft for over 30 minutes until they were obscured by the island ground clutter. This was the first wartime use of radar by the United States military, and led to its successful application throughout the theater.

Moore’s Law, 1965

1965

6

Santa Clara Valley

IEEE member Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Fairchild and Intel, began his work in silicon microelectronics at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1956. His 1965 prediction at Fairchild Semiconductor, subsequently known as “Moore’s Law,” that the number of components on an integrated circuit will increase exponentially with time while cost per function decreases, guided the industry’s contributions to advances in electronics and computing for more than fifty years.

Mill Creek No. 1 Hydroelectric Plant, 1893

1893

6

Foothill

Built by the Redlands Electric Light and Power Company, the Mill Creek hydroelectric generating plant began operating on 7 September 1893. This powerhouse was foremost in the use of three-phase alternating current power for commercial application and was influential in the widespread adoption of three-phase power throughout the United States.

Inception of the ARPANET, 1969

1969

6

Santa Clara Valley

SRI was one of the first two nodes, with the University of California at Los Angeles, on the ARPANET, the first digital global network based on packet switching and demand access. The first documented ARPANET connection was from UCLA to SRI on 29 October 1969 at 10:30 p.m. The ARPANET’s technology and deployment laid the foundation for the development of the Internet.

IEEE Special Citation Computer History Museum, 1979

1979

6

Santa Clara Valley

The Computer History Museum’s mission is to preserve and present for posterity the artifacts and stories of the Information Age. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of computers and related software, documents, and visual media. Public exhibits celebrate the rich history of computing, aided by a speaker series, education activities, historical restorations, and research programs.

First Working Laser, 1960

1960

6

Metropolitan Los Angeles

In Malibu, CA, U.S.A. in May 1960, IEEE member Theodore Maiman built and operated the first laser. A number of teams around the world were trying to construct this theoretically anticipated device from different materials. Maiman’s was based on a ruby rod optically pumped by a flash lamp. The laser was a transformative technology in the 20th century and continues to enjoy wide application in many fields of human endeavor.

First RISC (Reduced Instruction-Set Computing) Microprocessor 1980-1982

1980

6

Oakland-East Bay

UC Berkeley students designed and built the first VLSI reduced instruction-set computer in 1981. The simplified instructions of RISC-I reduced the hardware for instruction decode and control, which enabled a flat 32-bit address space, a large set of registers, and pipelined execution. A good match to C programs and the Unix operating system, RISC-I influenced instruction sets widely used today, including those for game consoles, smartphones and tablets.

Experimental Breeder Reactor I, 1951

1951

6

Eastern Idaho

In Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S.A., on 20 December 1951, electricity was first generated from the heat produced by a sustained nuclear reaction providing steam to a turbine generator. This event inaugurated the nuclear power industry in the United States. On 4 June 1953 EBR-I provided the first proof of “breeding” capability, producing one atom of nuclear fuel for each atom burned, and later produced electricity using a plutonium core reactor.

Electric Lighting Of The Kingdom of Hawaii 1886-1888

1886

6

Hawaii

In November 1886, electric lights illuminated Iolani Palace’s grounds for King Kalakaua’s 50th birthday celebrations. By March 1887, the Palace had 325 incandescent lights installed within its 104 rooms. The king’s action promoted economic development and accelerated implementation of electric lighting of the town of Honolulu on 23 March 1888.

Development of the HP-35, the First Handheld Scientific Calculator, 1972

1972

6

Santa Clara Valley

The HP-35 was the first handheld calculator to perform transcendental functions (such as trigonometric, logarithmic and exponential functions). Most contemporary calculators could only perform the four basic operations – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The HP-35 and subsequent models have replaced the slide rule, used by generations of engineers and scientists. The HP-35 performed all the functions of the slide rule to ten-digit precision over a full two-hundred-decade range.

Development of CDMA for Cellular Communications, 1989

1989

6

San Diego

On 7 November 1989, Qualcomm publicly demonstrated a digital cellular radio system based on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) spread spectrum technology, which increased capacity, improved service quality, and extended battery life. This formed the basis for IS-95 second-generation standards and third-generation broadband standards that were applied to cellular mobile devices worldwide.

Birthplace of the Internet, 1969

1969

6

Coastal Los Angeles

At 10:30 p.m., 29 October 1969, the first ARPANET message was sent from this UCLA site to the Stanford Research Institute. Based on packet switching and dynamic resource allocation, the sharing of information digitally from this first node of ARPANET launched the Internet revolution.

Birthplace of Silicon Valley, 1956

1956

6

Santa Clara Valley

In Mountain View, CA, UA, at 391 San Antonio Road, the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory manufactured the first silicon devices in what became known as Silicon Valley. Some of the talented scientists and engineers initially employed there left to found their own companies, leading to the birth of the silicon electronics industry in the region. Hundreds of firms in electronics and computing can trace their origins back to Shockley Semiconductor.

Ampex Videotape Recorder, 1956

1956

6

Santa Clara Valley

In 1956, Ampex Corporation of Redwood City, California, introduced the first practical videotape recorder for television stations and networks to produce and time-shift broadcasts, replacing impractical “kinescope” movie film previously used to record TV. The Emmy-award-winning Ampex “VTR” analog-video standard ruled broadcasting and video production worldwide for twenty years.

The First Submarine Transatlantic Telephone Cable System (TAT-1), 1956

1956

7, 8

Newfoundland-Labrador,
Canadian Atlantic,
United Kingdom and Ireland

Global telephone communications using submarine cables began here on 25 September 1956, when the first transatlantic undersea telephone system, TAT-1, went into service. This site is the eastern terminal of the transatlantic cable that stretched west to Clarenville, Newfoundland. TAT-1 was a great technological achievement providing unparalleled reliability with fragile components in hostile environments. It was made possible through the efforts of engineers at AT&T Bell Laboratories and BPO. The system operated until 1978.

Reception of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901

1901

7

Newfoundland-Labrador

At Signal Hill on December 12, 1901, IEEE member Guglielmo Marconi, and his assistant, George Kemp, confirmed the reception of the first transatlantic radio signals. With a telephone receiver and a wire antenna kept aloft by a kite, they heard Morse code for the letter “S” transmitted from Poldhu, Cornwall. Their experiments showed that radio signals extended far beyond the horizon, giving radio a new global dimension for communication in the twentieth century.

Pinawa Hydroelectric Power Project, 1906

1906

7

Winnipeg

On 9 June 1906 the Winnipeg Electric Railway Co. transmitted electric power from the Pinawa generating station on the Winnipeg River to the city of Winnipeg at 60,000 volts. It was the first year-round hydroelectric plant in Manitoba and one of the first to be developed in such a cold climate anywhere in the world.

Nelson River HVDC Transmission System, 1972

1972

7

Winnipeg

On 17 June 1972, the Nelson River High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission system began delivery of electric power. It used the highest operating voltage to deliver the largest amount of power from a remote site to a city. The bipolar scheme gave superior line reliability and the innovative use of the controls added significantly to the overall system capabilities. Finally, the scheme used the largest mercury arc valves ever developed for such an application.

Landing of the Transatlantic Cable, 1866

1866

7

Newfoundland-Labrador

A permanent electrical communications link between the old world and the new was initiated at this site with the landing of a transatlantic cable on July 27, 1866. This achievement altered for all time personal, commercial, and political relations between peoples on the two sides of the ocean. Five more cables between Heart’s Content and Valentia, Ireland were completed between 1866 and 1894. This station continued in operation until 1965.

First Television Broadcast in Western Canada, 1953

1953

7

Vancouver

On 16 December 1953, the first television broadcast in Western Canada was transmitted from North Vancouver, BC, Canada, by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s CBUT Channel 2. The engineering experience gained here was instrumental in the subsequent establishment of the more than one thousand public and private television broadcasting sites that serve Western Canada today.

First Radio Astronomical Observations Using Very Long Baseline Interferometry, 1967

1967

7

Vancouver

On the morning of 17 April 1967, radio astronomers used this radiotelescope at DRAO and a second one at the Algonquin Radio Observatory located 3074 km away to make the first successful radio astronomical observations using Very Long Baseline Interferometry. Today, VLBI networks span the globe, extend into space and continue to make significant contributions to both radio astronomy and geodesy.

First External Cardiac Pacemaker, 1950

1950

7

Toronto

In 1950, in Room 64 of the Bantling Institute of the University of Toronto, Drs. Wilfred Bigelow and John Callaghan successfully paced the heart of a dog using an external electronic pacemaker-defibrillator having implanted electrodes. The device was developed by Dr. John Hopps at the National Research Council of Canada. This pioneering work led to the use of cardiac pacemakers in humans and helped establish the importance of electronic devices in medicine.

First Distant Speech Transmission in Canada, 1876

1876

7

Hamilton

On 10 August 1876, IEEE member Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated on this site that the human voice could be transmitted electrically over distance. While family members spoke into a transmitter in Brantford, 13 km away, Bell was able to hear them at a receiver located here. This test convinced Bell that his invention could be used for communication between towns and could compete successfully with the telegraph.

First Digitally Processed Image from a Spaceborne Synthetic Aperture Radar, 1978

1978

7

Vancouver

In November 1978, a team from MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) became the first to use a digital processor to reconstruct an image from Seasat-A, the first civilian spaceborne synthetic aperture radar (SAR). MDA engineers subsequently developed three of the four most important SAR digital processing algorithms that replaced the optical processing methods used previously.

First 735 kV AC Transmission System, 1965

1965

7

Quebec

Hydro-Quebec’s 735,000 volt electric power transmission system was the first in the world to be designed, built and operated at an alternating-current voltage above 700 kV. This development extended the limits of long-distance transmission of electrical energy. On 29 November 1965 the first 735 kV line was inaugurated. Power was transmitted from the Manicouagan-Outardes hydro-electric generating complex to Montreal, a distance of 600 km.

First 500 MeV Proton Beam from the TRIUMF Cyclotron, 1974

1974

7

Vancouver

At 3:30 pm on 15 December 1974, the first 500 MeV proton beam was extracted from the TRIUMF cyclotron. Since then, TRIUMF has used proton beams from its cyclotron (and secondary beams of pions, muons, neutrons and radioactive ions produced in its experimental halls) to conduct pioneering studies that have advanced nuclear physics, particle physics, molecular and materials science, and nuclear medicine.

Eel River High Voltage Direct Current Converter Station, 1972

1972

7

New Brunswick

Operating since 1972, Eel River, New Brunswick is home to the world’s first commercial solid state High Voltage Direct Current converter station. This 320 MW interconnection facility, built by Canadian General Electric and NB Power, incorporates high current silicon solid state thyristors to convert alternating current from Hydro Quebec to direct current and back to alternating, allowing asynchronous, stable power transfers to serve New Brunswick’s Power’s customers.

Decew Falls Hydro-Electric Plant, 1898

1898

7

Hamilton

The Decew Falls Hydro-Electric Development was a pioneering project in the generation and transmission of electrical energy at higher voltages and at greater distances in Canada. On 25 August 1898 this station transmitted power at 22,500 Volts, 66 2/3 Hz, two-phase, a distance of 56 km to Hamilton, Ontario. Using the higher voltage permitted efficient transmission over that distance.

Alouette-ISIS Satellite Program, 1962

1962

7

Ottawa

Driven by the need to understand the characteristics of radio communication in Canada’s North, Canadian researchers focused on the exploration of the earth’s upper atmosphere, the ionosphere. Canada’s satellite program commenced with the launch of Alouette-I on September 29, 1962. Alouette-II followed in 1965, ISIS-I in 1969, ISIS-II in 1971. The Alouette/ISIS tracking antenna serves as a reminder of Canada’s contribution to this international effort in space science.

Zenit Parabolic Reflector L-band Pulsed Radar, 1938

1938

8

Ukraine

The 1938 Zenit radar test at the Laboratory of Electromagnetic Oscillations of the Ukrainian Institute of Physics and Technology was a major advance in the development of radar. Designed by Abram Slutskin, Alexander Usikov, and Semion Braude, who were microwave scientists and magnetron pioneers, Zenit established the practicality of combining the pulsed method and a shorter wave band for determining precisely all three coordinates of airborne targets.

WEIZAC Computer, 1955

1955

8

Israel

The Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, built the Weizmann Automatic Computer (WEIZAC) during 1954-1955 with the scientific vision of Chaim Pekeris and the engineering leadership of IEEE member Gerald Estrin. The WEIZAC was based on drawings from the IAS computer at Princeton University and built with much ingenuity. The machine was the first digital electronic computer constructed in the Middle East and it became an indispensable scientific computing resource for many scientists and engineers worldwide.

Vucje Hydroelectric Plant, 1903

1903

8

Serbia and Montenegro

The Vucje hydroelectric plant began operation in 1903. It was the first in southern Serbia and the largest in the broader region. By transmitting alternating current of 50 Hz at 7000 volts–high for the period–over a distance of 16 km, it helped to transform the regional economy. It remained in continual use for over a century.

Volta’s Electrical Battery Invention, 1799

1799

8

Italy

In 1799, Alessandro Volta developed the first electrical battery. This battery, known as the Voltaic Cell, consisted of two plates of different metals immersed in a chemical solution. Volta’s development of the first continuous and reproducible source of electrical current was an important step in the study of electromagnetism and in the development of electrical equipment.

Transmission of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901

1901

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

On December 12, 1901, a radio transmission of the Morse code letter ‘S’ was broadcast from this site, using equipment built by John Ambrose Fleming. At Signal Hill in Newfoundland, IEEE member Guglielmo Marconi, using a wire antenna kept aloft by a kite, confirmed the reception of these first transatlantic radio signals. These experiments showed that radio signals could propagate far beyond the horizon, giving radio a new global dimension for communications in the twentieth century.

Star of Laufenburg Interconnection, 1958

1958

8

Switzerland

The Star of Laufenburg is the original location of the electric-power interconnection of three countries: Switzerland, Germany and France. The Union for Production and Transmission of Electricity (now UCTE) was formed to manage this interconnection. This installation pioneered international connections, and technical and political cooperation for European integration. UCTE coordinated one of the largest synchronously connected power networks serving almost all of continental Europe.

Shilling’s Pioneering Contribution to Practical Telegraphy, 1828-1837

1828

8

Russia (Northwest)

In St. Petersburg, Russia, the original electromagnetic telegraph is exhibited. P. L. Shilling, a Russian scientist, successfully transmitted messages over different distances by means of an electric current’s effect on a magnetic needle, using two signs and a telegraph dictionary for transferring letters and digits. Shilling`s demonstrations in St. Petersburg and abroad provided an impetus to scientists in different countries and influenced the invention of more advanced electromagnetic telegraphs.

Shannon Scheme for the Electrification of the Irish Free State, 1929

1929

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

The Shannon Scheme was officially opened on 22 July 1929. One of the largest engineering projects of its day, it was successfully executed by Siemens to harness the Shannon River. It subsequently served as a model for large-scale electrification projects worldwide. Operated by the Electricity Supply Board, it had an immediate impact on the social, economic and industrial development of Ireland and continued to supply significant power beyond the end of the 20th century.

Rheinfelden Hydroelectric Power Plant, 1898 – 2010

1898

8

Germany

The original Rheinfelden plant was an outstanding achievement in Europe’s early large-scale generation of hydroelectric power. It was important for its 17,000 horsepower (12,500 kilowatt) output, for pioneering three-phase alternating current later adopted around the world, and using 50-Hertz frequency which afterwards became standard in most countries. Gradually, Rheinfelden entered into joint operation with other stations, from which the interconnected network of continental Europe evolved.

Poulsen-Arc Radio Transmitter, 1902

1902

8

Denmark

IEEE member Valdemar Poulsen, a Danish engineer, invented an arc converter as a generator of continuous-wave radio signals in 1902. Beginning in 1904, Poulsen used the arc for experimental radio transmission from Lyngby to various receiving sites in Denmark and Great Britain. Poulsen-arc transmitters were used internationally until they were superseded by vacuum-tube transmitters.

Popov’s Contribution to the Development of Wireless Communication, 1895

1895

8

Russia (Northwest)

On 7 May 1895, Aleksandr S. Popov  ( demonstrated the possibility of transmitting and receiving short, continuous signals over a distance up to 64 meters by means of electromagnetic waves with the help of a special portable device responding to electrical oscillation which was a significant contribution to the development of wireless communication.

Pioneering Work on the Quartz Electronic Wristwatch, 1962-1967

1962

8

Switzerland

A key milestone in development of the quartz electronic wristwatch in Switzerland was the creation in 1962 of the Centre Electronique Horloger of Neuchâtel. The Centre produced the first prototypes incorporating dedicated integrated circuits that set new timekeeping performance records at the International Chronometric Competition held at this observatory in 1967. Since then quartz watches, with hundreds of millions of units produced, became an extremely successful electronic system.

Object-Oriented Programming, 1961-1967

1961

8

Norway

Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard, recipients of the IEEE John von Neumann Medal, created the Simula programming languages in the 1960s at the Norwegian Computer Center. They introduced a new way of modeling and simulating complex tasks. Object-oriented programming is now dominant in systems development. It is an integral part of computer science curricula, as are languages built on object-oriented programming concepts, such as Smalltalk, C++, Java, and Python.

Maxwell’s Equations, 1860-1871

1860

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

Between 1860 and 1871, at his family home Glenlair and at King’s College London, where he was Professor of Natural Philosophy, James Clerk Maxwell conceived and developed his unified theory of electricity, magnetism and light. A cornerstone of classical physics, the Theory of Electromagnetism is summarized in four key equations that now bear his name. Maxwell’s equations today underpin all modern information and communication technologies. The IEEE/Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) James Clerk Maxwell Medal, established in 2006, is named in honor of the 19th century Scottish mathematician and physicist who laid the foundations of electromagnetic wave theory, radio propagation, microwave techniques, and radio communications.

Lempel-Ziv Data Compression Algorithm, 1977

1977

8

Israel

The data compression algorithm developed at this site in 1977 by IEEE members Abraham Lempel and Jacob Ziv became a basis for enabling data transmission via the internet in an efficient way. It contributed significantly in making the internet a global communications medium.

Krka-Šibenik Electric Power System, 1895

1895

8

Croatia

On 28 August 1895 electricity generated at Krka-Sibenik, Croatia was transmitted to the city of Šibenik, where six power transformers supplied a large number of street lamps. This early system of power generation, transmission and distribution was one of the first complete multiphase alternating current systems in the world and it remained in operation until World War I.

Invention of Stereo Sound Reproduction, 1931

1931

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

Alan Dower Blumlein filed a patent for a two-channel audio system called “stereo” on 14 December 1931. It included a “shuffling” circuit to preserve directional sound, an orthogonal “Blumlein Pair” of velocity microphones, the recording of two orthogonal channels in a single groove, stereo disc-cutting head, and hybrid transformer to mix directional signals. Blumlein brought his equipment to Abbey Road Studios in 1934 and recorded the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Invention of Public-key Cryptography, 1969 – 1975

1969

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

At Great Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), by 1975 James Ellis had proved that a symmetric secret-key system is unnecessary and Clifford Cocks with Malcolm Williamson showed how such ‘public-key cryptography’ could be achieved. Until then it was believed that secure communication was impossible without exchange of a secret key, with key distribution a major impediment. With these discoveries the essential principles were known but were kept secret until 1997.

Invention of Holography, 1947

1947

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

In 1947 Dennis Gabor, IEEE Medal of Honor winner, conceived the idea of wavefront reconstruction for improving the performance of the electron microscope. This became the basis for the invention of optical holography for three-dimensional imaging but implementation required coherent light sources and had to await the emergence of the laser some years later. Gabor was awarded the Nobel Prize for his invention in 1971.

Gotland High Voltage Direct Current Link, 1954

1954

8

Sweden

The Gotland HVDC Link was the world’s first commercial HVDC transmission link using the first submarine HVDC cable. It connected the Island of Gotland to mainland Sweden. The 96 km-long cable used mass-impregnated technology. The Swedish manufacturer ASEA produced the link for Vattenfall, the state-owned utility. The project used mercury-arc valves for the 20 MW/100 kV HVDC converters, developed by an ASEA-Vattenfall team led by IEEE member Dr. Uno Lamm.

Germany’s First Broadcast Transmission from the Radio Station Königs Wusterhausen, 1920

1920

8

Germany

In early 1920, in this building, technicians of the Königs Wusterhausen radio station together with employees from the Telegraphentechnisches Reichsamt, began experiments broadcasting voice and music using an arc transmitter. By late 1920, tests had become successful enough to transmit an instrumental concert on 22 December — the so-called Christmas concert. This transmission is regarded as the birth of statutorily regulated broadcasting in Germany.

Fleming Valve, 1904

1904

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

Beginning in the 1880s Professor John Ambrose Fleming, IEEE Medal of Honor winner, (IRE member?) of University College London investigated the Edison effect, electrical conduction within a glass bulb from an incandescent filament to a metal plate. In 1904 he constructed such a bulb and used it to rectify high frequency oscillations and thus detect wireless signals. The same year Fleming patented the device, later known as the ‘Fleming valve.’

First Transatlantic Television Signal via Satellite, 1962

1962

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

On 11 July 1962, in Goonhilly Downs, Cornwall, England, the first live television signal across the Atlantic from Europe to the USA, via TELSTAR. This Satellite Earth Station was designed and built by the British Post Office Engineering Department. Known as ‘Arthur’ (of “Knights of the Round Table” fame), its open-dish design became a model for satellite television earth stations throughout the world.

First Transatlantic Reception of a Television Signal via Satellite, 1962

1962

8

France

On 11 July 1962, Pleumeur-Bodou, France received the first transatlantic transmission of a TV signal from a twin station in Andover, Maine, USA via the TELSTAR satellite. The success of TELSTAR and the earth stations, the first built for active satellite communications, illustrated the potential of a future world-wide satellite system to provide communications between continents.

First Studies on Ring Armature for Direct-Current Dynamos, 1860-1863

1860

8

Italy

From 1860-1863, a dynamo with a slotted ring armature, described and built at the University of Pisa by Antonio Pacinotti, was a significant step leading to practical electrical machines for direct current. Groups of turns of the closed winding were connected to the bars of a commutator. The machine also worked as a motor.

First Public Demonstration of Television, 1926

1926

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

Members of the Royal Institution of Great Britain witnessed the world’s first public demonstration of live television on 26 January 1926 in this building at 22 Frith Street, London. Inventor and entrepreneur John Logie Baird, IEEE Member, used the first floor as a workshop during 1924-1926, for various experimental activities, including the development of his television system. The BBC adopted Baird’s system for its first television broadcast service in 1930.

First Operational Use Of Wireless Telegraphy, 1899-1902

1899

8

South Africa

The first use of wireless telegraphy in the field occurred during the Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902. The British Army experimented with IEEE Member Guglielmo Marconi’s system and the British Navy successfully used it for communication among naval vessels in Delagoa Bay, prompting further development of Marconi’s wireless telegraph system for practical uses.

First Generation and Experimental Proof of Electromagnetic Waves, 1886-1888

1886

8

Germany

In Karlsruhe, Germany, Heinrich Hertz first verified Maxwell’s equations and prediction of electromagnetic waves in 1886-1888. He observed the reflection, refraction and polarization of the waves and, moreover, the equality of their velocity of propagation with the velocity of light. His 450 MHz transmitter and receiver demonstrated the fundamentals of high-frequency technology. The IEEE Heinrich Hertz Medal was created in his honor.

First Exploration and Proof of Liquid Crystals, 1889

1889

8

Germany

The first liquid crystal materials were characterized in 1889 by Otto Lehmann in Karlsruhe, Germany. Lehmann recognized the existence of a new state of matter, “flüssige Kristalle” or liquid crystals, which flows like a liquid but has the optical property of double refraction characteristic of crystals. Lehmann’s work on these compounds opened the door to further liquid crystal research and eventually displays and other applications.

First Breaking of Enigma Code by the Team of Polish Cipher Bureau, 1932-1939

1932

8

Poland

Polish Cipher Bureau mathematicians Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski broke the German Enigma cipher machine codes. Working with engineers from the AVA Radio Manufacturing Company, they built the ‘bomba’ – the first cryptanalytic machine to break Enigma codes. Their work was a foundation of British code breaking efforts which, with later American assistance, helped end World War II.

Enrico Fermi’s Major Contribution to Semiconductor Statistics, 1924-1926

1924

8

Italy

From 1924-1926, Nobel laureate Enrico Fermi developed the quantum statistics that would be named after him while teaching at the School of Engineering of the University of Florence. The Fermi-Dirac statistics were a fundamental contribution to semiconductor physics and to the development of electronics.

Early Swiss Wireless Experiments, 1897

1897

8

Switzerland

On 8 April 1911, in this building, Professor Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and his collaborators, Cornelis Dorsman, Gerrit Jan Flim, and Gilles Holst, discovered superconductivity. They observed that the resistance of mercury approached “practically zero” as its temperature was lowered to 3 kelvins. Today, superconductivity makes many electrical technologies possible, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and high-energy particle accelerators.

Early Developments in Remote-Control, 1901

1901

8

Spain

In 1901, the Spanish engineer, Leonardo Torres-Quevedo, IEEE Member, began the development of a system, which he called Telekine, which was able to do “mechanical movements at a distance.” The system was a way of testing dirigible balloons of his own creation without risking human lives. In 1902 and 1903 he requested some patents for the system. With the Telekine, Torres-Quevedo laid down modern wireless remote-control operation principles.

Discovery of Superconductivity, 1911

1911

8

Benelux

On 8 April 1911, in this building, Professor Heike Kamerlingh Onnes and his collaborators, Cornelis Dorsman, Gerrit Jan Flim, and Gilles Holst discovered superconductivity. They observed that the resistance of mercury approached “practically zero” as its temperature was lowered to 3 kelvins. Today, superconductivity makes many electrical technologies possible, including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and high-energy particle accelerators.

Discovery of Radioconduction by Edouard Branly, 1890

1890

8

France

In this building, Edouard Branly discovered radioconduction, now called the Branly Effect. On 24 November 1890, he observed that an electromagnetic wave changes the ability of metal filings to conduct electricity. Branly used his discovery to make a very sensitive detector called a coherer, improved versions of which became the first practical wireless signal receivers.

Dadda’s Multiplier, 1965

1965

8

Italy

IEEE member Luigi Dadda published the first description of the optimized scheme, subsequently called a Dadda Tree, for a digital circuit to compute the multiplication of unsigned fixed-point numbers in binary arithmetic. This circuit allowed the arithmetic units of microprocessor-based computers to execute complex arithmetic operations with a performance/cost ratio unequaled at that time. His research and teaching pioneered computer engineering in Italy.

County Kerry Transatlantic Cable Stations, 1866

1866

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

On July 13, 1866 the Great Eastern, a huge steamship invented by Isambard Kingdom Brunel steamed westward from Valentia, laying telegraph cable behind her. The successful landing at Heart’s Content, Newfoundland on 27 July established a permanent electrical communications link that altered for all time personal, commercial and political relations between people across the Atlantic Ocean. Later, additional cables were laid from Valentia and new stations opened at Ballinskelligs (1874) and Waterville (1884), making County Kerry a major focal point for global communications.

Compact Disc Audio Player, 1979

1979

8

Benelux

On 8 March 1979, in Eindhoven, Netherlands, N.V. Philips’ Gloeilampenfabrieken, which means “light emitter manufacturing” demonstrated for the international press a Compact Disc Audio Player. The demonstration showed that it is possible by using digital optical recording and playback to reproduce audio signals with superb stereo quality. This research at Philips established the technical standard for digital optical recording systems. In honor of this work, the IEEE Frederik Philips Award was established in 1971 through an agreement between N.V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken (now called Philips Electronics N.V.) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Code-breaking at Bletchley Park during World War II, 1939-1945

1939

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

In Bletchley Park, United Kingdom during the 1939-45 World War, 12,000 men and women broke the German Lorenz and Enigma ciphers, as well as Japanese and Italian codes and ciphers. They used innovative mathematical analysis and were assisted by two computing machines developed here by teams led by IEEE member Alan Turing: the electro-mechanical Bombe developed with Gordon Welchman, and the electronic Colossus designed by Tommy Flowers. These achievements greatly shortened the war, thereby saving countless lives.

CERN Experimental Instrumentation, 1968

1968

8

France

In 1968, At CERN laboratories the invention of multiple-wire proportional chambers and drift chambers revolutionized the domain of electronic particle detectors, leading to new research on the constitution of matter. The development of unique electrical and electronic devices made possible the major high-energy physics experiments which have been recognized worldwide.

Callan’s Pioneering Contributions to Electrical Science and Technology, 1836

1836

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

In 1836, Reverend Nicholas Callan, professor of Natural Philosophy at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth in Ireland, contributed significantly to the understanding of electrical induction and the development of the induction coil. He did this through a series of experiments that made the inductive transient phenomena visibly clear. The apparatus used in these experiments was replicated in other laboratories.

Benjamin Franklin’s work in London, 1757-1775

1757

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

Benjamin Franklin, American electrician, printer, and diplomat, spent many years on Craven Street in London. He lived at No. 7 between 1772 and 1775 and at No. 36 from 1757-1762 and again from 1764-1772. During these years, Franklin popularized the study of electricity, performed experiments, and served as an advisor on lightning conductors.

Amorphous Silicon Thin Film Field-Effect Transistor Switches for Liquid Crystal Displays, 1979

1979

8

United Kingdom and Ireland

A research team in the Physics department of Dundee University, Scotland demonstrated in 1979 that amorphous silicon field-effect transistors were able to switch liquid crystal arrays. Other semiconductor thin film materials had been found to be unsuitable for deposition on large area substrates. The invention laid the foundation for the commercial development of flat panel television displays.

Rincón del Bonete, 1945

1945

9

Uruguay

In December, 1945, much-needed hydroelectric power began flowing from Rincon del Bonete, Uruguay to other parts of Uruguay. World War II had interrupted the work begun by a German consortium, but Uruguayan engineers (members?) reformulated and completed the project using United States-supplied equipment. The large artificial lake spurred further Rio Negro electrification; availability of abundant, clean hydroelectricity was a turning point in Uruguay’s development, quality of life, and engineering profession.

Panama Canal Electrical and Control Installations, 1914

1914

9

Panama

The Panama Canal project included one of the largest and most important electrical installations in the world early in the 20th century. The use of 1022 electric motors with an installed capacity of 28,290 horsepower largely replaced the steam and water powered equipment then in common use. Reliability and safety were also engineered into the innovative electrical control system, enabling remote lock operation from a central location.

NAIC/Arecibo Radiotelescope, 1963

1963

9

Puerto Rico & Caribbean

The Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest radiotelescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, was dedicated in 1963. Its design and implementation led to advances in the electrical engineering areas of antenna design, signal processing, and electronic instrumentation, and in the mechanical engineering areas of antenna suspension and drive systems. The drive system positions all active parts of the antenna with millimeter precision, regardless of temperature changes, enabling the telescope to maintain an accurate focus. Its subsequent operation led to advances in the scientific fields of radioastronomy, planetary studies, and space and atmospheric sciences.

Chivilingo Hydroelectric Plant, 1897

1897

9

Chile

The 1897 430 kW Chivilingo Plant was the first hydroelectric plant in Lota, Chile and the second in South America. A 10 km line fed the Lota coal mines and the railway extracting minerals 12 km from shore under the sea. It represented a new key technology and a new source of electrical energy in the region as a tool for economic development. Chivilingo demonstrated the advantages of industrial use of electricity and hastened its widespread adoption in Chile.

Yosami Radio Transmitting Station, 1929

1929

10

Nagoya

In April 1929, the Yosami Station established the first wireless communications between Japan and Europe with a long wave operating at 17.442 kHz. An inductor-type high-frequency alternator provided output power at 500 kW. The antenna system used eight towers, each 250m high. The facilities were used for communicating with submarines by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1941 to 1945 and by the United States Navy from 1950 to 1993.

Vapor-phase Axial Deposition Method for Mass Production of High-quality Optical Fiber, 1977-1983

1977

10

Tokyo

In 1977, IEEE member Dr. Tatsuo Izawa of Nippon Telegraph  and Telephone Corp. (NTT) invented the vapor-phase axial deposition (VAD) method suitable for the mass production of optical fiber. NTT, Furukawa Electric, Sumitomo Electric, and Fujikura collaboratively investigated the fabrication process. The technology successfully shifted from research and development to commercialization. The VAD method contributed greatly to the construction of optical-fiber networks.

Toshiba T1100, a Pioneering Contribution to the Development of Laptop PC, 1985

1985

10

Tokyo

The Toshiba T1100, an IBM PC compatible laptop computer developed in Tokyo, Japan, that shipped in 1985, made an invaluable contribution to the development of the laptop PC and portable personal computers. With the T1100, Toshiba demonstrated and promoted the emergence and importance of true portability for PCs running packaged software, with the result that T1100 won acceptance not only among PC experts but by the business community.

Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train), 1964

1964

10

Nagoya

Tokaido Shinkansen (Bullet Train) was designed with the world’s most advanced electrical and mechanical train technologies to operate at speeds up to 210 km/hr, a world record when it began service in 1964. It has carried over 100 million passengers per year for many years with an excellent safety record.

The MU (Middle and Upper atmosphere) radar, 1984

1984

10

Kansai

In 1984, Kyoto University built the Middle and Upper atmosphere, or MU, radar as the first large-scale MST (Mesosphere, Stratosphere, and Troposphere) radar with a two-dimensional active phased array antenna system, with the collaboration of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation. The MU radar enabled continuous and flexible observation of the atmosphere, and has contributed to the progress of atmospheric science and radar engineering.

The High Definition Television System, 1964-1989

1964

10

Tokyo

NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation, developed high-definition television (HDTV), a high-resolution and wide-screen television system designed to convey a strong sense of reality to viewers. Research began in 1964, ranging from psychophysical experiments to system development. In 1989, the world’s first HDTV broadcast via satellite opened a new era in broadcasting. Since 1989, HDTV has spread throughout the world.

The First Word Processor for the Japanese Language, 1971-1978

1971

10

Tokyo

In Tokyo, Japan, between 1971 and 1978, the first Japanese-language word processor was developed. Researchers headed by Ken-ichi Mori created a wholly new concept of Japanese word processing. Their first practical system, JW-10, was publicly unveiled on 3 October 1978.[1] The JW-10, and improved versions, played a major role in advancing the Information Age in Japan, and provided the basis for Japanese-language word-processing software in personal computers.

 

 

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