The History Center conducts a number of events, programs, and lectures. As a service to IEEE organizational units, the History Center posts other history of technology events that may be of interest. To have your event included on this page, send details to r.colburn@ieee.org or n.w.brewer@ieee.org. For events unique to Region 8, please see Region 8 Members Activities.

History Center and other History Events

For a list of upcoming IEEE Milestone dedications, please see the official IEEE Milestone Status Report

18 December 2021: Milestone dedication for the Calcutta Electric Supply Company, Kolkata, India.

15 December 2021: Milestone dedication for the International System of Units. Rome, Italy.

15 November 2021: RCA Radio Central Milestone virtual ceremony. The date will be the 100th anniversary of the inauguration of the RCA Radio Central facility, which was at the time the world's largest and most powerful station. It also marks the first radio message (in Morse Code) by a president, Warren Harding. Details for the ceremony will be posted closer to the event.

5 November 2021: Milestone dedication for the RCA Central. Rocky Point, NY, USA

4 November 2021: 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET (UTC 16:00 - 17:30) Distinguished Lecture. Joseph Cunningham, author of "New York Power" and expert on the history of the electrification of New York City, will describe how stresses and strains on the electrical grid drove innovative solutions for the generation and distribution of electric power in the metropolis. Register for the event.

13 October 2021: 12:00 p.m. ET (UTC 17:00) “Ponies vs Electrons: The Transcontinental Telegraph”, presented by Michael Geselowitz:  Almost exactly 160 years ago (24 October 1861), the first North American transcontinental telegraph, linking the east coast of the U.S. with the new state of California, was completed. An amazing technological achievement (it is an IEEE Milestone!), this project impacted not just the profession of electrical engineering, but the trajectory of history of the United States of America. This talk will explore the background, accomplishment, and aftermath of the event. Attend the event.

5 October 2021: 11:00 a.m. CT (UTC 16:00) IEEE Day, hosted by IEEE Region 5 History Committee, including presentations on Region 5 Stepping Stone Award Program, IEEE Milestone Award, and history and achievements of the Region 5 sections. The event will be presented on Zoom and will also be concurrently available on YouTube. vTools Registration is available on vTools.

11 September 2021: 3:30 p.m. PT (UTC 22:30) An event at the Milestone Wall of Fame at the Computer History Museum, where nine speakers will speak to the nine duplicates of Milestone plaques displayed there. Watch the livestream.

3 August 2021: 12:00 p.m. ET (UTC 17:00) "Spies and Their Toys: A Selective Look at the History of Espionage Technology," presented by Robert Colburn: Miniature cameras, “spy dust,” tracking dots … are these the inventions of the movies, or are they real-life technologies? In this Lunch & Learn, look at some of the spytech used in intelligence and counterintelligence. Learn about RAFTER, “Label,” taillights … and why you cannot always trust a staple. Attend the event.

20 July 2021: The IEEE REACH team from the History Center is giving a free webinar on using the REACH Program to introduce the history of technology and engineering into the pre-university classroom. This event is designed for pre-university educators, but all are welcome. However, if you know any relevant educators please share this invitation with them. Register for the event.

13 July 2021: History Center historian Dr. Lisa Nocks, will present, "Let the Patient Be Electrified: The Public Understanding of Medical Electricity from Franklinism to Quell®" at the 2021 virtual meeting of the British Society for the History of Science.

13 July 2021: 10:00 a.m. PT (UTC 17:00) Folsom Powerhouse Milestone Dedication. Folsom was one of the earliest electrical plants to generate three-phase alternating current, and the first using three-phase 60 hertz. On 13 July 1895, General Electric generators began transmitting electricity 22 miles to Sacramento at 11000 volts, powering businesses, streetcars, and California's capitol. The plant demonstrated advantages of three-phase, 60 hertz long-distance transmission, which became standard, and promoted nationwide development of affordable hydropower. View the flyer, or attend the livestream.

16 June 2021: Please join the UH College of Engineering online for the ALOHAnet 50th Anniversary Mini-Symposium, Wednesday, June 16th 2021, 8:00am – 1:00pm HST via online platform. Sign up for more details, as well as formal symposium registration.

16 June 2021:  12:00 p.m. ET (UTC 17:00) “Engineers and Scientists as Science Fiction Authors: From Kepler to Bose”, presented by Nathan Brewer: A study of the intersection of art and engineering, profiling four scientists and engineers who extended their work into literature. Attend the event. 

18 May 2021: 3:00 p.m. CEST (UTC 13:00) IEEE Milestone - ST Multiple Silicon Technologies on a Chip. The event will be broadcast live from the STMicroelectronics site in Agrate, Italy. Join the live dedication ceremony recognizing the invention by STMicroelectronics of Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS (BCD) technology.

12 May 2021: 12:00 p.m. ET (UTC 17:00) “Humanoid Robots: Fiction, Fact, or Commercial Fizzle?”, presented by Lisa Nocks: In the 1960s, the idea of humanoid robots was still the stuff of science fiction, but by the end of that decade, Prof. Ichiru Kato of Waseda University introduced a fifty-year goal of humanoid robots for the home, which he called “My ‘robot.” By the turn of the millennium, the humanoid robot initiative had spread from Japan to dozens of labs around the world. Who is responsible for the advances in humanoid robotics, and what can we expect by 2050? Attend the event

24 March 2021: IEEE History Center Presents: The Telephone Ladies and the Bell System's "Spirit of Service" during World War II. Explore the Bell System's responses to increased demand for telephone service during World War II and AT&T's decisions to expand its female labor force. Then delve into the experiences and significant contributions made by women civilians and members of the armed forces as they provided “three minute furloughs” for American GIs and communication lines for the war effort at home and abroad. Register for the event.

22 February 2021: Milestone Dedication for BASIC Computer Language

9 February 2021: Nikola Tesla, the AC Motor, and the Origins of Power Electronics, a webinar sponsored by the IEEE Power Electronics Society History Committee, 11:00 a.m. ET (UTC 16:00). Presented by W. Bernard Carlson, University of Virginia/National University of Ireland Galway. Register for the event.

3 February 2021: Milestone Dedication for Gravitational Wave Antenna. Register and see more information.

21 January 2021: Milestone Dedication for Rotating Fields and Ferraris Induction Motor

15 December 2020: Milestone Dedication for First Operational Fingerprint ID System 

6 November 2020 10:00 a.m. ET (UTC-5 15:00) - 8 November 2020 6:00 p.m. ET (UTC-5 23:00) 2020 Sigma Xi STEM Art and Film Festival: Everyone is welcome with free admission to the Sigma Xi STEM Art and Film Festival, featuring work that portrays science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In addition to showcasing IEEE REACH videos, the festival will have more than 35 pieces of art, more than 15 films including animations, science fiction, and documentaries for general audience and K-12 students & teachers, Free Style Rap by Canadian rapper Baba Brinkman, Rap Music Videos in the Classroom by Baba Brinkman, #SciCommMake Showcase, "As Above as Below" panel discussion and exhibits, and a public vote to name the best film and artwork. Register for the event.

13 October 2020: 1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. PT (UTC-7 20:30-21:30) Webinar: ALOHAnet IEEE Milestone Dedication Ceremony. ALOHAnet was the first radio packet broadcast network, and it introduced the very first random access protocol: the protocol that is utilized by every wireless technology today. This virtual event will be broadcast live from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa College of Engineering. The live-stream link will go live 15 minutes prior to the ceremony and will be available to the general public for viewing only.  Streaming quality will be 1080p; in comparison, YouTube streaming quality is 720p.

10 October 2020: Historian Dr. Lisa Nocks will give the keynote lecture at a free conference, "Does Science Fiction Influence our Technical and Social changes?", as part of a conference sponsored by the IEEE Southeastern Michigan Section. Please join at 11:30 a.m. CT (UTC-04 16:30).

8 October 2020 Webinar: Lockheed’s Spy Satellite Programs – Looking From Above the Iron Curtain: 1:30 p.m. PT (UTC-07 20:30). In this online program, Lockheed veterans will discuss the original Corona mission and the key challenges required by Agena for its long-term success. They will illustrate how Agena subsystems and technologies co-evolved and advanced together with system integration and test techniques. They will also show how the program taught the aerospace industry many fundamental lessons, including how to successfully specify and accommodate products from multiple suppliers. Speakers: Sam Araki , Miles Johnson, James Carlock, Terry Zaccone, Hugh Satterlee, Bill Monroe; moderator: Tom Gardner. Organized by the Santa Clara Valley Section's Silicon Valley Technology History Committee and the IEEE Consultants' Network of Silicon Valley. View Zoom Webinar information or register for the event

30 September 2020: IEEE Pre-University Webinar at 4:00 p.m. EAT (UTC+3 13:00). Please join IEEE REACH and TryEngineering to learn about free pre-university STEM resources for educators, students, parents, and volunteers. Resources address core STEM concepts including the history of technology and the engineering design process. Improve students’ technology and engineering literacy skills with these resources.

Acquire full lesson plans, hands-on activities, and other materials that engage and inspire the next generation of technology nnovators. (Please click the small registration button on the bottom of the page to register.)

17 September 2020: Join the IEEE Foundation and the IEEE History Center as Institutional Historian and Archivist Mary Ann C. Hellrigel, Ph.D., explores the introduction of electric light during a free IEEE Foundation Spotlight Webinar at 1:00 p.m. ET (UTC-04 17:00). This webinar is called "Edison Invented a Practical Incandescent Lamp, So What?" Register today.

Lunch and Learn: "Small Mistakes, Big Consequences, Usability and Solutions": Small mistakes in technology often have big, and expensive, consequences. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Relatively simple solutions can lead to tremendously successful and usable devices and systems. By looking at notable failures and successes as well as the decision-making that led to them, Robert Colburn, research administrator, IEEE History Center, examines the mindset of making good technical decisions. As a bonus, Colburn also reveals why cruise ships and high voltage electric lines don't mix.

"Between Two Countries: Vladimir Zworykin, Russia and the FBI": Presented by NJARC member Alexander Magoun, Ph.D., at the February 2019 meeting of the New Jersey Antique Radio Club at Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA. Dr. Magoun tells the story of decades of intense surveillance of RCA scientist Vladimir Zworykin from prior to World War II up until the 1960s. 

If your OU is sponsoring a historical event and you would like it listed here, please email IEEE-history@ieee.org.

The History Center activities above are supported by donations to the IEEE Foundation History Center Fund. Donations may be designated for general use to support IEEE history activities, to support collection and posting of oral history interviews of important innovators, and to build the History Center endowment. Please support by donating.

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