Tuesday September 1st 2015

Archived news

IEEE UK and Ireland Life Members Affinity Group

Hot news

The IEEE Board of Directors has  rescinded (e.g. cancelled) its approval of the plan to put a Constitutional Amendment on the 2015 Annual Ballot.  Future governance plans are now being discussed in detail and members are advised to monitor their progress.

A IEEE Constitutional Amendment was going to be put to the vote on the 2015 IEEE Annual Ballot.   This Amendment involved many fundamental changes to IEEE and could lead to substantial changes to IEEE which might or might not be in the interests of most of the membership.

New Volunteers Needed for Life Member Activities

The UK and Ireland Life Member Affinity Group (LMAG), chaired by Roland Saam, has traditionally focussed its activities on the history of technology, especially in the celebration of historic advances in technology through the IEEE Milestones Program. The most recent example was the event held at the famous Abbey Road Studios, and attended by over 100 audio engineers and media commentators, to unveil a plaque commemorating the invention of stereophonic sound reproduction by Alan Blumlein in the 1930s. Other proposals for Milestones are under consideration, including Baird’s achievement of the first successful free space transmission of a television signal.

In each proposal a considerable amount of background research is involved in the preparation of the submission of the case for support to the IEEE History Committee, which is responsible for approving the award of a Milestone plaque to the host site. More volunteers are needed to help with this work, to ensure that there will be a continuing flow of Milestone proposals for approval, and also to help organise lectures, meetings, and other events on history topics. There are also opportunities for members to help with other activities, such as career mentoring for students and young professionals, and giving technical talks to groups interested in learning about new technologies.

It is not widely known that any member of IEEE is welcome to participate in activities organised by Life Member Affinity Groups. For example, many members reach retirement age before they can qualify as Life members, but they can work alongside Life members on LMAG projects. If you would like to help in any way, please contact Roland Saam (r.saam@ieee.org)

The IET Annual History Weekend was at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 6th-7th June 2015.   It included an optional visit to Cragside.

This was a free-to-attend one day conference with papers  presented reviewing the history of power and other engineering specialisms relevant to the IET.  There was also a visit to the Discovery Museum’s ‘Arcs and Sparks’ collection.    Further details about Cragside House can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cragside

The IEEE Global History Network (GHN) content has been transferred to the ETHW (Engineering and Technology Wiki), which is shared with a number of other engineering societies (including ASME and ASCE) and funded by the United Engineering Foundation.   For the time being, automatic redirection from GHN is being provided.  In addition to the IEEE History Milestones, the Historic Landmarks of ASME and ASCE can now be easily located – the majority are in North America.

An IEEE History Milestone was unveiled on 1st April 2015 at Abbey Road Studios in London for the inventions in the early 1930s of Alan Dower Blumlein related to stereo sound recording and reproduction.   Over 100 people attended the unveiling, done by IEEE President Howard Michel and Abbey Road Studios CEO Isabel Garvey.    As well as many demonstrations and historic exhibits, there was  an associated technical seminar.  The Plaque takes its place alongside one to Sir Edward Elgar at the entrance door to Abbey Road Studios.

HISTELCON 2015 is planned for August 2015 at Tel-Aviv University, Israel.   Details below under ‘Future Events’ tab.

The IEEE President-Elect is Barry Shoop and  the next Region 8 Director-Elect is Margaretha Eriksson.   The Region 8 Director serves on the IEEE Board of Directors and as such can influence the future directions of IEEE.     From Region 8 candidates, Maciej Ogorzalek is Director-Elect for Division One.

If you are an IET voting member, you do not have any say in the choice of the IET President, notice the difference between IET and IEEE in this respect.

6th IET International Conference on Imaging for Crime Detection and Prevention (ICDP-15) will be at Queen Mary University of London ,   15-17 July 2015.

This conference follows the successful IDSS (Intelligent Distributed Surveillance Systems) events held in 2003 and 2004 and ICDP 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013, to bring together researchers, industry, end-users, law-enforcing agencies and citizens groups to share experiences and explore areas where additional research, development and better working practices are needed, identify possible collaboration and consider the societal impact of such technologies.
see also under Future Events tab.
website:  http://www.icdp-conf.org/
Latest news:  see also recent updates to Events.

After many years on the campus of Rutgers University at New Brunswick,  the IEEE History Center has moved to Stevens University of Technology, which is said to have a strong interest in Technology History

The new address is:
Stevens Institute of Technology, Samuel C Stevens Library, 3rd floor, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ, 07030

The LMAG Committee met at University of Bath on Friday, 6th September 2013.  A main topic of discussion was plans for History Milestones, with a proposal for a Milestone for the inventions of Alan Dower Blumlein related to stereo sound recording.   For this purpose, son Simon Blumlein and grandson Alan Blumlein were invited to the meeting.
   History Milestones: 
    The Milestone for recognition of the Stereo Sound inventions of Alan Dower Blumlein was unveiled on 1st April 2015.

Holography Milestone Plaque

LMAG Committee:   meetings were held on 7th June 2012 and 8th November 2012 and 27th February 2013, at University of Bath, on Friday, 6th September 2013  during the Student Branch Congress, on 27th January 2015 and 11th March 2015 and 16th April 2015:   Contact Chair for more information
Volunteers to assist with the preparation of Milestone nominations will be welcomed by the LMAG Committee.

Future Events

Defence Electronics History Society (DEHS):  The Autumn Symposium will be at Shrivenham on 7th October 2015.

The theme will be Air Power and Military Electronics.   Speakers and presentation topics will include:

Dave Morris, Curator of Aircraft, Fleet Air Arm Museum, Yeovilton  The Evolution of Seaborne Air Power
Dr James Goodchild WW2 Scientific and Technical Intelligence
Antony Wedgwood   Arnhem Revisited
 Wg Cdr Rod Powell EW During The V-Force Era
 Wg Cdr Jeff Jefford The View from the Back; the Vulcan’s Nav/attack System
 Wg Cdr John Stubbington Enigma Headlines and Air Power in WW2

Bookings may be made via the DEHS website.

Normally last Friday in the month :   the IET Friday Lunch Club meets at around 12.00 for lunch prior to their lecture normally in the Senior Common Room of Imperial College London.    To join them please contact Brian Lovell, telephone: 020 8995 0661 by the previous Monday evening for the lunch and lecture, and by the Thursday evening for the lecture only.  Cost: Lecture – no charge    Lunch – self-service from around £5 upwards.

Programme: 12:00 – 12:30 Select and pay for chosen meal;  12:30 – 13:45 Optional Lunch;  14:00 – 15:30 Lecture and discussion
Organiser: IET London Local Network (Central Sector)
Next IET London Friday Lunch/Lecture Events (from October these will be at Savoy Place):

25th  September 2015    Cookies and The PECR Directive.

30 October 2015 –  Some lessons from Buncefield.

27 November 2015      Mapping the Underworld

11 December 2015 –   Driving Vehicle Technology.

more details to follow shortly

HISTELCON – HIStory of ELectrotechnolgy CONference – is a flagship Conference of IEEE Region 8 and IEEE History Center, and is planned to be shared in the future by IEEE Tokyo Section and more IEEE Regions.

HISTELCON 2015 is the 4th in the series (after HISTELCON 2008 in Paris, HISTELCON 2010 in Madrid and HISTELCON 2012 in Pavia). It is held in conjunction with ICOHTEC (International Committee on History of Technology) 42th Symposium, and with the 10th Historical Conference of IEEE History Committee and History Center, with cooperation of the Cohen Institute for History and Philosophy of Science at Tel-Aviv University, the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society at Bar-
Ilan University and the EE Section of the AEAI (Israel National Engineering Society).   The official language of the conference will be English.

HISTELCON 2015 is designed to explore the phenomenon of “High Technologies” at various historical epochs from multiple historical and contemporary perspectives. We aspire to a comprehensive picture of the development of such technologies,their employment and spread and the interactions with scientific knowledge, economic and social interest and the cultural, social, military, economic and scientific effects.
Recognized as a major force in the modern world, Hi-Tech attracts the attention of experts from many fields. This joint Conference will allow interaction of historians and sociologists of technology and science, with practicing engineers, scientists and technical experts, reflecting their experience and discipline. It aims to create a network between researchers and practitioners from Academia and Industry that encourage interdisciplinary activities. Young Historians, Researchers and Engineers are mostly welcome.
The main theme: “History of High-Technologies and their Socio-Cultural contexts”.

Important Dates:

• Preliminary program – 15 April 2015
• Advance registration deadline – 15 June 2015
• Final program – 30 June 2015
Submission address: Abstracts and proposal for Sessions should be submitted to: m.geselowitz@ieee.org


EEESTA Annual Prestige Seminar: Engineering for the Disabled, at Weston Auditorium, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, AL10 9EU
11th November 2015, 1845-21.30: free entry, advance registration required.         For more information: www.eeesta.org.uk/seminars.php
6th IET International Conference on Imaging for Crime Detection and Prevention (ICDP-15)
Queen Mary University of London ,   15-17 July 2015.
Co-sponsors include IEEE UK and Ireland Social Implications of Technology Chapter, Instrumentation and Measurement Chapter and Circuits and Systems Chapter.
This conference follows the successful IDSS (Intelligent Distributed Surveillance Systems) events held in 2003 and 2004 and ICDP 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2013, to bring together researchers, industry, end-users, law-enforcing agencies and citizens groups to share experiences and explore areas where additional research, development and better working practices are needed, identify possible collaboration and consider the societal impact of such technologies.
The 6th International Conference on Imaging for Crime Detection and Prevention (ICDP-15) aims to create an important networking forum in which participants can discuss the present and future of image-based technologies for crime detection and prevention.
Website:  www.icdp-conf.org


Past Events

Recent Event:

Wednesday 24th June, The Story of Cryptography, Public key systems from Symmetric, Vigenere, Shannon, encryption standards to Asymmetric,  King’s College London, Room K3.11 at 3.00pm, a talk by Prof Peter Hill.

The talk gave a background to the general principles of cryptography with an introduction to historical aspects of symmetric-key cryptography. Basic techniques were described, emphasising the important contributions of Vigenere and Claude Shannon leading to the Advanced Encryption Standard.
Important issues of privacy and authentication were discussed.
The invention and principles of asymmetric-key encryption, so-called public-key cryptography (PKC), and the development of important schemes such as the Diffie-Hellman and RSA algorithms.
Key distribution and schemes such as Pretty Good Privacy were covered.
Finally, the part played by GCHQ Cheltenham with the early invention of PKC leading to the 100th IEEE Milestone was described.

Peter Hill is Professor Emeritus at Cranfield University, UK Defence Academy, at Shrivenham in the Centre for Cyber Security and Information Systems Engineering.   Now retired, he worked previously in the BBC Engineering Research Department and in the Royal Military College of Science.
His interests are in communication systems & signal processing and coding as applied to electronic systems capability including EW/IO technology.  He is a Fellow of the IET and also Life Senior Member of the IEEE.

26th June 2015    Why are Communal Heating Systems making a comeback? at Imperial College London, in SALC at 2.00pm, an IET general interest talk by Andy Neave (Woodford Heating and Energy)

Communal and district heating systems might be ‘old’ technology but its resurgence is having an impact on energy efficiency and carbon saving targets.

The talk looks at the factors driving this resurgence of an ‘old’ technology and how new and renewable technology is having an impact in enabling these schemes to meet their energy efficiency and carbon saving targets.
It discusses the planning and carbon saving reasons why these systems are being installed and uses a few case studies to illustrate how these systems are being incorporated into high rise residential developments within London.

29th May 2015, Counterfeit Electronics.  Speaker Ian Blackman,  International Institute of Obsolescence Management, St. Albans.

 Synopsis:   How big is the problem?   What constitutes a counterfeit item?   How overseas recycling promotes counterfeiting.  How the Component Manufacturers are reacting to the problem.    Best Procurement practices to avoid receiving counterfeits,  International standards promoting ant-counterfeiting practices,  How component users need to change the ways they operate,  Technical advances in components to make counterfeiting harder,  Online support and events to communicate the problem.
 Ian spent more than thirty years in the Defence Industry working for BAE Systems and Selex Galileo. His experience has been in Procurement, Component Engineering and Obsolescence strategy. Products supported included fixed wing military and commercial aircraft, helicopters, UAV’s, fighting vehicles, and homeland security applications.    He has twice been Chairman of the Component Obsolescence Group and now runs the trade association management company that administers the COG contracts as UK Secretariat. Whilst working with COG he helped create the International Obsolescence Management Standard IEC62402.
 Location:  Imperial College London, Exhibition Road.  5th floor of Sherfield Building.
IET event at Imperial College:   24th April 2015, about the V1 “Flying Bomb” of World War Two.  Speaker: Prof Anthony C Davies  (King’s College London / Kingston University)

The IET talk on 27th February at Imperial College was given by Dr. Mike Short, a past president of IET and Vice President of Telefonica Europe.   Title:  “Screens Everywhere

The previous IET Friday talk (30th January) was “ERTMS: Implementation and People Challenges” this talk was by Stephen Head MEng MIET, consultant, Rail Control Systems, with \interfleet

He described the European Railway Traffic Management System – its Implementation and People Challenges
The presentation provided a brief overview of ERTMS, what the technology is and the current roll out plans. It then explored the various implementation and people related challenges before expanding on how the industry is looking to tackle the skills gap.

3rd IFIP WG 9.7 Conference on the History of Computing and Informatics in the Former Soviet Union and the Russian Federation (SoRuCom 2014)

This historically-oriented conference is  held according to the resolution of the Second International Conference on the History of Computers and Informatics in the Soviet Union and Russian Federation (SORUCOM-2011), successfully held in Velikiy Novgorod. The year 2014 features several anniversaries: 120th anniversary of Norbert Wiener, the originator of cybernetics; 90th anniversary of John Backus, the author of FORTRAN; and 80th anniversary of Nicklaus Wirth and of Sir C. A. R. Hoare. This is also the year of 30th anniversary of the Program Systems Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (Pereslavl-Zalessky), and 30th anniversary of the journal «Mikroprotsessornye sredstva i sistemy», whose editor-in-chief was Academician A. Ershov. Also included in the conference topics will be dates and events of the period 2011-2013: 110th anniversary of Academician S.A. Lebedev and Corresponding Member I.S. Brook (2012), 90th anniversary of M.A. Kartsev, the creator of M-2, and 90th anniversary of Corresponding Member S.S. Lavrov (2013), among others.
Location: Kazan, Tupolev State Technical University,  Date: 13-17th October 2014

EEESTA Annual Prestige Seminar: Engineering for the Disabled, at Weston Auditorium, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, AL10 9EU

12th November 2014, 1845-12.30: for more information: www.eeesta.org.uk/seminars.php
Also past:  more IET Friday afternoon events:

28th November 2014:  Early Development of the Rolls-Royce RB211-22 Turbo fan Engine: Speaker:  Prof Philip Ruffles CBE, FRS, FREng

Philip Ruffles was Director of Engineering and Technology and a Main Board member of Rolls-Royce plc from 1997 to 2001 where he enjoyed a distinguished career in engineering.

He has received many national and international awards including the prestigious Mac Robert Award and the Prince Philip Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering for his work on the Trent engine. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2001 for his services to the Defence and Aerospace Industries.

The RB211-22 three shaft turbofan engine was ordered by Lockheed in April 1968 to power the Lockheed L1011 Tristar aircraft.    Securing the order was a great achievement by the company but the programme ran into technical difficulties causing the company to go into receivership on February 4th 1971.   However Herculean efforts by Rolls-Royce and Lockheed  enabled the programme to be saved and the engine entered service on April 27th  1972, four months later than originally planned. This programme laid the foundations for the subsequent successful developments of the engine which powered growth versions of the Tristar, the Boeing B747, B757 and B767 aircraft. It also formed the basis for the very successful Trent family which power today’s wide body aircraft.

The lecture covered the early development of the engine from 1960 to 1980 and reveal for the first time the full technical story behind the company going into receivership. The full history of the RB211 and Trent engine family is covered in the book “ The History of the Rolls-Royce RB211 Turbofan engine” published by the Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust.

Location:  Imperial College London.

31 October 2014: “The Medway Aircraft Preservation Society Limited” Speaker:   Malcolm Moulton

Malcolm is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and President of the Society’s Medway Branch. He is Chairman and co-founder of Medway Aircraft Preservation Society Limited, which holds the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

This talk  explained the significance of aircraft preservation, to the nation and to Medway’s aviation heritage, though the activities of an all-volunteer company, Medway Aircraft Preservation Society Limited (MAPSL). This sprang from the Medway Branch of The Royal Aeronautical Society, of which the speaker is President, as well as being a co-founder and Chairman of MAPSL.

“From Dot-dash to Dot.com”:  speaker Andrew Wheen

The profusion of web sites and applications that characterize the modern Internet may seem a far cry from the primitive telegraph systems of the late 1830’s. There is, however, a direct link. The invention of the electric telegraph paved the way for telephone networks which, in turn, laid the foundations for today’s Internet. In less than 170 years, simple arrangements of magnets, switches and cables evolved to become the largest and most complex machine in the world.

How did this happen? Who were the key players in this amazing story? What were the inventions that shaped modern communications, and what is coming next? Dr Andrew Wheen will attempt to answer these and many other questions, bringing to life the characters, the times they lived in, and the technological revolution that they brought about.
Dr Wheen has worked in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries since 1982. He was one of the original architects of the Energis network, and has also worked for major telecoms equipment suppliers. He has nearly twenty years of experience as a management consultant in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries.

“An illustrated historical overview of some surface to air guided missiles, their control and their targets and aspects of the associated electronic warfare”, Friday 27th June 2014    Speaker: Prof Anthony C Davies  (King’s College London / Kingston University)

The talk illustrated the progression from the large ‘Berkut’ liquid fuelled surface-to-air guided missiles deployed to protect Moscow in 1956 (which altered the Cold War balance of power) to the small portable surface to air guided missiles which enable a single individual to bring down a commercial airliner and the recent generation of versatile ‘plug and play’, ‘shoot and scoot’ easily deployed long-life missiles.  The extensive range of supporting search and acquisition radars, etc. and more recently, various supplementary passive (non-emitting) search methods was be shown.   The impact on the design of the flying targets and developments to protect them from successful attack (stealth, decoys, and the identification, location and destruction of emitters) was briefly explained, leading to the present schemes for unmanned fighters and bombers with cyber-warfare to disable enemy defences.

Location: Imperial College (South Kensington), Sherfield Building.

Also past:

BlackBerry 10 – The Future for Developers

17:00 to 20:15 10th June 2014, Venue : British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB

The third event in the BlackBerry 10 series, withtwo speaker sessions.
Simon Howard, Developer Evangelist at BlackBerry :   an update on BlackBerry 10.
Talking in depth about the latest release of the OS, Simon focused on some of the compelling features
that developers can leverage when creating their apps, whether it be for an app store or for internal use within an enterprise.
He provided an update on the tools and SDKs that can be used and took a look at Open and Cross-Platform mobile development.

Joining Simon to present Session 2 was David Arnold, Senior Enterprise Developer at BlackBerry who  presented an overview
of the means in which BlackBerry 10 development can be successfully deployed within the Enterprise.
In this session, David discussed one of the most exciting developments to hit BlackBerry in the Enterprise
over the last 12 months , thes Secure Work Space which allows Customers to securely manage their data and applications
on iOS and Android devices. He provided a quick overview of both the architecture and functionality of Secure Work Space,
and built on Simon’s discussion of cross platform development to demonstrate how an application can be developed,
secured, managed and deployed with BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.

BlackBerry 10 – The Future for Developers

With its renowned reputation for secure mobile communications and with business and government customers
investing in BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 (BES10), BlackBerry is establishing its position
as a cross-platform MDM provider by extending the Secure Work Space feature to iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
And as the first mobile solutions provider that has achieved the Full Operational Capability (FOC) to run on
US Department of Defense (DoD) networks, BlackBerry proves to be the most trusted enterprise mobility platform
in the mobile industry. Secure Work Place is a feature within BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10,
designed to allow IT managers create a separate area on any iOS or Android device by encrypting information
that is stored or passed through productivity apps like email, calendar, contacts (PIM), web browsing
and document viewing and editing (Documents to Go). By separating corporate data and applications
from personal data and apps, administrators are able to manage and secure company’s assets
while still allowing employees to use their devices without any restrictions.
To fully explore the BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10 new containerization,
application-wrapping and secure connectivity option for iOS and Android devices,

Cambridge Wireless is proud to deliver the third in the Blackberry 10 series.

Confirmed Speakers:

Session 1
Simon Howard, Developer Evangelist, BlackBerry
Simon is a UK based Developer Evangelist in the BlackBerry Developer Relations team. He has 25+ years of Software Engineering experience across a variety of industries and has worked with various mobile device platforms for 15 years. He talks to developers at all sorts of events and also works with developers creating apps for BlackBerry 10, the exciting new Operating System from BlackBerry.

Session 2
David Arnold, Senior Enterprise Developer, BlackBerry
David engages with Customers and Partners to educate, architect, develop and deploy their Enterprise Solutions on BlackBerry Platforms. David works as part of the Enterprise Partnerships team assisting BlackBerry’s Enterprise Customers and Partners across EMEA in bringing their applications to reality on BlackBerry Platforms. David has experience developing across a wide variety of both mobile and web technologies, helping bring secure, cross-platform solutions to customers.

We are extremely grateful to our partner Mobile Monday London and
The IET, The Institution of Engineering and Technology for supporting this event.

To join Cambridge Wireless as a member and attend future events for free, please visit: www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/sign-up

IET London Lunch/Lecture Event: ‘The Story of Radio Astronomy – a personal view’ Friday 30 May 2014     Speaker: Dr Geoff Macdonald

Radio Astronomy has yielded many outstanding discoveries in the past half century, from quasars to pulsars and the background radiation remaining from the Big Bang. Dr Macdonald described the development of radio astronomy from its relatively primitive origins to its present-day sophistication, showing how both advances in technology and the personalities involved have contributed to this exciting story

Location: Imperial College (South Kensington), Sherfield Building

Countering Improvised Explosive Devices‘,   25 April 2014, Location: Imperial College (South Kensington), Sherfield Building Speaker: Matthew Neave: Captain Matt Neave served with one of the British Army’s three bomb disposal and search regiments. He has seen active service in Afghanistan, where he mentored an Afghan Army unit that searched for, and disposed of, Improvised Explosive Devices. Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, have defined the conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  The heavy toll they have taken on British service personnel has captured the public imagination and brought this previously obscure term into common usage.   But what are they?   How are they used and is it possible to defeat them?   This talk addressed these questions whilst giving an brief overview on the history of IEDs and their use in the past; from the Gun Powder Plot to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. _________________________________

Other past events which might be of interest to IEEE Members:

Cambridge Wireless: Security & Defence SIG Event

13:00 – 17:00 10th April 2014 at Olswang, 90 High Holborn, London WC1V 6XX
‘The New Surveillance: To What Extent Should Personal Privacy be Compromised for Public Security and Corporate Gain?’ Communications technology has allowed us to share more of our lives than ever before, but the rapidly accelerating growth in this technical capability has put a strain on our legal frameworks, and the trust in the relationship between individual and organisations. At this half day event, security experts from throughout the industry will address privacy issues that have occurred from current technological advances, and how to approach them. Speakers at this event are Jessica Rivett of Olswang LLP, Simon Rice of Information Commissioner’s Office, Chris Rampton of Home Office CAST and Colin Smithers of Plextek Group.
Recent high profile news stories show how our personal information is seen by more people than we’d realised. The public has a strongly negative reaction when their personal information is harvested for financial or political ends. However, the public also relies on services that monitor our day-to-day lives in order to secure our safety.
This half day event will look at the areas where new technology can cause us to re-assess the trade-off between right to privacy and right to safety. In particular we will consider the societal and technology challenges associated with data-abstraction, internet business models and public safety. All participants are reminded that this is a public forum therefore no confidential information will be shared at this event.
The SIG is championed by: David Chater-Lea of Motorola Solutions and Nicholas Hill of Plextek Consulting, Guy Kenyon of Kenyon Consulting, Tim Phipps of Cambridge Consultants and Rob Quarton of Airwave. This event is kindly supported by the Anthony Waller of Olswang LLP / Legal SIG Champion.
This event is FREE to members of Cambridge Wireless and to members of the IET. Tickets for non-members are £180 plus VAT. To join Cambridge Wireless as a member and attend future events for free, please visit: www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/sign-up
Cambridge Wireless is extremely grateful to IET for sponsoring lunch this event and to Olswang LLP for hosting.
Limited FREE places for non-members: We are keen to engage with, and foster the next generation of technologists so we have limited FREE delegate places at our events for non-members who are under 30. If you would like to register for one of these places, please register as a non-member and under job title please list your date of birth. We will then confirm if you have received a place within one week of the event.
This event is hosted by:
The lunch sponsor is:
Other Past Events which you have missed ……..

27 March 2014: Peter Lindsay Memorial Lecture at Imperial College.

“A stroke of bad luck”

Thursday 27 March 2014 • 17:30: Clore Lecture Theatre, Huxley Building, South Kensington Campus, London SW7 2AZ

Abstract: Stroke is the third greatest killer and causes massive disability, yet there are few effective treatments. It is caused by a disruption of blood flow to part of the brain resulting in a catastrophic cascade and death of vital brain cells (neurones). We showed that inflammation, not commonly associated with brain disease, is a major factor in brain damage caused by a stroke and may also contribute to the devastating consequences of brain injury, haemorrhage and dementias. We have identified a key mediator of the inflammatory processes in stroke, a protein called interleukin-1 (IL-1). We have identified cell sources of IL-1, know it acts in the brain and in the rest of the body and have completed an early clinical trial of an IL-1 blocker in stroke patients. These findings, plans and hopes for the future will be discussed.

Biography: Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, FRS, is President & Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester. She joined the Victoria University of Manchester in 1987, became Professor of Physiology in 1994 and held an MRC Research Chair from 1998 to 2010. Concurrent with her Faculty posts she has also held University roles as Vice-President for Research (2004-2007) and as Deputy President & Deputy Vice-Chancellor (2007-2010). Her own research in the field of neuroscience has contributed towards major advances in the understanding and treatment of brain damage in stroke and head injury.


“Britain ‘s First Automatic Telephone Exchange at Epsom – 1912”   Speaker: John Liffen: 31 January 2014,

Venue: Sherfield Building, Imperial College (South Kensington Campus).

The talk traced the early developments of automatic exchange switching systems and the UK decision to open Britain’s first at Epsom in May 1912 John Liffen is Curator of Communications and Electricity Supply at the Science Museum. Programme: 12:30 – 13:45 Lunch; 14:00 – 15:30 Lecture and discussion Organiser: IET London Local Network (Central Sector)


Friday 28th February 2014: LU150 – Operating Heritage Trains on Today’s Railway

January 2013 saw the 150th anniversary of the opening to traffic of the first section of the Metropolitan Railway – today’s Metropolitan Line of London Underground (LU) – from Paddington to Farringdon. To mark the anniversary Transport for London, through LU and the London Transport Museum, ran a number of commemorative special Heritage Trains, using the oldest serviceable Metropolitan Railway vehicles, along most of the original route, during traffic hours. The presentation concentrated on how LU engineers and operators reconciled the differences in technology and standards to enable operation of the Heritage Trains and outlines the work done, with the LT Museum and other partners, to ensure the success of the celebrations without compromising the curatorial integrity of the custodians of historical artefacts whilst maintaining the safety and operational capability of today’s railway.

Speaker: Chris Holmes – Coming from a railway family, Chris has a life-long interest in trains – going back to his first footplate ride on Flying Scotsman in New England Loco yard (Peterborough) at the age of two and half years. He joined London Transport in September 1972 as a graduate trainee and was continuously employed in the railway rolling stock engineering discipline within LU and Metronet, till retiring from full-time employment in 2010. From 1999 to 2008 he was Asset Engineer (Rolling Stock), initially for the Sub-Surface Lines Shadow Infrastructure Company and latterly for Metronet. In this role he was responsible for assurance of the safety and performance of the trains. From late 2008 to retirement, he was Head of Rolling Stock Engineering for the LU Sub-Surface Lines Upgrade Programme, responsible for acceptance of the new “S” Stock trains and their integration with interfacing assets. Following retirement from full-time employment in February 2010, he has been engaged by LU on a part-time basis as “Subject Expert – Heritage Trains”, providing assurance support for the restoration and acceptance of steam locomotives and other heritage vehicles for use on LU lines in connection with the celebration of LU150.


The Fifth IET International Conference on Imaging for Crime Detection and Prevention (ICDP-13)

took place in London, at Kingston University on 16-17th December 2013.
It is expected that papers accepted and presented will in due course be included in the IET Digital Library and so accessible via IEEE Xplore
The conference co-sponsors include the BMVA and UKIVA and IEEE.
The following IEEE UK and Ireland Chapters are cosponsors: Social Implications of Technology; Signal Processing; Circuits and Systems; Instrumentation and Measurement
The IEEE Social Implications of Technology Society is also a cosponsor
For more information see http://www.icdp-conf.org
“The early application of Electricity to Railways” Speaker: Kevin Payne
29 November 2013, 14:00 – 15:30 preceded by optional pub lunch at 12:00
Location – lecture: The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS and lunch: “Goat Tavern” (upstairs room), 3 Stafford Street, London, W1S 4RP.
The lecture looked at the very first few years of dynamo-electric railways, It gave a brief overview of what came before 1879, then talked about how, within ten years, the technology had advanced so far that it was possible to electrify a tube railway. As this theme developed the author also speculated on why Edison’s attempts to build electric railways were unsuccessful.
Kevin Payne has held a number of posts in the rail industry, with both British Rail and London Underground, several of which have been in traction power supply systems. He has developed a fascination with the early application of electricity to railways and has carried out considerable research on the subject. His lecture drew on this research.
Programme: 12:00 – 12:30 Order and pay for chosen meal, 12:30 – 13:45 Lunch, 14:00 – 15:30 Lecture and discussion, 15:30 – Tea and Coffee at the Royal Institution

Organiser: IET London Local Network (Central Sector)


IET/RSGB Joint Meeting
To mark the RSGB’s Centenary year and its early history of close association with the IEE, the forerunner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), a joint meeting with the IET was held on Thursday, 5 December 2013 at Imperial College (Room 308, Huxley), between 6:30pm and 9pm (arrival after 6pm please).

The meeting was run in conjunction with the IET’s History of Technology Network, and is a part of Centenary Events programme that reaches out to the professional science and engineering community. The meeting comprised two lectures:

  • “Amateur Radio: a 100 years of introducing technology”, Peter E Chadwick, Sen Mem IEEE, G3RZP
  • “Amateur Radio: looking to the future”, Lee Hudson, M0LMH
“3D Television”
Speaker: Mike Cox, B.Sc. FIET
Friday 13th December,2013 at 14:00 – 15:30 preceded by optional pub lunch at 12:00
Location – lecture: The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BS
Location – lunch: The “Goat Tavern” (upstairs room), 3 Stafford Street, London, W1S 4RP. The speaker described how he became involved with 3D and look at the fundamentals of stereoscopy and its application first to film and subsequently to television. He illustrated his first experiments in 3D TV, using cheap Maplins cameras to make a 3D camera, then using two projectors and polarised light to make a practical display. He then looked at more practical cameras, covering side-by-side and mirror rig versions. Displays were discussed, both plasma and LCD, together with active and passive viewing systems and a brief glance at auto-stereoscopic displays [i.e. without glasses]. He also looked at the transmission problems.
Finally, there was mention of the NHK UHDTV (Ultra High Definition) system, used at the London Olympic Games, and what this means for the future.
About the speaker: Graduate Apprentice, Marconi’s WT 1956, Maintenance Engineer, Rediffusion Television, Wembley 1969, Development Engineer, ABC Television, Teddington, 1961, Started Michael Cox Electronics Ltd, 1968, Sold company to Carlton, 1985, Helped Vistek Electronics buy out of GEC-McMichael, 1986, and joined board. Started Cox Associates, 1986 Vistek bought Abekas-Cox Electronics from Carlton, and Cox Associates in 1990. Joined IBC Management Committee 1988. Vice-President, IBC, until 2003.
Cost: Lecture – no charge Lunch – See The Goat Tavern website.

EEESTA: “Deep-Ocean Science, Technology and Conservation”

Prestige Seminar: Wednesday 13 November 2013 — 18:45 to 21:30 in Weston Auditorium, De Havilland Campus, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield
This evening seminar was organised by EEESTA as a joint event with various professional science and engineering Institutions, including IMarEST whose current President, Andreas I. Chrysostomou, delivered the vote of thanks at the end of the formal proceedings. For further information: www.eeesta.org.uk/seminars.php. For more details see also: http://www.eeesta.org.uk/index.php
Events of the British Interplanetary Society: Details http://www.bis-space.com/whats-on
Joint event of Kingston University and the IEEE UKRI Social Implications of Technology Chapter

23rd October 2013, 1300, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road Campus, Surbiton

From Online Evidence to Social Networking and Epidemic Intelligence – new challenges for public health”
A talk by Dr. Patty Kostkova, Principal Research Associate for ehealth at the Department of Computer Science, University College London (UCL) and Research Scientist at the ISI Foundation in Italy.
Cambridge Wireless Event on Location Based Services “Locations and Beyond 2013: Knowing where you will be tomorrow (means so much more)”
Wednesday 23rd October 2013 at the British Library, Euston Road, London. 1030-1800. Co-sponsored by CSR [Cambridge Silicon Radio]. For more details see
DEHS Autumn Symposium “The Cold War”. Thursday 17th October 2013 at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham, Wiltshire, SN6 8LA. 0900 to 1700
Organised by IET London Network: Lecture at the Royal Institution, Albermarle St, London at 14.00 on Friday 27th September:

Military Measurement of Frequency: why it was needed and how it was done by the British Army in the 20th Century.

by Prof Anthony C Davies
The IET President’s Address at the Royal Institution (because of the two-year closure of Savoy Place for refurbishment), given by the incoming President, Barry Brooks, on 3rd October 2013 at 1830 more details see http://conferences.theiet.org/presidents-address/index.cfm
Cambridge Wireless Event on ‘New Materials, Devices and Circuit Techniques for RF?’
12:30 10th October 2013, 1230 to 1730 at University of Bath Innovation Centre, Carpenter House, Broad Quay, Bath, BA1 1UD
“Early Communications”, Speaker David Wilkinson, Date 28 June 2013, at The IET, 2 Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL
The lecture covered the early days of submarine cables, HF radio, tropospheric scatter and satellite communications
David Wilkinson worked for Cable and Wireless Ltd for nearly forty years, latterly as Chief Engineer and Director of Product Development. He is a Fellow of the IET.
Organiser: IET London – Central
Making the History of Computing Relevant Science Museum, London, 17th – 18th June 2013, IFIP WG9.7 in conjunction with the Science Museum and Computer Conservation Society – Sponsored by Google -
Personal Rapid Transport – the Heathrow ‘POD’ ”, Speaker Achyut Gandham, Friday May 31st, 2013, at The IET, 2 Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL
Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) is an idea that was first proposed in the 1950s. However, it has only recently been brought to life by Ultra Global Ltd at Heathrow airport with their ‘Heathrow POD’ system. This comprises a fleet of 21 driverless battery powered vehicles which carry people between the car park and the Terminal. The lecture discussed the principles of PRT, its realisation at Heathrow, how it overcomes many of the issues associated with electric vehicles and its potential for wider application.
Mr Gandham is Lead Transport Planner with Ultra Global Ltd
Joint ICT KTN and Cambridge Wireless Radio Technology SIG Event – ‘Technology for Radio Coexistence’ – 16th May 2013
Much needs to be done to improve the way that politicians, regulators, users and suppliers interact during the process of spectrum reallocation but in addition, RF technology itself needs to recognise that criteria such as link budget, coverage, and spectrum efficiency are not sufficient, and new systems and standards will have to take much more care to cope with coexistence.
This Cambridge Wireless and ICT KTN event explored some of the technological issues and possibilities in improving radio coexistence. For more information about this event , please follow this link: www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/events/
26th April 2013, Energy Efficiency on the Underground
Speaker: Dr Martyn Chymera, 14:00 – 15:30 at The IET, Savoy Place, London WC2R 0BL
5 April 2013: “London Buses -Tracking, Controlling and Information Provision”, Speaker: Simon Reed
at The IET, 2 Savoy Place. London WC2R 0BL
For any transit network, managing network performance is vital to provide a good service to passengers and this, together with the ability to provide real time information to operators and passengers, has been an established aim of the industry for many years.
Simon Reed is Head of Technical Services Group, London Buses
22 Feb 2013: “Hidden Broadcasts (clandestine radios in wartime POW camps)”, Speaker: Ralph Barrett, FIET, at IET, Savoy Place. London WC2R 0BL
When Allied Prisoners of War returned home after the end of World War Two, some managed to bring back clandestine radios used in the prison camps. These radios had had to be constructed in the utmost secrecy and with considerable ingenuity, for example using capacitors made from scrap and resistors from tree bark! The lecture will describe the construction and operation of some of these radios.
Ralph Barrett was formerly on the staff of the BBC, working in many departments, ultimately engineering the cross Channel link for international television. More recently he has presented lectures on various technical subjects.
25th January 2013: “Email forensics: turning the tide of spam, scams and phishing”, speaker: Professor Les Hatton , at the IET, Savoy Place. London WC2R 0BL
Email has been one of the pivotal methods of business and personal communication for the past 20 years. Unfortunately it’s technology was born in an era of relative naivety and this means that it has now become a very lucrative attack vector for criminal activities. These take many forms but most people will be familiar with the notions of spam, (getting bombarded with unwanted mails trying to sell you things), scams (seemingly endless notifications that you alone have been selected to receive millions of pounds for no apparent reason) and phishing, (attempts to steal your identity in order to fleece you in some way). For example, the speaker currently receives around 10,000 toxic emails per day but it has been as high as 150,000.
To help combat the sophistication of modern attacks, this talk gives a basic introduction to email technology to understand its vulnerabilities and goes on to show a wide variety of attacks, what to look for and what you can do to stop it.
Les Hatton, Oakwood Computing Associates Ltd. is part-time Professor of Forensic Software Engineering at Kingston University. He is a recipient of the Conrad Schlumberger Award for Geophysics although his main research area nowadays is the role of computational error in the scientific method on which he has recently lectured at CERN, ESRF and NIST. His latest publication on this subject is as co-author and appeared in Nature last year and his latest book, Email Forensics, is on the elimination of junk mail as a viable threat to the public. He is on the editorial board of IEEE Software and co-edits the popular Software Impact column with Michiel van Genuchten.

14th December 2012, lecture by Roland Saam

The lecture described Roland Saam’s visit and reviewed some engineering achievements on display in five cities in Japan. Examples include the Shinkansen Bullet Train, the quartz watch, Japan’s first hydroelectric power station, high voltage underground power distribution, consumer electronics, early computers, first laptops and hybrid automobile development. The lecture remarked on the quality of presentation of artefacts to the general public, and the initiatives to demonstrate engineering subjects to youngsters. Finally Roland spoke about the IEEE “Historical Milestones” tour which was the foundation of this lecture.
Roland Saam is a Life Senior Member of IEEE, retired from a lifetime career in computer systems design and application. He now volunteers much of his energy for the profession, including editing the IEEE Region 8 News which publicises the activities of IEEE members in Europe, Middle East and Africa. He has served on IEEE History Committee and contributed to the IEE/IET PG History of Technology. He lives in South Kensington.

30th November 2012: Anaerobic Digestion – “Money for old (digestible) rope?”, Lecture by Dr Nigel Horan

Dr. Horan is Reader in Public Health Engineering in the School of Civil Engineering at the University of Leeds and is also Chair of Aqua Enviro Ltd, a consultancy specialising in technologies and techniques for the treatment of liquid and solid organic wastes.

Wednesday 14th November 2012, University of Hertfordshire, De Havilland Campus, Hatfield.

EEESTA event: Discovering the Hidden Universe: exciting results from the Herschel Space Observatory

2nd November 2012: IET London, Savoy Place: Lunch and Lecture,

Manufacturing the Future – Challenges and Opportunities, Dr W O’neill

Bill is a Professor of Laser Engineering within the Cambridge University Engineering Department and Director of the Centre of Industrial Photonics. He has written over 170 research publications and scientific papers on the subject of laser-matter interactions, optical engineering, laser based manufacturing technologies, and micro/nano fabrication techniques. He is a member of the international advisory panel of the National Laser Centre of South Africa, a Director of the Laser Institute of America, and advises industry on a number of laser based manufacturing technologies

The Water Industry, Innovation and the Supply Chain, Speaker: Ian Bernard, Technical Manager of British Water

IET London Network: Friday lunch and lecture at Savoy Place, London, WC2R 0BL, 28th September 2012
The water industry in the England and Wales was privatised by the Thatcher Government. This model has brought private investment finance into the industry however, the 5 year investment model set up by Ofwat has some deficiencies which will be discussed.

You also missed HISTELCON 2012, it is over now. HISTELCON 2015 is proposed to be held in Tel-Aviv, Israel in April 2015.

HISTELCON 2012. Conference in Pavia, Italy, 5-7 September 2012. Details are provided at the website: www.histelcon2012.org In addition to sessions on the historical orgins of electrotechnology, the conference included a session on the History of IEEE Region 8. Papers are included in IEEE Xplore.
Aula Magna; Volta statue; Pavia Bridge over Ticino river; opening ceremony in Aula Volta
The conference was held at the University of Pavia where Alessandro Volta was a professor. The university has a Museum of Electrotechnology, which is associated with the Conference. HISTELCON 2012 is the third in the series of ‘HISTELCON’ conferences, the previous two having been in Paris and Madrid.
Laser Diode 50th Anniversary celebration and CFP
In October 1962 four papers were submitted for publication reporting the realisation of the first lasers operating in semiconductors pumped by a p-n junction. The purpose of this meeting was to celebrate the achievements of 1962 and to look forward to the continuing developments that can be foreseen for semiconductor materials as a laser medium, organic and inorganic, in the future. The organisers also invited contributions of posters from PhD students and Postdocs that describe recent advances in devices and applications.
The meeting, co-sponsored by IEEE UKRI, was held at the Scarman Conference Centre at the University of Warwick, 20th-21st September. A special issue of Semiconductor Science and Technology will be prepared in association with the meeting. Details about the programme, CFP and registration can be found at the link below:

Defence Electronics History Society (DEHS)

The 2012 Autumn Symposium was held at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, College of Management & Technology, Shrivenham on Thursday 11 October 2012. The event was in honour of Tony Sale, creator of the rebuilt Colossus computer at Bletchley Park.
The theme was “Intercept”. The programme was as follows:
Alan Turing’s contribution to British Intelligence Today Dr Julian Richards, University of Buckingham, author of A Guide to National Security: Threats, Responses and Strategies
Diamond cut Diamond: Intercept in the Desert War, including “Did the Germans break the British Typex?” Arthur Bauer & Dr Phil Judkins
Intercept in the Falklands David Thorp, author of The Silent Listener
Electronic warfare and the Falklands Wg Cdr John Stubbington, author of Kept in the Dark – The Denial to Bomber Command of Vital ULTRA and Other Intelligence Information during World War II

Still more Events now over:

The LHC Project at CERN: exploring physics moments after the big bang. A lecture by Prof. Tejinder Virdee at Imperial College at 1730 on 1st May 2012.
Wizards and Luddites: Science, Churchill and the Second World War. A lecture by Prof. David Edgerton on 9th May 2012, at 1400

This lecture was arranged by the Defence Electronics History Society, and was at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom. Seee DEHS website for related information: www.dehs.org.uk

12th June 2012: The bringer of electricity, Speaker: Andrew Everett

An insight into the life and times of Charles Hesterman Merz (1874-1940) a consultant electrician, born in Gateshead who pioneered rail electrification, power stations and introduced the concept of a national grid at first locally, then nationally and subsequently within the British empire and beyond.
Evening Lecture at North Devon College, Barnstaple, EX31 2BQ organised by IET Devon and Cornwall Local Network, refreshments 1830, lecture 1900.
Repeat of same lecture: Plymouth, 13 June 2012


19th June 2012: Exploring the Universe with the World’s Largest Radio Telescope

This talk discussed the Square Kilometre Array. In order to provide a million square metres of collecting area, the SKA demands a revolutionary break from traditional radio telescope design, to achieve both high sensitivity and high-resolution images of the radio sky.Speaker: Dr Georgina Harris, Site Engineer and Power Specialistat Novotel, Hammersmith, W6 8DR, Organised by IET Hammersmith Local Network

29th June 2012: Military Radio and the Battle of Arnhem
Radio communication at Arnhem was poor to non-existent. This talk, drawing on recent experience in the Arnhem area, will explain some of the factors involved.
Speaker: Antony Wedgwood, 29 June 2012 at: IET London: Savoy Place


11th September 2012: Knowledge shared about the K-141 Russian Nuclear Submarine Disaster

Speaker: Eddie Neylon, former head, NATO submarine rescue systems

What really happened to the stricken Russian vessel, ‘The Kursk K-141′ during the disaster in 2000. The vessel was launched in 1994, being 155 metres long – two football pitches – and four storeys high; it was the largest attack submarine ever built.lecture at 18:30, tea at 18:00,at QinetiQ Boscombe Down, Amesbury, Salisbury, UK, SP4 0JS (SP4 0JF for SatNav)

Organiser: Lucy Gray, 01980 662472, ltgray@qinetiq.com


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ABC 123

Who we are

Life Members Affinity Group.
The Affinity Group puts most of its effort in two directions:
1. Technology History and IEEE History
2. Support for Student Activities

Contact us / Committee

Chairperson: Roland Saam
Charles Turner, Tony Davies, Brian Harrington, Peter Hill, Richard Trim, Brian Bowers, Martin Bolton
Tony Davies is R8 History Activities Coordinator for 2013 and 2014
Peter Hill is UKRI Section Historian

History Milestones

Milestones are to commemorate an event, not a person, and must be for something that happened at least 25 years ago. The plaque has a citation of about 60 words which should not mention any living person. Where possible they should be installed at the location where the event (invention, achievement, etc.) took place. If possible they should be where they can be seen by the general public, and if not possible, must be in a place accessible to the public on request.

Information on IEEE History Milestone proposals for the UKRI Section is being provided here:

  1. Harrison’s Clock
  2. Baird’s TV contributions
  3. (A) Charles Kao, Fibre Optics theory and (B) Southampton invention of Erbium doped optical fiber amplifier.
  4. Alec Reeves, Invention of PCM (to be jointly sponsored with IEEE France Section)
  5. Leo Computer for commercial data processing

Robert Colburn is the staff Milestones Administrator at the IEEE History Center.

Antonio Perez Yuste is 2012 Milestones Coordinator for Regions 8 – 10.

Milestones already installed in the IEEE UK and Ireland Section include:

Benjamin Franklin’s Work in London, 1757-1775

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

Maxwell’s Equations, 1861-1870 (at King’s College London and at Glenlair in Scotland)

County Kerry Transatlantic Cable Stations, 1866

Transmission of Transatlantic Radio Signals, 1901 (from Poldhu, Cornwall)

Fleming Valve, 1904 (at University College London)

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

Milestone Plaque Photo (c) A.C. Davies 2009

First Transatlantic Television Signal via Satellite, 1962 (Goonhilly Downs, Cornwall)

Invention of Public Key Cryptography, 1969-1975 (GCHQ, Cheltenham)

The Invention of Holography, 1947 (Imperial College, London)

Invention of Stereo Sound Reproduction, 1931 (Abbey Road Studios, London)

(c) A.C.Davies 2012

Holography: the plaque is mounted on the wall at the entrance to the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Building of Imperial College London. The photo shows (left to right) Martin Bastiaans, Peter Staecker and Peter Cheung (respectively, IEEE R8 Director, IEEE President and EEE Dept Head)

Blumlein Stereo Sound inventions: the plaque was unveiled in Studio Two at Abbey Road Studios in London, on 1st April 2015 in the presence of a large crowd including leading experts in the audio recording field and engineers from Abbey Road Studios.Studio Two for Blumlein Ceremony Left to right: Peter Cobbin (senior director of engineering, Abbey Road Studios), Isabel Garvey (managing director, Abbey Road Studios), Howard Michel (IEEE president & CEO 2015), Alan Blumlein, Simon Blumlein Alan Blumlein (left), Simon Blumlein (centre)The photos show (1) the Studio prepared for the ceremony, (2) the unveiling by IEEE President Howard Michel and Abbey Road Managing Director Isabel Garvey, and (3) Blumlein’s Son (speaking) and Grandson.

Oral Histories

The IEEE Global History Network (GHN) maintains, through the IEEE History Center, a collection of Oral Interviews with well-known engineers and famous people in IEEE-related fields.
Oral History Interviews are currently being made with Past IEEE R8 Directors, for them to talk about their experiences. Text transcripts of these interviews will be accessible by all at the GHN Website www.ieeeghn.org The audio recordings are available (MP3) on request.

Photo taken during interview in London with Reginald Russell (left to right: Tony Davies, Roland Saam, Reginald Russell): Photo taken during the interview in Pavia, Italy, with Jean Lebel (left to right Martin Bastiaans, Tony Davies, Jean Lebel):

Photo taken during the interview at Savoy Place, London with Basil Osborne (left to right, Basil Osborne, Tony Davies, Roland Saam):


This  area of the website is for storage of reference material and for temporary  working documents that may be used during, for example, the preparation of History Milestone proposals

1.  Early Liquid Crystal Work:

F. Reinitzer at German University of Prague: initial work on cholesterol from carrots, he found curious properties in which a cloudy liquid became clear at a particular temperature and became cloudy again as the temperature was lowered once more.  Colours also came and went.    These results were announced in March 1888.

He sought help from Otto Lehmann, then at Aachen, and who was later on at Karlsruhe.   Lehmann succeeded Heinrich Hertz at the Technical University of Karlsruhe (note:  NOT at the University of Karlsruhe), and continued and developed the discoveries about liquid crystals.  He published results of many careful experiments and made many discoveries about liquid crystals.

He communicated on the subject with Ludwig Gattermann of the University of Heidelberg in 1890 and wrote a comprehensive text in 1904.

This was thus many years before the work at University of Hull and then at University of Dundee.


A proposal to recognise Otto Lehmann’s work is being submitted by the Germany  Section of IEEE, and the UK and Ireland Section is preparing a proposal to recognise the work at Dundee.

2.   John Logie Baird Television inventions:

Starting with the first demonstration of the transmission of moving images, Baird went on to make many TV related innovations – colour  TV, 3D TV, large screen TV and more.   Because suitable technology was not available for many of these developments, the mostly did not progress far and it was a very long time before the ideas were turned into commercial products by others.

Comprehensive  information can be found at:


The book by R.W. Burns “Television, an international  history of  the formative years’ (IEE History of Technology Series 22, 1998, London) provides many details in the context of other developments.

The Baird Archive is at present subject to an Export Ban, while attempts are made to raise enough money to keep it in the UK:


Below is a link to  a proposal  for a Baird History Milestone Plaque, which is now obsolete, and it provided just for reference:

Baird Milestone Old Proposal

3.  Napier’s bones:

This was a mechanical device for performing arithmetic calculations (multiplication and division, using addition and subtraction operations).

4.  Cooke and Wheatstone Telegraph:

Used in ~1830.  Best known for use on the Great Western Railway, and for its part in the apprehension of a murder suspect who was travelling by train.

5.  Sturgeon Electromagnet invention:

In 1824, William Sturgeon invented an electromagnet which was able to lift more than its own weight.   Later, in 1832, he invented a commutator for a d.c. motor.

6.  Leo Computer:

This was the first digital computer to be used for commercial data processing.  It was used by the J. Lyons Company, initially to assist with ordering items for  Lyons Corner Tea Houses in London.   The headquarters building of Lyons (Cadby Hall) no longer exists, and so a location for a History Milestone plaque, should it be approved, is uncertain.   Several books document this computer, including:

Caminer, Aris, Hermon, Land “LEO” McGraw Hill, 1998 (originally published 1996 by Boox Allen Hamilton)

Georgina Ferry “A computer called LEO”, 2003, ISBN 1-84115-185-8

7.    Alec Reeves, Invention of PCM (to be jointly sponsored with IEEE France Section):

Alec Reeves invented PCM while working for ITT in Paris in 1938.

PCM and Reeves

8.  Harrison’s Clock:

Although a purely mechanical invention, this had a dramatic influence on navigation and timing and may be considered a first step towards the importance of accurate time and frequency standards which have had a fundamental effect on many subsequent achievements in the field of IEEE.   Locating such a plaque at the Greenwich Observatory seemed the most appropriate, but the decision was reached that there were already enough commemorative items there, and an alternative location has to be sought.

9.  CAT scanner

This device, which has been a revolution in medical practice, was invented by Geoffrey Hounsfield.   EMI sold the rights to USA because they did not have the foresight to understand what it could lead to.

10.  Erbium-doped Optical Fibre Amplifier

Recognition of work done at Southampton University which provided the means of amplifying optical fibre signals in telecommunications systems and so avoided the need to down and up convert them at every repeater station in a long link:  they could then be retained in optical form throughout a long optical transmission route.

Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering Achievements:

The ETHW website includes Landmarks in Civil and in Mechanical Engineering as well as the IEEE Historic Milestones.  A majoroty of these are in USA and to redress this unbalance it would be good to see more in other places, including Region 8 and in the UK.  The Institution of Mechanical Engineering also has schemes to recognise important historical events by plaques and perhaps there is scope for linking these to ETHW.

Cragside is the location of the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectric power, and the picture shows a plaque of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers which is installed there.   The Engineering Heritage Award is another example of a recognition by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, London).

Cragside IMechE Plaque - Copy





Woolwich Arsenal_IMechE Plaque