IEEE 125th Anniversary: How It All Got Started (Part 1)

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) turned 125 today. Technically speaking, the IEEE arose from a merger of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) in 1963. Still, the older and bigger parent, the AIEE, held its first meeting on 13 May 1884 in New York City to become a professional society for electrical engineers, which were quickly growing in numbers in the wake of remarkable breakthroughs in technology in the late Nineteenth Century.

To commemorate the occasion, the IEEE is carrying out a series of activities to promote the profession of engineering and reach out to the public around the world to encourage greater understanding of the work the institute carries out (for more information, please visit Celebrate IEEE's 125th Anniversary). To that end, the institute has announced that this is Global Engineering the Future Day, an opportunity to increase awareness of technological advancement, especially among students, who represent the future and will be the people that make the technological breakthroughs of the Twenty-first Century.

In today's Spectrum Online, Editor-in-Chief Susan Hassler has written a column, Engineering the Future at IEEE, in which she looks forward to the next 125 years and the amazing developments that lie in store for the young. "You will learn, if you havenâ''t already, that a universe of opportunities to invent new technologies and make a difference in the world remain wide open to the curious and adventurous willing to take chances and follow their dreams," Hassler counseled students.

Still, the past is prolog to any remarkable achievement, especially to one that has gone on for more than a century. So it bears remembering that this institute started from humble beginnings and originated with a passion for education and professionalism among only a handful of individuals. To review that origin, we'll take a look back at the founding of the organization tomorrow in this space.

It's a truly fascinating story.

[Please also see IEEE Celebrates 125 Years of Engineering the Future in today's Tech Talk section by Spectrum Online's manager, Senior Editor Harry Goldstein, for more on Engineering the Future Day.]

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