The IEEE society focused on advancing microwave theory and its applications—including RF, microwave, millimeter-wave, and terahertz technologies—is changing its name to the IEEE Microwave Theory and Technology Society. The one-word change from techniques to technology was approved last year by the IEEE Board of Directors. The change takes effect in January.
The new name is more appealing to younger engineers, who had a difficult time relating to the term microwave techniques, according to the society. Many members working in industry reported that they considered the term to be too academic and disconnected from the technology.
The society, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, has more than 11,000 members in its 190 chapters worldwide.
The need for a microwave society
Leading up to World War II and for several years thereafter, most of the microwave work being done supported the war effort, according to an entry about the society in the Engineering and Technology History Wiki. After the war, most microwave engineers worked for the U.S. Department of Defense on classified projects. The word microwave was rarely seen in print until the late 1940s and early 1950s, when several technical societies including the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers—IEEE’s predecessor societies—began publishing articles on the technology. The IRE started holding technical talks on microwaves at its yearly convention.
The IRE approved the formation of the Professional Group for Microwave Electronics in March 1952. Three months later it was renamed the Professional Group on Microwave Theory and Techniques. In 1974 the group underwent another name change, to the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.
The word microwave was rarely seen in print until the late 1940s and early 1950s, when several technical societies including the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Radio Engineers—IEEE’s predecessor societies—began publishing articles on the technology.
The society held its first symposium in 1952. Today MTT-S technically or financially sponsors more than 50 conferences, workshops, and other events each year.
MTT-S has been working to increase diversity in the microwave field. Several years ago, it formed the Women in Microwaves group to attract more female graduate students and professionals to join. And it holds events that help enhance the professional and personal growth of female members and raise their visibility.
In 2011 MTT-S established a gender-neutrality policy aimed at preventing its female members from feeling isolated. It adopted gender-neutral written communications in its governance documents and operations manual, and it encouraged gender neutrality in all its communications.
To learn more about the society’s history, see the January anniversary edition of the IEEE Journal of Microwaves.
Kathy Pretz is editor in chief for The Institute, which covers all aspects of IEEE, its members, and the technology they're involved in. She has a bachelor's degree in applied communication from Rider University, in Lawrenceville, N.J., and holds a master's degree in corporate and public communication from Monmouth University, in West Long Branch, N.J.