Treasured Texts

The greatest textbooks challenge, elucidate, and inspire. Here are the best of the best

13 min read
Opening illustration for this feature article.
Illustration: Rob Magiera

The son of a British Quaker schoolteacher who became a brilliant orator but believed that practical study was more important than lectures, a mathematical genius fleeing Germany because of his socialist views who was almost turned back by New York customs officials as medically unfit, and two educators, one self-taught in engineering, the other an inventor of analog computers—what did they have in common? Their textbooks on electrical technology were among the few classics that helped establish a new discipline and set the world onto a path that would eventually lead to pocket computers, broadband Internet access, and plasma-screen TVs.

Electrical engineering emerged as a profession in the 1870s and 1880s, when, for the first time, inventors devised such wonders as effective generators, practical arc lamps and incandescent bulbs, effective motors, transmission of power from central stations, and the telephone. Indeed, there had been earlier electrical technologies—the lightning rod, electroplating, and, most importantly, the electric telegraph—but these were not sufficient fodder to nurture a full-fledged profession.

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Video Friday: Drone in a Cage

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A drone inside of a protective geometric cage flies through a dark rain

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23 May–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Remembering 1982 IEEE President Robert Larson

He was a supporter of several IEEE programs including Smart Village

3 min read
A photo of two men in suits.  One behind the other.

Robert Larson [left] with IEEE Life Fellow Eric Herz, who served as IEEE general manager and executive director.

IEEE History Center

Robert E. Larson, 1982 IEEE president, died on 10 March at the age of 83.

An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Larson was the 1975–1976 president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and also served as IEEE Foundation president.

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This Gift Will Help Your Aspiring Engineer Learn Technology

Know someone that is hard to shop for? We have the perfect gift for you.

4 min read