News 2019

New IEEE Milestones in Region 8


IEEE History Milestone to be unveiled in GLASGOW, Scotland.

On 17th September 2019, an IEEE History Milestone will be unveiled in the Hunterian, which is a museum on the campus of the University of Glasgow.

The Milestone is to recognise the work done on the standardisation of the unit of electrical resistance (the Ohm).



Prior to this work, there were many conflicting and confusing electrical units and systems, some of which persistied in use for many years.


The unveiling ceremony will be followed by a Technical Symposium during the afternoon in the nearby James Watt building.


A.C. Davies




Salva’s Electric Telegraph, Barcelona


New IEEE History Milestone in Barcelona

A new kind of electric telegraph was reported to the Barcelona Royal Academy of Sciences in 1804 by the Spaniard Francisco Salvá Campillo. The Milestone dedication ceremony took place on 2019 May 15 in the current location of that Royal Academy, in coincidence with the celebration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.
The electric telegraph of Salvá was described in detail in a hand-written report read in front of the Barcelona Royal Academy members on 22 February 1804. That report is preserved in the Academy archives. In his report, Salvá suggest to “make the electricity be able to talk in order to transmit intelligence at a distance”. To meet that goal, the inventor arranged a modern communication system by following what later was known as the Shannon Model. That is to say, by using a transmitter made up with a Volta’s pile, a multiple communication channel set up with a number of wired cables, and a receiver based on Nicholson and Carlyle’s discovery of the electrolytic decomposition of water.
Salvá did not have the opportunity or the resources to complete construction of his invention and he just could carry out some partial physical demonstrations about the feasibility of his telegraph. In spite of that, his ideas inspired the telegraph proposed five years later by the German Samuel Thomas von Sömmerring to the Munich Academy of Sciences, and were described in a document more than 30 years ahead Cooke and Wheatstone’s, and Morse and Vail’s telegraphs.
The unveiling ceremony of the Milestone plaque in Barcelona collected more than 100 people coming from different Academies and Universities from Spain. It was presided over by the Chair of the Barcelona Royal Academy of Sciences and Arts, Mr. Joan Jofré and the Director of the IEEE Spain Section, Mr. Jesús Fraile. On behalf of the IEEE Board of Directors and the IEEE Region 8, Mr. Martin Baastians, past IEEE Vice President for Member and Geographic Activities and past Director of IEEE Region 8, attended the event.
Firstly, Mr. Joan Jofré and Mr. Jesús Fraile, introduced the activities of the Barcelona Royal Academy and of the IEEE Spain Section, respectively. Next, Prof. Sánchez Miñana addressed the audience speaking about the life and work of Salvá, and finally, Prof. Pérez Yuste, talked about the electric telegraph of Salvá and about the process to come up with this Milestone. Prof. Pérez Yuste, IEEE Senior Member and Professor at Technical University of Madrid,  jointly with the doctorate candidate Ms. Begoña Villanueva, did the investigation and submission of the nomination required to get this Milestone approved.
After the speeches, all attendees moved to the entrance hall of the Academy to see the unveiling of the Milestone plaque. The citation shown is as follows: 
On 22 February 1804, Francisco Salvá Campillo reported to the Barcelona Royal Academy of Sciences, in Spain, a new kind of electric telegraph. He proposed a new method of telegraphy by combining the generation of an electric current using the recently-invented voltaic pile with detection by water electrolysis. Salvá’s report described the elements required and how they should be arranged to convey information at a distance

More information about this Milestone and about Salvá and his electric telegraph can be found in the following two websites:
Application and discussion forum about the Milestone:
Journal paper on Salvá and his electric telegraph:

Francisco Salva‘s Electric Telegraph, Proceedings of the IEEE, ( Volume: 98 , Issue: 11 , Nov. 2010 )

History Activities in Glasgow Updated Again

The details about HISTELCON2019 to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, on 18-19th September 2019 at Strathclyde University Technology and Innovation Cenre, are now available on the conference website:

There are a number of other IEEE events in Glasgow during that week including a History Milestone Unveiling at the Hunterian, which is a museum on the University of Glasgow campus and this will be followed by a free-to-attend technical symposium from 1500 to 1700.  All of this is on 17th September 2019.

IEEE History Milestone about the Standardisation of the Unit of Electrical Resistance (the OHM)

This new IEEE History Milestone to recognises the work done to standardise the unit of electrical resistance.  At the time, there were many incompatible and differing standards and selecting a single reproducible one was of great important for the successful design and operation of undersea communications cables.  The availability of fast communications by cable between continents had a huge social impact, and led to the development of better and faster communications between the peoples of the world, with a huge impact on the lives of most people.

The afternoon technical symposium requires advance registration in order to estimate numbers.  The link to register is:

The symposium will take place in the James Watt South building, University of Glasgow (A1 on Campus Map), in Room 526.


Chair: Mike Hinchey (IEEE UK&I Section Chair)

  • Prof Peter Grant, Emeritus Regius Professor of Engineering and John Thompson, University of Edinburgh, “Early electrical resistance standards”
  • Prof Jan-Theodoor Janssen, Research Director, National Physical Laboratory, UK, “Evolution of the measurement of the Ohm over the last century”
  • Don Wright, Past President IEEE Standards Association and from Standards Strategies, Louisville, Kentucky “Changes in International Standardization over the last decade”

Closing remarks: Prof Charles Turner (formerly Siemens Professor of Electrical Engineering at King’s College London).


More details about this Milestone can be read at the ETHW website:

Tony Davies

2019 July 28th, updated 2019 Aug 18th


IEEE HISTORY MILESTONES: some proposals in progress

In the IEEE UK and Ireland Section, there are proposals in progress for:

  1. Superconducting Magnets developed for MRI at Oxford Instruments, Abingdon, with active shielding to make the arrangement practicable for wide medical use
  2. The medical CAT scanner
  3. LEO. The worlds first digital computer for business use (designed and made by LYONS company to support their catering business (1951)

Associated with IEEE Region 1, the first successful transmission of a commercial radio broadcast (1925, March 14th) from London station 2LO, transmitted from Chelmsford to Belfast in Maine, USA.  If successful in getting approval, this would probably involve a plaque at each end.

In Hungary, there is a proposal in progress for the Budapest Metro line no 1 – the first underground electrical railway in continental Europe, still in operation.  There was many innovations associated with this:

  • it was first using the dig-and-cover tunnel technique – under a main road for 120 years
  • it served as a reference and standard for Boston, Paris and Berlin metros
  • it had a bidirectional motor carriage with two driver’s cabins
  • the boogie included the motor
  • of low floor height (“goose neck” chassis)
  • of low tunnel height, this structure gauge became standard for a long time
  • first application of Siemens traction system in underground metro
  • overlapping rail jointing for smooth gliding

In Germany (in collaboration with the UK and Ireland Section) a proposal to recoggnise Christian Huelsmeyer for the first invention of Radar has been approved and the unveiling ceremony is planned for October 2019 in Germany.  Note that the word Radar did not come into use until much later, during WW2.

In Sweden, the 40 year anniversary  of video compression, an invention associated with Linkoping University and KTH Stockholm

In Italy, plans for a Milestone for Ferrari’s Induction Motor and for the Giorgi System of Units


There are many other good topics for developing History Milestone Proposals around the Sections of IEEE Region 8

Tony Davies

2019 Feb 24th, update 2019 Aug 18ths

HISTELCON 2019 in Scotland

Glasgow: squinty bridge

(photo (c) Alan Robertson

The conference Histelcon2019 will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, 18-19th September 2019

It is planned that if successful in being approved, there will be an IEEE History Milestone unveiling at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow on the day before Histelcon2019 starts.

This milestone is about the work done on the Standardisation of the Unit of Electrical Resistance (e.g. the Ohm)

The HISTELCON2019 website is

where the Call for Papers and other information can be found

Papers should be submitted via EasyChair, but those considering the submission of papers are welcome to send the planned titles and a short synopsis directly to me.

Tony Davies

2019 Feb 21st