Section News

Life Members Affinity Group Publishes 2018 Annual Report

Committee members: Charles Turner (Chair), Trevor Clarkson, Alistair Dabbs, Tony Davies, Brian Harrington, Peter Hill, Cyril Hilsum, Phil Judkins,  Rod Muttram, and Roland Saam.

Life Members

The Committee held 4 meetings in 2018, and in addition organised the unveiling ceremony for the Milestone plaque awarded to the Physics Department at Dundee University. The IEEE President-Elect, Jose Moura, unveiled a plaque commemorating the work of Walter Spear and Peter LeComber in the 1970-1980 era that led to the development of the liquid crystal flat panel display used today for television screens and computer monitors.

The main focus of attention for the Committee has continued to be the preparation of future Milestone projects as follows;

1.      Active Shielding of Superconducting Magnets (Rod Muttram)

An application has been filed with the iEEE History Committee and needs approval from the advocate before the planning of the unveiling ceremony at the Siemens plant at Eynsham, Oxon can begin. It is anticipated that the ceremony will take place in late Spring/early Summer.

2.      The LEO Computer (Tony Davies)

Discussions have been held with the LEO Computer Society about possible locations for the plaque, given that the buildings where the original work was carried out either don’t exist or have been used for other non-technical functions. An application to the IEEE History Committee will be made when the site location has been agreed.

3.      The EMI Computer-Assisted Tomography X-Ray Scanner (Roland Saam)

The buildings at the EMI Hayes campus, where the original work was carried out, have been mostly demolished. In spite of this the Committee would prefer to continue to explore the possibility of mounting the plaque as close as possible to the laboratories where the invention was conceived. A site visit is being arranged to identify the best choice of location, following which an application for the award of the Milestone plaque will be submitted.

Independently of the Committee, Peter Grant of Edinburgh University has submitted an application for the award of a Milestone plaque to commemorate the work of James Clerk Maxwell and colleagues on the standardisation of the Ohm as the unit of electrical resistance. The proposal envisages the erection of two plaques, one at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, and a second at the home of Maxwell in Edinburgh.

Additional Milestone projects, such as the optical fibre amplifier, are being delayed because of the need for more volunteers and additional funding. Typically, the unveiling ceremony is accompanied by a symposium of talks about the background to the award of the plaque.

The Committee has also considered a range of other possible activities, such as the mentoring of young engineers, but the most logical extension of the Milestone program has been identified as the area of the history of electronics technology. The Committee has therefore agreed to co-sponsor the HISTELCON 2019 Conference to be held at the Technology and Innovation Centre at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, September 18/19th.

Although the LMAG Committee is comprised of Life members, in fact, any member of IEEE can take part in its activities. The Committee welcomes enquiries from members wishing to volunteer to support its activities, including history projects, technical updating meetings, and other events. These can be organised at any location in the UK and Ireland Section.

Charles Turner
LMAG Chair