Life Members Set Four More Milestones in Motion

UK and Ireland’s Life Members Affinity Group (LMAG) Committee confirmed last week that no less than four new IEEE history Milestones are in the pipeline within the Section. This comes hot on the heels of the unveiling of a Milestone plaque and a technical symposium just after Easter this year dedicated to the invention of amorphous silicon TFT at the University of Dundee.

One of the new Milestone proposals being worked on by the committee volunteers concerns the design and production of active shielded superconducting magnets between 1986 and 1989 at Oxford Instruments (later incorporated into Siemens Magnet Technology) in Eynsham, Oxfordshire. This development dramatically reduced the size and weight of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) installations, and was the key enabling technology that saw affordable and transportable MRI scanners subsequently installed in hospitals all around the world.

Another Milestone proposal being made ready for submission is for the standardisation of the Ohm. This would commemorate the pioneering work of Fleeming Jenkin, James Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson, Werner Siemens, Balfour Stewart, Charles Wheatstone and colleagues as members of the British Association Committee on Electrical Standards, which advised from 1861-67 the British Association for the Advancement of Science and provided the first practical definition of the Ohm as the standard for electrical resistance.

Proposed New Milestone Dedications

Active shielded superconducing magnets | Standardisation of the Ohm | LEO computer | Development of the CAT scanner

Since the original buildings at key locations relevant to this work are no longer extant, Glasgow’s Huntarian Museum and Maxwell’s birthplace in Edinburgh are being examined for a possible twin plaque installation.

Plans for two further Milestone dedications are under way.

The first would be dedicated to the LEO Computer, the first purely electronic (i.e. not electro-mechanical) computer created for business use. The original Lyons Electronic Office ran its first application in 1951, with LEO Computers being formed three years later to sell its products to other companies.

The second Milestone at early planning stage is for the development of the CAT (computed axial tomography) scanner. Although the initial concept dated from the early 1970s, followed by a variety of test installations at EMI in Hayes, it is understood that the first clinical trials and medical application were conducted at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London – at least, this claim to fame is currently under further investigation.

If you’d like to get involved with these or future Milestones, or find out what other opportunities LMAG can open up for older members within UK and Ireland Section, contact LMAG via its web page.