History Activities in Region 8

IEEE History

On this page information about the history of IEEE Region 8 is presented, as well as some notices of important future events related to History, etc.

Additional information about IEEE History and about some Region 8 affairs can be found at the IEEE Global History Network (GHN) site, now ETHW.ORG.

Information about Region 8 History Activities and Events can be found by selecting the “History Activities” tab in the menu at the left side of the Member Activities page of the Region 8 website.

Tony Davies

2014 November 17th

Some of the Milestones approved in Region 8

Stereo Sound recording and reproduction inventions in early 1930s by Alan Blumlein.   Plaque installed at the Abbey Road studios in London.  The dedication ceremony was in Studio Two on 1st April 2015, with an associated technical seminar and a lecture about Alan Blumlein.  The unveiling was done by IEEE President Howard Michel and Isabel Garvey, Managing Director of Abbey Road Studios, with an attendance of over 100 people, including many of the engineers with the skills which keep Abbey Road at the forefront of the world movie, video and sound recording business.

‘Zenit’ L3 3D Pulsed Radar   at Kharkiv, Ukraine.

This has been approved and it is hoped to have the installation and dedication carried out in mid-2017, by a ceremony jointly at Kiyev and at Kharkiv

First Generation and Experimental Proof of Electromagnetic Waves 1886-1888, at Karlsruhe, Germany

The pioneering work of Heinrich Hertz has been honored with an IEEE Milestone. Hertz successfully achieved the “” at Technische Hochschule Karlsruhe, Germany, now the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

The Milestone plaque is at the original site of Hertz’s experiments. On Friday 5th December 2014, IEEE President Roberto de Marca and KIT Vice President Detlef Löhe unveiled the plaque. The host, Dean of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology Thomas Leibfried, welcomed the numerous attendees, which included Region 8 Director Martin Bastiaans, Germany Section Chair Axel Richter and the Milestone nominators Dieter A. Mlynski, IEEE Life Fellow from Circuits and Systems Society, and Werner Wiesbeck, IEEE Life Fellow from Microwave Theory and Techniques Society.

In his address, Martin Bastiaans referred to the 50 year history of Region 8 and of the Germany Section. He emphasized that this second milestone in Germany is the 150th worldwide and encouraged further proposals for historic achievements, especially in Germany.

During the 19th century the two incompatible theories of electromagnetic phenomena opposed each other: the long-range force-based interpretation, especially on the European continent, and Faraday’s conception of a short-range field theory, which Maxwell converted into mathematical form, the Maxwell’s equations. From 1885 to 1888, after the 1879 suggestion of Hermann von Helmholtz, Hertz carried out the practical work to verify Maxwell’s theoretical predictions.

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Another Milestone is being planned at Karlsruhe, for Otto Lehman’s invention of Liquid Crystals in 1889.

First Public Demonstration of Television, 1926  in London, England,

The plaque is installed at Bar-Italia, Frith Street, Soho, London and was unveiled on 26th January 2017, by IEEE President Karen Bartleson and Iain Logie Baird, a grandson of John Logie Baird.


On the following day, an all-day technical symposium was held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, with the title:


This included talks, demonstrations, and some exhibits and poster displays, and was attended by a large number of people from many backgrounds on an ‘invitation only’ basis.

A milestone proposal is being finalised to recognise the developments in amorphous silicon switches, which led to the feasiblity of LCD flat screen displays now used in TV, computers, phones, etc.  This milestone will be at Dundee University, Scotland.

Several other possible milestones are being actively discussed within the framework of the Life Members Activity Group of the UK and Ireland Section

Also under discussion, there could be History Milestones for Euler’s invention of Graph Theory, and for Kirchhoff’s Laws, both of which had a huge impact on many topics within the scope of IEEE.   The location in this case is clear:  the town of Königsberg – now Kaliningrad.  A complication is that at the time, it was part of Germany and now is part of Russia – so whose Milestones would they be?

Tony Davies, 2015 January 6th, updated 2017 February 19th

Heinrich Hertz Award:

At one time, from 1989 to 2001, IEEE had a Heinrich Hertz Medal which was funded from Region 8.  However, that award has now been discontinued.

In 1992, it was awarded to James R. Wait, at a ceremony in King’s College London.  I had the privilege of handing the medal to Dr. Wait because I was then Section Chair.      Tony Davies, 2015 January 3rd

HISTELCON 2015 Conference:  HISTORY OF HIGH-TECHNOLOGIES AND THEIR SOCIO-CULTURAL CONTEXTS    Tel-Aviv University, Israel, 16-21 August 2015.

HISTELCON 2017 conference will be in Kyoto, Japan (e.g. the first time outside R8), in August 2017

HISTELCON – HIStory of ELectrotechnolgy CONference – is a flagship Conference of IEEE egion 8 and IEEE History Center, and  sharing by IEEE Tokyo Section and more IEEE Regions is an ongoing plan.
The 2015 HISTELCON was held in conjunction with ICOHTEC (International Committee on History of Technology) 42th Symposium, and with the 10th Historical Conference of IEEE History Committee and History Center, with cooperation of the Cohen Institute for History and Philosophy of Science at Tel-Aviv University, the Graduate Program in Science, Technology and Society at Bar-Ilan University and the EE Section of the AEAI (Israel National Engineering Society).

Conference Theme
HISTELCON 2015 was designed to explore the phenomenon of “High Technologies” at various historical epochs from multiple historical and contemporary perspectives.
Recognized as a major force in the modern world, Hi-Tech attracts the attention of experts from many fields. This joint Conference was to allow interaction of historians and sociologists of technology and science, with practicing engineers, scientists and technical experts, reflecting their experience and discipline.
The main theme is “History of High-Technologies and their Socio-Cultural contexts”.
Original and innovative contributions were invited in areas including:
● Origins and early developments of High-Technologies
● The Cultural/Social/Economical Drivers for the development of High-Technologies.
● The impact of High-Technologies on Culture/Society/Economics.
● Governmental Policies to foster High-Technologies in different cultures/societies.

A beginner’s guide to making proposals for IEEE History Milestones has been added to the History Activities section under Member Activities.

Tony Davies   2013  November 5th

History of the Region 8 Committee

Work-in-progress – Tony Davies, (23 Aug 2007 to 29 November 2014)
Please check for accuracy!

Once upon a time, very long ago, the USA comprised seven Regions, Region 8 was Canada, and Region 9 consisted of several other countries, including seven Sections in Europe. This was all part of the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE). Then, IRE merged with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) to form IEEE in January 1963. The number of Regions in USA was reduced from seven to six, and Canada became Region 7.

IEEE Region 8 was formed on 8th January 1963. At that time it comprised Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The ‘rest of the world’ was all Region 9 at that time, until in 1966, Region 9 was limited to South America and the ‘rest of the world’ became Region 10. The rest of Africa was transferred from Region 10 to Region 8 in 1981.

Some interesting documents related to the history of our Region

  • Region 8 Centennial Review ( r8_centennial_review), issued in 1984 for the 100 years of IEEE.
  • The list of the last Region 8 Committee meeting venues can be found here.
  • Early history of Region 8 and the UKRI Section by Bob Winton, Mick Byford, and Robert Williams. An Interview Conducted by William Aspray on 4 September 1995 for the IEEE History Center. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment when following the link above!

Past and current Region 8 directors

1963-1964 H. RINIA Benelux
1965-1966 Jean D. LEBEL France
1967-1968 Robert C.G. WILLIAMS UKRI
1969-1970 R.P. WELLINGER Switzerland
1971-1972 Paul G. JESPERS Benelux
1973-1974 C. Reginald RUSSELL UKRI
1975-1976 F.L.H. STUMPERS Benelux
1977-1978 E. Folke BOLINDER Sweden
1979-1980 Dick C.J. POORTVLIET Benelux
1981-1982 Walter E. PROEBSTER Germany
1983-1984 Karsten E. DRANGEID Switzerland
1985-1986 Basil W. OSBORNE UKRI
1987-1988 Hugo RUECHARDT Germany
1989-1990 Sven Olaf ÖHRVIK Sweden
1991-1992 Kurt RICHTER Austria
1993-1994 Charles W. TURNER UKRI
1995-1996 Peer Martin LARSEN Denmark
1997-1998 Maurice PAPO France
1999-2000 Rolf REMSHARDT Germany
2001-2002 Levent ONURAL Turkey
2003-2004 Anthony C. DAVIES UKRI
2005-2006 Baldomir ZAJC Slovenia
2007-2008 Jean-Gabriel REMY France
2009-2010 Jozef MODELSKI Poland
2011-2012 Marko DELIMAR Croatia
2013-2014 Martin BASTIAANS Benelux
2015-2016 Costas STASOPOULOS Cyprus
2017-2018 Director-Elect Margaretha Eriksson Sweden

Some recollections of the Eastward spread of IEEE Sections in Region 8

In the days before the end of the Berlin Wall, and the associated political changes in Eastern and Central Europe, IEEE activity in the countries east of the ‘Iron Curtain’ was limited. There was a Poland Section in Region 8, formed in 1972, and occasional IEEE related conferences had taken place there. Other International Organisations such as IFAC and IFIP were rather more successful in organising conferences in this part of the world, because of the way that they had ‘representatives’ of each country in their management bodies.

The Hungary Section was formed in 1987, and the Region 8 Committee held a meeting in Budapest in April 1989.

After the changes, there was a rapid development of IEEE activity and formation of new Sections. A Region 8 Committee meeting was held in Warsaw, Poland, in Spring 1991 during what were still difficult economic times for Poland.

However, growth in membership numbers was (and still is) slow. The economic changes meant that IEEE membership was unaffordable for many professional engineers and academics. Senior members of national research institutes were often able to join using other than personal funds, but in a few cases, they regarded IEEE membership as something of a privilege which they were reluctant to share with junior colleagues.

Somewhat later, the R8 Committee held several more of its meetings in the Central and Eastern European areas: Prague, Czech Republic, in 1994, Berlin, Germany in 1999, in what had been East Berlin (part of the former GDR), then at Budapest, Hungary in 2002 and at Kraków, Poland in 2004. The Czechoslovakia Section was formed in 1992 and despite the split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech and Slovakian Republics, a single Section for both has been retained, although that may not be sustainable in the long term.

Russia was something of a special case – a huge country with many locations which have extensive Scientific and Engineering activity at a high level – where one might expect, in the long term, to see many IEEE activities develop. However after the IEEE Russia Section was formed in 1990, membership growth was very slow, mainly for economic reasons, although many Chapters were formed, partly with the aid of a financial support initiative from some IEEE Societies, especially from Electron Devices, and who paid for initial memberships so that Chapter formation petitions could be created, and there were a number of IEEE conferences held. Chapter Chairs meetings were held in various places in Region 8 with financial support from Societies in Division I and IV and from Region 8, generally alongside the major conferences of one of the Societies, and the support was enough to pay for the attendance of Chapter Chairs from many of the Central and Eastern European locations. The Microwave Theory and Techniques Society was also very active in this initiative and still is. This led to several similar Chapter Chairs meetings for other Societies being initiated by the Region 8 Committee (for example, one for Signal Processing Chapter Chairs alongside the ICASSP in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2000).

However, Chapters in parts of Russia remote from Moscow sometimes complained of lack of support from their Section, and after a while moves to provide some independence for activities in St. Petersburg and Siberia arose. After some suggestions to form a Russia Council were abandoned, there was finally agreement to form three Russia Sections, one to be called ‘North West’ and one ‘Siberia’ – while the original Russia Section retained responsibility for all other parts of the country. Existing Chapters were transferred to the newly formed Sections where the location of their principal activities justified it.

Another “problem” with some of the new Chapters was an unwillingness of the initial Chapter Chairs to hold elections and be replaced by other volunteers, resulting in some very long-serving Chairs. This also happened with a few of the new Sections. In the Ukraine Section, there were strong ‘differences of opinion’ between a Chapter in the East part and another in the West part!

When the three Baltic Republics (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia) gained their independence from Russia, there was a suggestion from the Region 8 Committee management to try to form a single ‘Baltic’ IEEE Section, combining the three countries. There was a mistaken belief that they were all rather similar, with languages incorrectly assumed to be Slavic! It took some persuasion to convince some senior R8 IEEE volunteers that this was not the case, and that each had a very different language and culture.

An early step was the formation of a Chapter in Estonia, which was affiliated with Finland since there was no Estonia Section. I had the pleasure of announcing the formation of this Chapter to the Region 8 Committee when they met in Piscataway in Spring 1998. To the puzzlement of all except the IEEE Finland Chair, I preceded my announcement by asking the Committee to listen to some music played over the audio system – this was a recording of the Estonian National Anthem, to celebrate the formation of the first IEEE unit in Estonia. It was immediately recognised by the Finland Section Chair because both countries share the same tune for their National Anthems, even though the words are quite different. During the time of the Soviet Union, playing the Estonian National Anthem or showing the Estonian flag were serious offences. Some time passed before the three Baltic countries had their own Sections, with the Latvia Section having only recently been established (in 2008).

As mentioned in the September 1995 interview by Bob Winton (archived at the IEEE History Center at Rutgers University, with a link from the Region 8 website), initial attempts to form a Lithuanian Section involved Prof. Raimundas Jasinevicius, from Kaunas University of Technology, who had established links with Universities in London, England many years before, for the exchange of junior academics, etc. Progress with Section formation was very slow and made slower by his absence in Denmark for six years as Lithuanian Ambassador. However, the Section was finally established in 2005, based mainly in Vilnius. This was followed by the Estonia Section formation in 2006 and the Latvia Section formation in 2008.

IEEE activities in the former Yugoslavia were another special case. The Yugoslav Section was formed in 1971, based in Ljubljana and became moderately active in holding conferences and in providing IEEE volunteers. Because of a ‘blocked currency’ situation, membership dues could generally not be sent to USA as dollars, but an arrangement was made to keep the funds in Yugoslavia as Dinars, where they could be utilised for organisation of local IEEE conferences and also could be used to pay the local costs of conference attendance there by visitors from Western countries, who could then reimburse IEEE in USA. Following the wars in Yugoslavia, three Sections were formed in 1992 by petition:  Slovenia and Croatia and a ‘residue’ called the Yugoslavia Section, and each of them now designates its origin date as 1971 (e.g. the date of the initial Section).   Later, a Section was formed for Macedonia, and later still Bosnia and Herzegovina formed a separate Section. Calling the remnant of the original Section by the name Yugoslavia became an increasing anomaly, and in 2005, it was renamed the Serbia and Montenegro Section (but still regards its formation date as 1971).

Because of a number of rather new Sections wanting to host the R8 Committee, and because the R8 Committee management was glad of the opportunities to welcome these new Sections by meeting on their territory, the Committee meetings were held in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2006 and in Sofia, Bulgaria and Bucharest, Romania, in 2007, and later, Riga, Latvia.

The next few meetings of the R8 Committee included venues in Western Europe (for example, Paris, Berlin), and so the long term average is more balanced.

Prof. Tony Davies
8 June 2008 (minor updating April 2012)

Section Formation dates

(some adjustments made 29 Nov 2014, to agree with data supplied by Martin Bastiaans).

5-Oct-1954 ISRAEL
8-Sep-1955 EGYPT
13-May-1959 BENELUX
13-May-1959 ITALY (initially two Sections: “North” and “Middle and South”)
17-Oct-1961 FRANCE
10-Jul-1962 UK and IRELAND (newly renamed from U.K.& REP OF IRELAND)
28-Mar-1963 NORWAY
12-Jul-1963 GERMANY (initially called WEST GERMANY)
29-Mar-1965 SWEDEN
16-Apr-1968 SPAIN
18-Aug-1968 DENMARK
12-Feb-1970 IRAN
17-Mar-1970 GREECE
21-Jun-1971 CROATIA
21-Jun-1971 SLOVENIA
1-Dec-1972 POLAND
12-Jun-1973 FINLAND
12-Jan-1978 NIGERIA
21-Dec-1979 AUSTRIA
4-Dec-1981 PORTUGAL
17-Nov-1982 KENYA  (for a time, called the EAST AFRICA SECTION)
21-Aug-1987 HUNGARY
18-Aug-1989 TURKEY
20-Feb-1990 KUWAIT
15-Aug-1990 ROMANIA
15-Aug-1990 RUSSIA (initially called the MOSCOW Section, until 28 Feb 1993)
21-Nov-1991 UKRAINE
30-Jun-1993 CYPRUS
24-Jun-1995 BULGARIA
12-Nov-1999 JORDAN
24-Jun-2000 ICELAND
23-Jun-2001 BAHRAIN
15-Feb-2002 BELARUS
13-Feb-2003 RUSSIA (SIBERIA)
18-Nov-2004 LEBANON
18-Nov-2004 MOROCCO
18-Nov-2004 QATAR
18-Jun-2005 LITHUANIA
18-Feb-2006 OMAN
26-Jun-2006 ESTONIA
18-Nov-2006 MALTA
16-Feb-2008 LATVIA
21-Jun-2008 IRAQ
21-Jun-2008 TUNISIA
5-Sep-2008 GHANA
15 Nov-2008 ZAMBIA

Evolution of the number of Sections in Region 8

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120 attendees at HISTELCON 2010

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HISTELCON 2010, the second Region 8 Conference on the History of Electrotechnology was held in Madrid, Spain on 3-5 November 2010, with the theme of “A Century of Broadcasting”.

The Conference, organized by the IEEE Spain Section in cooperation with the Spanish Society on History of Science and Technology had a strong support of “Telefonica”, the Spanish Communications Company and collaboration of many technical and Media partners.

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Out of 85 technical papers received, 60 papers were presented during 12 Sessions to an attendance of 120 participants, preceded by greetings by Region 8 Director Josef Modelski and by a keynote lecture on “The Origins of Radio Broadcasting” by Dr. Tapan K. Sarkar and finalized by the launching 0f HISTELCON 2012. All were held at the prestigious Auditorium Room provided by Telefonica.

The presentations covered Broadcasting activities in Italy, Cuba, Turkey, Israel, Brazil, Africa, Cyprus, US, UK, Thailand , Russia, Croatia, Portugal. Siberia, Japan, as well as developments inside Spain. Special sessions dealt with Pioneers of Electro-Technology and with Stellar Moments in the History of Broadcasting.

The Conference attendees were received and greeted by the Deputy Mayor of the City of Madrid, Ms Ana Botella Serrano and visited the Spanish Institute of Radio and Television, to learn about the Digitalization Process of Audio and Video Archives.

Conference Chair, Olga Pérez Sanjuán, of AEIT, Spain and Technical Program Chair, Antonio Pérez Yuste, of UPM, Spain, set up an excellent program, including the Welcome Cocktail Reception at Madrid’s Old City Hall, the Gala Dinner at the Real Gran Pena Restaurant and terminated by a Guided tour through the charming streets and plazas of Madrid Old Town.

All participants felt the excellent athmosphere that reigned during the three days of the Conference and many friendships and professional cooperations resulted from this event.

HISTELCON 2010 set a very high standard towards HISTELCON 2012, to be held in Pavia, Italy in September 2012.

By Jacob Baal-Schem
Region 8 LM & History activities coordinator