IEEE Honorary Membership History

Originating in the AIEE, the grade of Honorary Member is a significant honor bestowed by IEEE and is awarded for life to an individual. It was established through the Bylaws of the IEEE, with the following description: Honorary Members are elected by the Board of Directors 'from among those who have rendered meritorious service to humanity in the IEEE's designated fields of interest and who are not members of the IEEE'.

Recipient selection is administered by the IEEE Honorary Membership Committee through the IEEE Awards Board.

AIEE Honorary Members

Lord Kelvin

The AIEE established Honorary Membership at its founding in 1884, and first awarded the grade to Sir William Preece that same year. While the AIEE did not initially define the the qualifications for Honorary Membership, the grade was clearly reserved for those with truly great accomplishments. In its first ten years, the honor went to such men as Cyrus Field , William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), and Hermann von Helmholz. In 1901, the Institute stipulated in its constitution that Honorary Members were to be chosen "from among those who have rendered acknowledged eminent service to electrical engineering or its allied sciences." In 1957, AIEE broadened the definition by making eligible those who had "rendered meritorious service to mankind in engineering or other allied fields." During the seventy-nine years that the AIEE existed as an independent organization, it elected a total of 49 men as Honorary Members, the last two being Philip Sporn and Allen B. DuMont in 1961.

The first constitution of the Institute of Radio Engineers provided that persons who had "rendered acknowledged eminent service to the art or science of radio transmission" could be elected Honorary Members. The IRE never awarded the grade, however, and all reference to Honorary Members was dropped from its constitution in 1931.

When the AIEE and IRE merged in 1963, provision for Honorary Members was made in the bylaws of the new Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, but no new Honorary Members were elected until 1981. In that year, the requirements were changed so that only non-IEEE members were elegible.

Year Recipient
1884 Sir William H. Preece
1889 Dr. Norvin Green
1890 Moses G. Farmer
1892 Cyrus W. Field
1892 Lord Kelvin (William Thomson)
1892 Werner von Siemens
1894 Herman Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz
1912 Andre Blondel
1912 Charles Eugene Lancelot Brown
1912 Emil A. Budde
1912 Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti
1912 Antonio Pacinotti
1914 Silvanus P. Thompson
1917 Guglielmo Marconi
1918 Oliver Heaviside
1921 Ferdinand Foch
1928 John J. Carty
1928 Thomas A. Edison
1928 Michael I. Pupin
1928 Ambrose Swasey
1928 Elihu Thomson
1929 Charles F. Brush
1929 Herbert Hoover
1929 Charles F. Scott
1929 Motoji Shibusawa
1932 Frank J. Sprague
1933 William LeRoy Emmet
1933 George A. Hamilton
1933 Arthur E. Kennelly
1933 Robert Andrews Millikan
1933 Edward Weston
1933 Edwin Wilbur Rice, Jr.
1937 Bion Joseph Arnold
1937 Alex Dow
1938 Cummings C. Chesney
1944 Dugald C. Jackson
1945 Gano Dunn
1945 Frank Baldwin Jewett
1945 Charles Edward Skinner
1949 Vannevar Bush
1953 Edwin Howard Armstrong
1954 Royal Wasson Sorensen
1955 James F. Fairman
1956 Donald Aubrey Quarles
1958 Luigi Emanueli
1959 Elgin Barnett Robertson
1961 Allen B. DuMont
1961 Philip Sporn

List of IEEE Honorary Members

Year Recipient Affiliation Achievement
1981 Edwin H. Land Polaroid Corporation, Cambridge, MA "For his pioneering work in science and technology of photography and light."
1981 John Bardeen University of Illinois, Urbana, IL "For significant contributions to solid state physics leading to the invention of the TRANSISTOR and to the theoretical understanding of superconductivity."
1981 Walter H. Brattain Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ "For significant contributions to fundamental semiconductor physics leading to the invention of the TRANSISTOR."
1982 Brian D. Josephson Univ. of Cambridge, Cambridge, England "For his prediction (discovery) of pair tunneling between superconductors which constitutes the basis of a Josephson junction technology for high speed and low power computing elements and memories."
1982 Donald E. Knuth Stanford University, Stanford, CA "For his contributions to the field of computer science, through research and education."
1982 Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky Stanford Linear Accel. Ctr., Stanford, CA "For extensive pioneering contributions to the development of linear particle accelerators, advancement of high power microwave technology, and high energy particle physics."
1983 Cecil H. Green Texas Instruments, Dallas, TX "For creative philanthropy fostering collaboration of educational institutions and industry in the advancement of electrical sciences."
1984 M. G. K. Menon Government of India, New Delhi, India "For contributions to the planning and growth of science and technology, particularly electronics, and its application to development; promotion of international scientific cooperation; and experimental research in particle physics and cosmic rays."
1985 Hideo Yamashita University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan "For contributions to research in computers, for fostering international cooperation in the science and technology of information processing, and for leadership in electrical engineering education."
1986 Arthur E. Bryson, Jr. Stanford University, Stanford, CA "For contributions to education and for research in the theory and implementation of optimal control techniques."
1987 Arno A. Penzias AT&T Bell Labs., Murray Hill, NJ "For leadership in the research activities of AT&T Bell Laboratories, and for outstanding contributions to radio communications and radio astronomy."
1987 Gene H. Golub Stanford University, Stanford, CA "For improvements in signal processing, modeling, control, and other areas through numerical methods for least-squares estimation and matrix singular value decomposition."
1988 Luis W. Alvarez University of California, Berkeley, CA "For the invention and development of the first successful aircraft landing system using ground control radar and the first proton linear accelerator; for numerous discoveries in the field of particle and resonance physics; and for pioneering work on the extraterrestrial impact theory."
1989 no award no award no award
1990 no award no award no award
1991 Akio Morita SONY Corp., Tokyo, Japan "For his distinguished leadership of Sony Corporation and the integration of emerging technologies into consumer electronics products."
1992 Mark Krivocheev State Radio Res. Inst., Moscow, Russian Federation "For technical contributions to television and leadership in developing international standardization."
1993 Robert W. Galvin Motorola, Inc., Schaumburg, IL "For distinguished leadership of Motorola, Inc., and for his many beneficial contributions to quality processes, competitiveness, and public policy."
1994 Michel A. G. Carpentier Information Market and Exploitation Research, Commission of European Communities, Brussels, Belgium "For leadership in pioneering the R&D and policy initiatives at the European Community level in the areas of environment and information and communication technologies."
1994 Ralph E. Gomory (retired - IBM, NY), Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York, NY "For his outstanding leadership of the research activities of IBM, and the resulting technological benefits to IBM and the computer and semiconductor industries."
1995 Lars H. Ramqvist LM Ericsson, Stockholm, Sweden "For distinguished and far-sighted leadership of the Ericsson Group in a period of rapid technology change and market development."
1996 Leon M. Lederman Director Emeritus, Fermilab, Batavia, IL "For his leadership in research and science education and his advocacy of the importance of science education to the intellectual and economic health of society."
1996 Hiroyuki Mizuno Matsushita Electric Industrial Company, Osaka, JAPAN "For technical leadership in semiconductor research, manufacturing and its application in consumer electronics and for promoting international technical cooperation."
1997 Pekka J. Tarjanne Secretary-General, International Telecommnucation Union, Geneva, Switzerland "For outstanding leadership and contributions to the implementation of new working methods and structures for the International Telecommunications Union."
1998 Pavaguda Venkata Indiresan President, Indian National Academy of Engineering, New Delhi, India "For contributions to the growth of electrical engineering in India through his leadership in education, applied research and professional engineering institutions"
1998 Sheila E. Widnall Secretary, United States Air Force, Washington, DC "For outstanding leadership to United States Air Force science and technology"
1999 no award no award no award
2000 Norio Ohga Sony Corporation, Tokyo, Japan “For visionary leadership in the development of the MiniDisc.”
2001 Charles M. Geschke Co-Chairman, Adobe Systems, San Jose, CA "For many years of inspiring visionary leadership in the software industry related to digital publishing for the World Wide Web, print and dynamic media."
2002 James C. Morgan Applied Materials, Inc., Santa Clara, CA "For his contributions of 25 years to the semiconductor industry and vision in building Applied Materials into a technology pioneer enabling the global information infrastructure."
2003 Tadashi Sasaki President & CEO, Internat’l Center for Materials Research, Japan “For leadership of the commercialization of Liquid Crystal Displays and development of the pocket calculator.”
2003 Jorma Ollila Chairman & CEO, Nokia Corporation, Finland "For contributions to launching mobile communications, a major global industry that has fundamentally changed the way people communicate."
2004 no award no award no award
2005 Dean Kamen President, DEKA R&D Corporation, Chairman Segway LLC, Founder FIRST, Manchester, NH "For innovating numerous medical devices, thereby improving the quality of life for many, and for inspiring youth to heightened interest in engineering through imaginative competitions."
2006 Vladimir Rokhlin Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, Yale University, New Haven, CT "For the development of the Fast Multipole Method.”
2007 Ian C. McRae Eskom (RETIRED), Germiston, South Africa “For contributions to electrification and development of the electrical grid in Southern Africa.”
2007 Tsutae Shinoda Fellow, Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd., Akashi, Japan “For outstanding innovative and pioneering contributions to commercializing large area color plasma displays.”
2008 Jong Yong Yun Vice Chairman and CEO, Samsung Electronics, Co., Ltd., Seoul, Korea "For exceptional achievements in pioneering technology-driven innovation within the electronics industry, advancing engineering education, and encouraging a multidisciplinary engineering community."
2009 Gerald Posakony Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA “For pioneering contributions in ultrasonic techniques for medical diagnosis and nondestructive evaluation.”
2010 N.R. Narayana Murthy Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies, Ltd., Bangalore, India “For founding and leading the extraordinary growth of Infosys Ltd., notable for its ethical stance, and for supporting empowerment of members of disadvantaged rural communities.”
2011 Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam Former (2002-07) President of the Republic of India, New Delhi, India “For outstanding contributions toward transforming society through technology and for inspiring millions of school children to harness science and technology for human welfare and national development.”
2011 Wang Jianzhou Chairman and CEO, China Mobile Limited, Beijing, China “For greatly enhancing the quality of life of large populations in rural areas through visionary leadership in the deployment of affordable mobile telecommunications.”
2012 Yoshio Utsumi President, Japan Telecommunications Engineering and Consulting Service (JTEC) and Advisor, Toyota InfoTechnology Center Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan "For leadership in policy and initiatives leading to the growth of information and communication technologies.”
2013 No Award No award no award
2014 Shirley M. Tilghman President Emerita and Professor of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA “For leadership in bridging quantitative biology and engineering and for advancing higher education.”
2015 Elon Musk CEO, Chairman, Co-Founder, Tesla Motors, Palo Alto, California, USA "For leadership in and innovative contributions to space-exploration technology, combatting global warming and promoting science education, pediatric health, and clean energy.”
2016 Serge Haroche Professor, Collège de France, Paris, France “For the development of cavity quantum electrodynamics, leading to fundamental quantum physics studies and to a wide range of applications.”
2016 Rodolfo Stefano Zich President, Torino Wireless Foundation, Torino, Italy “For leadership in the global integration of electrical and electronics engineering education and research.”