Milestone-Proposal:Research and education in electronics and communications at Cruft Laboratory, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science, 1915 to 1947

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Docket #:2013-07

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Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s fields of interest? (e.g. “the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences” – from the IEEE Constitution) Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an Electrical Engineering Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:

1917 to 1945

Title of the proposed milestone:

Teaching of Military Personnel in Electronics and Communications at Harvard's Laboratories

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

In 1917 the first Radio Training School for the armed forces was established at the Cruft Laboratory. Special training and courses in electronics and communications were given in the thirties and forties to communications officers. Interestingly, the first two Directors of the laboratory each received the IRE Medal of Honor for their work: GW Pierce for published research and patents on crystal detectors and magnetostriction; and EL Chaffee for research contributions and training for leadership in communications. word count 76

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?


IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: Boston Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: Boston Section
Senior Officer Name: Senior officer name masked to public

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: Boston Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Section chair name masked to public

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Proposer's name masked to public
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Pierce/Cruft bridge Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, located at 19A Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need.

Pierce/Cruft bridge Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, located at 19A Oxford Street, Cambridge MA 02138. This spot is where the union of physics and engineering took place.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

Will be mounted inside the building.

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Space is opened to students and the general public.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

A letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property:

File:IEEE.MilestoneAwards. 1.15.2013.Cruft.pdf

A letter or email from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application:

File:Boston Section memo re milestones .pdf

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?


What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?


What features set this work apart from similar achievements?


References to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article.

1. Excerpts Cruft Laboratory, Annual Reports 1916 to 1929. attached 2. Excerpts Annual Report of the Graduate School of Engineering from 1943 to 1945. attached 3. Cruft Electronic Staff, "Electronic Circuits and Tubes" McGraw Hill, 1947 (994 pages). attached 4. Article "Naval School for Radio Electricians Established" Boston Globe, 17 June 1917. attached 5. New Combined Physics Laboratory A Modern Unit……., The Harvard Crimson, March 12, 1932. attached 6. Websites Harvard CHSI biography on Radio Research Laboratory,/is/,/8725/,/false/,/true&style=single&searchdesc=Radio Research Laboratory Harvard CHSI biography on Cruft Laboratory,/is/,/991/,/false/,/true&style=single&searchdesc=Cruft Laboratory, Harvard University 7. Web Biographies George W. Pierce IEEE GHN GW Pierce Wikipedia G. W. Pierce, 1929, Crystal detectors, magnetostriction devices, author E Leon Chaffee IEEE GHN Emory Leon Chaffee Encyclopedia Britannica

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.