Milestones:IEEE Milestones Program

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IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing

Program Guidelines: IEEE Milestones in Electrical Engineering and Computing is a program of the IEEE History Committee administered through the IEEE History Center to honor significant achievements in electrical, electronic, and computer engineering and the associated sciences. Milestones recognize the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products, services, seminal papers and patents. Milestones are proposed, nominated, and sponsored by an IEEE Organizational Unit (OU)—such as an IEEE section, society or chapter. After recommendation by the IEEE History Committee and approval by the IEEE Executive Committee, a bronze plaque commemorating the achievement is placed at an appropriate site with an accompanying dedication ceremony. The program is administered for the IEEE History Committee by the IEEE History Center. 

IEEE established the Milestones Program in 1983 in conjunction with the 1984 Centennial Celebration to recognize the achievements of the Century of Giants who formed the profession and technologies represented by IEEE.

Each milestone recognizes a significant achievement that occurred at least twenty-five years ago in an area of technology represented in IEEE and having at least regional impact. To date, more than seventy-five Milestones have been approved and dedicated around the world. A list of the current Milestones is available.

Milestone Submission and Evaluation Process
Proposed milestones are submitted through the IEEE History Center to the IEEE History Committee. A member of the IEEE History Committee is assigned as an advocate for the proposed milestone. The advocate is available to guide the nominators in preparing the documentation supporting the authenticity of the proposed milestone. The IEEE History Committee is responsible for evaluating the proposed milestone, and if appropriate, recommending approval by the IEEE Executive Committee.

Approval of a milestone is a two-step process with a milestone proposal followed by a nomination. The time for the submission and evaluation process depends on the completeness of the documentation supporting the authentication of the proposed milestone. Typically the time from submission of the initial proposal to the dedication of the milestone is between nine and fifteen months.

1. Submit proposal: An IEEE OU, such as a Section, Society, or Chapter, is encouraged to submit a proposal for a milestone using the two-step milestone evaluation and approval process. The first step is to submit an initial proposal using the IEEE MILESTONES IN ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING AND COMPUTING PROPOSAL FORM available at the end of these guidelines.

2. Review of Proposal: Within one month of receiving the proposal, the Milestones Coordinator of the IEEE History Committee will appoint a member of the History Committee as the advocate of the proposed milestone. The milestone coordinator and the advocate will review the initial proposal to determine the potential significance of the proposed milestone. The milestones administrator [staff] shall convey the decision to either invite the submission of a detailed proposal with documentation supporting the nomination of the Milestone or the decision to decline the proposed Milestone to the proposers.

3. Proposal: If the review of the proposal results in the decision to invite the proposing OU(s) to submit a detailed proposal, the milestones administrator will provide the full nomination form to the proposing OU(s). The advocate and the milestone administrator shall assist the proposing OU(s) in the completion of the nomination.

Material supporting the nomination shall be submitted in electronic form, either in English, or shall be accompanied by an English translation. The materials shall be detailed, with appropriate references. If the nomination is approved, the documentation shall be preserved in a database available to a broad range of potentially interested parties.

The Milestone Nomination Form includes the submission of a draft citation of not more than seventy-five words describing the achievement to be recognized. The IEEE History Committee may choose to modify the citation. If the IEEE History Committee modifies the citation, the new version of the citation shall be sent to the nominators for comment on the changes. The History Committee has the final decision on the wording of the citation to be recommended for approval to the IEEE Executive Committee. The approved citation will be inscribed on the bronze plaque.

4. Time Limit for Submission: The nomination for a milestone must be submitted to the IEEE History Center within six months of the issue of the invitation.

5. Review of the Nomination: Within three months of receipt of the milestone nomination the advocate shall complete an initial evaluation of the detailed documentation and present a recommendation whether to accept or reject the nomination — including a draft of the final wording of the citation — to the IEEE History Committee for review and approval. This review process may require the submission of additional documentation that may extend the period for the review of the proposed milestone. The advocate shall coordinate the preparation of a draft citation with the nominators prior to the submission of a recommendation to the IEEE History Committee.

6. Approval of Executive Committee: The IEEE History Committee is responsible for receiving the report of the advocate and for the final review and evaluation of the authenticity of the proposed milestone to determine whether to recommend approval by the IEEE Executive Committee.

Citations approved by the IEEE Executive Committee shall be understood as final. Any changes requested to the citation by the OU subsequent to IEEE Executive Committee approval – with the exception of minor grammatical changes – shall require the changed Milestone Nomination to be resubmitted to the IEEE History Committee and to undergo the approval process again.

7. Notification of Approval: The milestones administrator shall notify the nominating OU(s) when the IEEE History Committee recommends approval of the milestone to the IEEE Executive Committee and also notify the respective OU(s) when the IEEE Executive Committee has determined the final action regarding the proposed milestone.

If the milestone is approved, the milestone administrator will complete the arrangements for the payment for the plaque and suggest guidelines for the successful completion of the milestone dedication events.

8. Casting of the Plaque(s): A plaque or plaques will be cast and delivered to the OU(s) within two months of payment received by the History Center (currently about US$600 per plaque). Payment must be received by the History Center before the order can be placed with the foundry. Each milestone plaque is 45cm X 30cm X 3cm [18" X 12" X 1-1/4”] and is made of bronze metal and weighs about 8 kg [20 lbs]. Plaque Mounting Details. The Milestone Plaque must be placed in an appropriate location that is both secure and accessible to the public. English is the official language of the citation as it appears on the plaque and elsewhere (for example, IEEE website). The OU may, at its own expense, have the citation translated and provide an additional plaque(s) cast and mounted. Typically, IEEE milestone plaques are in landscape (horizontal) orientation. However, in cases where the dimensions of the site require it (e.g. an existing building) the plaque may be cast in portrait (vertical) orientation.

In cases where a corporation or other sponsor has agreed to pay for the plaque(s), it is the IEEE OU’s responsibility to obtain payment from the sponsor and for the OU(s) to reimburse the History Center. The IEEE History Center may not invoice the sponsor.

9. Dedication Ceremony: The OU(s) are expected to plan, schedule, and conduct a dedication ceremony. The dedication ceremony is the major opportunity for the public presentation of the significance of the Milestone.

The OU(s) are encouraged to develop the plan for the dedication ceremony as part of the submission of the nomination process. Experience has shown that a successful dedication ceremony requires several months advance planning. The schedule of the dedication ceremony should include at least two months for delivery of the plaque and advance notice to interested officials and leaders from the community and industry. The OU(s) should notify the milestone administrator if a major IEEE Officer is requested to participate in the dedication ceremony.

If a Milestone dedication is intended to coincide with a specific event or date, the OU should keep in mind that the review and evaluation process may require between nine and fifteen months, depending on the period required to prepare and document the nomination of the milestone.

These Program Guidelines were last modified on 29 April 2008.


E-mail to:
Milestones Administrator
IEEE History Center
For assistance, call +1-732-932-1066

Answers to the following questions should be brief. If this proposal is accepted, then more complete information will be requested on the Milestone Nomination Form.

1. What is the name of the proposed milestone?

2. What is the location of the proposed milestone? In what IEEE section does it reside?

3. What was the date of the work?

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

5. What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

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

7. 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.

8. Are the original buildings extant?

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

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

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

12. Please specify the IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone nomination, and list the contact information for the senior officer(s) from those OU(s).

13. Please specify the senior officer(s) of the IEEE Section(s) where the plaque(s) would be placed and supply contact information:


IEEE Section___________________________________________

Position within Section___________________________________


Please specify the IEEE OU which will pay for the plaque(s) and provide the name and contact information of the officer of the OU with approval authority:

IEEE OU______________________________________________

Position within OU_______________________________________


List the person(s) responsible within the organizational unit(s) for preparing the formal milestone nomination, and preparing the ceremonial events with publicity:

Name :___________________________________

E-mail: ________ ____________________________

Name :___________________________________

E-mail: ________ ____________________________

Dedication Ceremony and Publicity:

Name ____________________________________

E-mail: ____________________________________

Name ____________________________________

E-mail: ____________________________________

Proposed by:


(Title) _____________________________________________________________

(Organization) ______________________________________________________




Planning Checklist

Proposal sent to History Center
Communications with History Center Resolved and Proposal accepted
Nomination form agreed and submitted to IEEE History Center (within six months of proposal acceptance)
Nomination approved by History Committee
Final approval from IEEE Executive Committee – Official IEEE Milestone
Planning for ceremony and publicity, invitations sent
Ceremony and event takes place, photographs and publicity sent out.