Archive for March, 2010

April 2010 Section Meeting Information

The UC Robotics Team

DATE: Thursday, April 22, 2010
PLACE : Raffel’s – 10160 Reading Road (see below for directions)
TIME : 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. –  Social Time
            6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. –  Dinner
            7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. –  Presentation
COST FOR DINNER: $10.00 per person – Regardless of Membership or Membership Grade!


MENU SELECTIONS:   Asparagus Spears in a fresh cream sauce served on toast points, Hot Sliced Roast Beef in Gravy, Parmesan Chicken Breast, Zucchini Carrot Dressing, Buttered Noodles, Sautéed Vegetables, Tossed Salad, Dinner Rolls and Butter.  There is also a bar available for the purchase of alcoholic drinks.

LOCATION:  Raffel’s is located at 10160 Reading Road, south of Glendale-Milford Road on the east side of Reading. Take I-75 to the Glendale-Milford Rd. Exit, go east on Glendale-Milford Road approximately ¾ of a mile to Reading Rd. and turn right on Reading.

RESERVATIONS:  Please email Fred Nadeau for reservations at (preferred) or call the Section Voice Mail at 513-629-9380 by Noon, Tuesday, April 20, 2010 if you plan to attend. Please leave your Name, IEEE Member Number, and a daytime telephone number.

PE CREDITS: Depending on the subject matter, attendance at IEEE Cincinnati Section Meetings now qualifies the attendee for Professional Development Hours towards renewal of Professional Engineers Licenses. Required documentation will be available following the meeting!  The Section Meetings also provide a great opportunity to network with fellow engineers in the area.

ABOUT THE MEETING:  The Robotics Team of the University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Sciences will be competing in two events this year: the 18th Annual Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition and the 7th Annual ION Robot Lawn Mower Competition.  Mark McCrate, a graduate student studying Mechanical Engineering, and Josh Casey, a senior studying Computer Science, will give a presentation about the Robotics Team and their entries in the two competitions.  Hardware related topics will include building the robot, design iterations, laser scanners, stereo vision, GPS, and E-Stop designs.  Software related topics will include Kalman filtering, cell decomposition, dynamic obstacle avoidance, path planning and computer interfacing.  Depending on time constraints, other team/club activities and projects will be presented as well.  Your questions are welcomed during this highly interactive presentation. 

Note: the Section has provided $250 towards the UC Foundation Urban Challenge Fund which helps fund the activities of the Robotics Team.

March 31st, 2010

April 2010 Membership News

The following individuals are IEEE members who are new to our Section:

Michael Bell 
Robert Brown 
Eric Glossner 
Daniel J. Habes 
Mathew D. Jenkins 
Andy Keith 
David W. Leech 
Hao Luan
Tao Ma
Jamie N. McGlothin
James Murphy
Rick Salem
George M. Shiekh
Elizabeth A. Spurlock
Joshua Terrel
Brain Waring

We wish to welcome these new members to the Cincinnati Section!!!

March 31st, 2010

April 2010 History

Scanning the Past: A History of Electrical Engineering from the Past
Submitted by Marc Bell, Editor

Copyright 1996 IEEE. Reprinted with permission from the IEEE publication, “Scanning the Past” which covers a reprint of an article appearing in the Proceedings of the IEEE Vol. 84, No. 9, September 1996.

Sergei A. Schelkunoff and Antenna Theory

Fifty-five years ago this month, the PROCEEDINGS OF THE RADIO ENGINEERS (IRE) included a paper by Sergei A. Schelkunoff on the theory of antennas. At the time, he was a member of the research staff at the Bell Telephone Laboratories (BTL) where he worked for about three decades. (See Fig. 1.) Schelkunoff made important contributions to the theory of coaxial cables and wave guides as well as to antennas.

Schelkunoff was born in Samara, Russia, in 1897. He was a student at the University of Moscow when his education was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. He served in the Russian Army during the War before corning to the United States by way of Manchuria and Japan in 1921. He learned English and received both the B.A. and M.A. degrees in mathematics at the State College of Washington (now Washington University), Seattle. He worked in the Engineering Department of the Western Electric Company during 1923-1925 and spent a few months at the BTL in 1926. He taught at the State College of Washington from 1926-1929 and received the Ph.D. degree in mathematics at Columbia University in 1928 before returning to research at BTL.

Fig. 1.  Schelkunoff studying waveguide transmission in the early
1930’s.   (Reprinted from P. C. Mahon, Mission Communications:
 The Story of Bell Laboratories, 1975.)

One of Schelkunoffs early assignments was to investigate the theory of coaxial transmission lines. He published a paper on this topic in the Bell System Technical Journal in 1934. Subsequently, he studied the electromagnetic theory of wave guides for rnicrowaves and was coauthor with John R. Carson and Sallie P. Mead of a paper on that subject in the BSTJ in 1936. Schelkunoff s first IRE paper was on applications of the Summerfeld integral and appeared in the October 1936 PROCEEDINGS. He authored another IRE paper “Transrnission Theory of Pure Electromagnetic Waves,” published in November 1937. He treated the theory of spherical waves in a 1938 paper in the Transactions of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers and followed this with a 1939 IRE paper on the induced electromotive force method of computing radiation from antennas. In his September 1941 IRE paper, Schelkunoff addressed the ambitious topic of the “theory of antennas of arbitrary size and shape.” He explained that his mathematical analysis of antennas was “precisely the analysis appropriate to wave guides and electric horns.” He observed that:

We may also think of the antennas as the wall of an electric horn with an aperture so wide that one can hardly see the horn itself-just like a Cheshire cat: only the grin can be seen.

Schelkunoff suggested that the physical picture which emerged from his mathematical analysis was “attractive to an engineer.” He began his analysis with Maxwell’s equations and hypothetical conical antennas and went on to show how to apply the results to antennas of other shapes although they were “definitely more complicated.” He concluded that he believed that “the antenna theory is in such a shape that accurate results can be calculated if all visible factors such as base capacitance and antenna shapes are taken into consideration.”

Schelkunoff was awarded the Morris Liebmann Memorial Prize by the IRE in 1942 and was elected a Fellow of IRE in 1944. During World War ll, he served as a technical consultant to the National Defense Research Committee and to the U.S. Navy. He authored Electromagnetic Waves (1943), Applied Mathematics for Engineers and Scientists (1948), and Advanced Antenna Theory (1952). He retired from BTL in 1960 and subsequently taught electrical engineering at Columbia University. He died in 1992 at age 95.

James E. Brittain
School of History , Technology and Society
Georgia Institute of Technology

March 31st, 2010

April 2010 IEEE News

Former NAE President William Wulf Urges Scientists & Engineers to Revive Recommendations in ‘Gathering Storm’ in Speech to U.S. IEEE Members

NASHVILLE, TENN. (6 March 2010) — Scientists and engineers should encourage Congress to revive the recommendations outlined in the 2005 National Academies report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,” IEEE Fellow and former National Academy of Engineering President William A. Wulf said at the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting on Saturday morning.

“The momentum has clearly subsided,” Wulf said at the Nashville Airport Marriott. “If IEEE-USA and other societies get vocal about it, I think we can get the momentum back.”

A video of Wulf’s address will be posted at Session recaps from the meeting are available at


“Gathering Storm” drew strong bipartisan support from the highest levels of Congress, including, among others, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) and outgoing House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.). The Bush administration incorporated many of the report’s recommendations into its American Competitiveness Initiative. The report also served as the basis for the America COMPETES Act of 2007. But the law was an authorization bill, meaning that Congress only granted the authority to fund it.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the stimulus bill — fully funded America COMPETES in the FY 2010 federal budget. The caveat is that it was a one-time infusion of dollars, not a sustained long-term investment.

“Politicians like to solve immediate problems but they’re not good at solving longer-term problems,” Wulf said. “I think they want to do the right thing but there’s an enormous cynicism about their ability to get it done. The extreme partisanship in Washington is a real impediment to getting anything done.”

Wulf, who served as NAE president from 1997-2007, said the four major recommendations of “Gathering Storm” focused on producing an educated workforce, starting at the K-12 level; attracting and keeping top scientists and engineers from the around the world; increasing research funding; and enhancing the innovation environment, e.g. venture capital, corporate taxes and the permanent R&D tax credit. Improvements in these areas have for the most part not been implemented.

“We need a vibrant research base and a good educational system but we have to have more than that,” said Wulf, the AT&T professor of computer science and university professor at the University of Virginia. “We need a culture that promotes risk-taking, tax laws that promote investment, intellectual property protection and laws that protect the public and encourage innovation.

“The strength of the United States has been its ability to innovate.”

One recommendation that has come to reality, Wulf pointed out, is ARPA-E, a DARPA-like entity within the Department of Energy that funds high-risk, high-return research. DARPA — Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — developed the Internet for the Department of Defense.

Wulf noted that because the National Academies is not an advocacy body, it is important for organizations like IEEE-USA to influence public policy. He specifically recommended that U.s. IEEE members visit their local congressional offices and lobby on behalf of “Gathering Storm’s” key findings.

“I’m pleased that IEEE-USA is stepping up to support ‘Gathering Storm,'” Wulf said. “IEEE members can play a key role.”

IEEE Fellow, Former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine Addresses Role of Science & Engineering in U.S. Job Creation at IEEE-USA Annual Meeting

NASHVILLE, TENN. (5 March 2010) — Innovation is the key for the United States to thrive in an increasingly global economy, IEEE Fellow Norman R. Augustine said at the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting on Friday morning.

Augustine, retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, chaired the committee that produced the 2005 report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.” He said Friday the focus of report was jobs, not just in science and engineering but all occupations.

Augustine added that while only 4 percent of jobs in the U.S. workforce are held by engineers and scientists, they play a pivotal role creating jobs for the other 96 percent.

“That’s why the average citizen should be concerned about the state of science and engineering in our country,” Augustine said in his keynote address at the Nashville Airport Marriott.

The theme for IEEE-USA’s yearly gathering of volunteer leaders is, “The Gathering Storm: Are You Engineering the Solutions?” To follow the sessions, go to the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting blog at
Augustine lamented that many of the challenges facing the country in 2005 are still confronting us today. He cited statistics showing the U.S. K-12 education system still “performing abysmally” by international standards. This doesn’t bode well for a nation trying to maintain its position as the world leader in science, engineering and technology.

“Aviation and informatics has brought the world together, leading to the death of distance,” Augustine said. U.S. citizens now have to “compete for jobs with their neighbors from all around the world. … If we are going to compete, it’s going to have to be through innovation.”
“Rising Above the Gathering Storm” served as the basis for the America COMPETES Act of 2007, legislation that bolsters research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and improves educational programs. The authorization bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives, 397-20, and the Senate, 88-8, and was signed into law by former President George W. Bush. IEEE-USA lobbied strongly in favor of the bill.

America COMPETES was fully funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which President Barack Obama signed into law.

A video of Augustine’s speech will be available soon on the IEEE-USA homepage.

Former NAE President & Science Debate 2008 Co-Founder Honored by IEEE-USA for Distinguished Public Service

WASHINGTON (9 March 2010) — IEEE Fellow and former National Academy of Engineering (NAE) President William Wulf and Science Debate 2008 co-founder Shawn Otto were honored with the IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Public Service on Saturday night.

The awards, presented during the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., recognize individuals not currently practicing engineering for contributions that further IEEE-USA’s professional goals.

Wulf was honored “for advancing engineering professionalism and promoting U.S. competitiveness in science and technology.”

Otto drew recognition “for taking the lead to elevate science and technology in America’s public dialogue through Science Debate 2008.”

Wulf, the AT&T professor of computer science and university professor at the University of Virginia, received the first Ph.D. Virginia conferred in computer science in 1968. He taught at Carnegie-Mellon University and was founder and CEO of Tartan Laboratories in Pittsburgh. As assistant director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), he was responsible for computing research, the national supercomputer centers and NSFnet, the nation’s first high-speed Internet backbone network.

Wulf served from 1997-2007 as president of NAE, which was founded to provide engineering leadership that promotes the technological health of the nation. During his tenure, the National Academies issued “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,” a report that recommended 20 steps the United States should take to remain the world’s innovation leader.

Otto is a screenwriter, director, producer, political consultant, entrepreneur and CEO of Science Debate 2008, a nonprofit organization he and five others founded “to restore science and innovation to America’s political dialogue.”

The organization is best known for having the two major 2008 presidential candidates provide written answers to 14 questions on the role of science and technology in America’s future. Completed during the summer of 2008, it was the first time endorsed candidates for president had produced such detailed science policies. Topics included, among others, innovation, energy, education, national security, scientific integrity, research and health. See the Q&A at

IEEE-USA was an organizational signer of Science Debate 2008:

Here’s the full list of IEEE-USA’s 2009 award recipients:
Award for Distinguished Public Service
Shawn Otto
For taking the lead to elevate science and technology in America’s public dialogue through Science Debate 2008

William Wulf *
For advancing engineering professionalism and promoting U.S. competitiveness in science and technology

Citation of Honor
Thomas C. Jepsen
For leadership in advancing the vital role of technology in medical policy and healthcare delivery

Mitchell A. Thornton
For contributions to the advancement of software engineering licensure in the United States

Regional Professional Leadership Award
Loretta J. Arellano
For leadership in volunteer development in Region 6

G. Thomas Bellarmine
For leadership in PACE (Professional Activities Committees for Engineers) activities in Region 3

Carole C. Carey
For establishing a Women in Engineering professional development seminar in Region 2 that rotates through IEEE U.S. regions

Uri Moszkowicz
For leadership in GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) and student activities in Region 1

Darlene Rivera
For leadership in Women in Engineering activities in Region 1

Divisional Professional Leadership Award
Kevin Taylor
For leadership integrating IEEE Power & Energy Society participation in the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting

Professional Achievement for Individuals
Gary Bishop
For leadership in support of GOLD and K-12 activities

Kheng Swee Goh
For leadership in GOLD and S-PAC (Student Professional Awareness Committee) activities inspiring young professionals

Mike Hayes
For leadership in organizing the Engineering Expo in Syracuse, N.Y.

Vishnu Pandey
For leadership in increasing GOLD participation at the 2009 IEEE-USA Annual Meeting

John Richardson
For leadership in preparing IEEE-USA’s response to the FCC in the matter of “A National Broadband Plan for Our Future”

Gordon Young
For engaging local industry in the 2009 IEEE-USA Annual Meeting

Professional Achievement for Organizations
For promoting diversity in the workforce and environmental awareness, and for outstanding support of U.S. IEEE members

Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering the Public Understanding of the Profession
Randy Atkins
For increasing public understanding of the profession through weekly radio “Engineering Innovation” reports

Holly Morris
For increasing public understanding of the profession through live television reporting of the National Engineers Week Future City Competition

Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Engineering Professionalism
Lee Howard
For investigative reports on the misuse of the H-1B visa program

Harry Diamond Award
James M. McGarrity
For contributions to the understanding of radiation effects in microelectronics and to the development of defense electronics for harsh environments

Precollege Teacher-Engineer Partnership Award
George Haus and Richard Sanders
For enhancing the learning experience of precollege students through a wide range of scientific activities
IEEE-USA awards are approved by the organization’s board of directors. The nomination deadline for 2010 awards is 31 July 2010. For additional information, go to or contact Sandra Kim at

* 2008 honoree

Biogas Technology with Potential to Save Thousands of Lives to be Featured at IEEE Green Technologies Conference in Grapevine, Texas

WASHINGTON (31 March 2010) — About 1.6 million people — mostly women and children — die each year from indoor air pollution caused by cooking and heating with wood, dung, coal or crop waste, according to the World Health Organization.

Justin Henriques, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Virginia and co-executive director of Least of These International (LOTI), thinks he might have an answer to help solve the problem.

The IEEE student member will present findings on his biogas digester system at the IEEE Green Technologies Conference, 15-16 April, at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. Early registration has been extended to Friday, 2 April.

Speaking on the ScienceNews Radio Network show Promise of Tomorrow (, Henriques explained how his team updated 1930s biogas digester technology to allow the units to convert animal waste into enough methane gas daily to sustain a household of eight. The difference from previous attempts to utilize such fuel sources, he said, is the compact size, ease of construction, sustainability through easily available materials, low cost and rapid installation via a pre-packaged system.

The fuel Henriques and the LOTI team used in Western Kenya was a mixture of cow manure and water. “Through that anaerobic fermentation process, you actually kill most of the pathogens that would cause sickness from the manure in the first place,” Henriques said on the program.

The conference will explore emerging technologies in renewable energy, alternative fuel, alternative vehicle power sources and technologies to promote energy conservation in the home and business. It will also look at the social, economic and political impacts of renewable energy sources, as well as the social and economic impact of new technologies.

IEEE-USA and Oncor, the largest regulated electric delivery business in Texas, are cosponsors of the IEEE Green Technologies Conference. Oncor Senior Vice President Jim Greer, who oversees asset management and engineering, will be a keynote speaker on 16 April and discuss his company’s Smart Grid Initiative.
Representatives from the following universities, among others, are participating: the University of Tokyo; Birla Institute of Technology, India; the University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; Southern Illinois University; University of Southern California; Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; and the University of Texas at Arlington.

IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes the careers and public policy interests of more than 210,000 engineers, scientists and allied professionals who are U.S. members of IEEE.

March 31st, 2010

March 2010 – Section Meeting Details

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS),
a Duke Energy Perspective on CO2

DATE: Thursday, March 25, 2010
PLACE : Raffel’s – 10160 Reading Road (see below for directions)
TIME : 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. –  Social Time
             6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. –  Dinner
             7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. –  Presentation

COST FOR DINNER: $10.00 per person – Regardless of Membership or Membership Grade!


MENU SELECTIONS:   Stuffed Pasta Shells, BBQ’d Ribs, Marinated Char Grilled Chicken Breast, Au Gratin Potatoes, Buttered Corn, Cole Slaw, Tossed Salad, Dinner Rolls and Butter, Coffee, Tea, Iced Tea, Soft Drinks. There is also a bar available for the purchase of alcoholic drinks.

LOCATION:  Raffel’s is located at 10160 Reading Road, south of Glendale-Milford Road on the east side of Reading. Take I-75 to the Glendale-Milford Rd. Exit, go east on Glendale-Milford Road approximately ¾ of a mile to Reading Rd. and turn right on Reading.

RESERVATIONS:  Please email Fred Nadeau for reservations at (preferred) or call the Section Voice Mail at 513-629-9380 by Noon, Tuesday, March 23, 2010 if you plan to attend. Please leave your Name, IEEE Member Number, and a daytime telephone number.

PE CREDITS: Depending on the subject matter, attendance at IEEE Cincinnati Section Meetings now qualifies the attendee for Professional Development Hours towards renewal of Professional Engineers Licenses. Required documentation will be available following the meeting!  The Section Meetings also provide a great opportunity to network with fellow engineers in the area.

ABOUT THE MEETING:  Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) provides a means to dramatically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere from industrial facilities or when electricity is generated by fossil fuel power plants. Although carbon dioxide is neither toxic nor inherently dangerous, the overabundance of atmospheric CO2  is believed to be a major contributor to global climate change.

Up until now, the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere has been inevitable when power is generated from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.  Now, however, new power plants are being designed with processes to separate carbon dioxide so that it is not released into the atmosphere. Instead, the CO2 is captured and can be piped to underground geological formations where it can be permanently sequestered.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  John G. Bloemer of Duke Energy has over twenty-nine years in the Power Generation Industry, holding various positions in Engineering, Staff, and Management roles.  Positions held in the General Engineering, Resource Planning, Power Services, Business Development Support, and Analytical Engineering departments, with areas of responsibility covering System Protection, Integrated Resource Planning, Emissions Compliance Planning (both Phase I & Phase II CAAA and CAIR/CAMR), Rate Case, Fuel Clause & CPCN Support, and Generation Project Development and Siting technical support functions.  John is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Mr. Bloemer obtained an Associate of Applied Science in Electronics Technology and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Northern Kentucky University, and a Master of Science, Electrical Engineering, MS(EE) from the University of Cincinnati.  He has also attended and presented at many industry related seminars and forums throughout career.

March 2nd, 2010

March 2010 – Membership News

The following individuals are IEEE members who are new to our Section:

Annie M. Avakian
Devin Christopher Cole
Justin Andrew Daniels
William Francis Harkins III
Daniel Holder
Catherine A. Huitger
Milo Wilt Hyde
Vasile Nistor
David Pruss
Michael Valentine
Philip Shaun Wheeler
Bryon Wilkins
Jia Yang

We wish to welcome these new members to the Cincinnati Section!!!

March 2nd, 2010

March 2010 – History

Scanning the Past: A History of Electrical Engineering from the Past
Submitted by Bob Morrison, Editor

Copyright 1996 IEEE. Reprinted with permission from the IEEE publication, “Scanning the Past” which covers a reprint of an article appearing in the Proceedings of the IEEE Vol. 84, No. 8, August 1996.

Semi J. Begun and Magnetic Recording

Fifty-five years ago this month, the PROCEEDINGS OF THE INSTITUTE OF RADIO ENGINEERS (IRE) included a paper by Semi J. Begun on magnetic recording and applications for radio broadcasting. At the time, the author was employed as a research engineer at the Brush Development Company in Cleveland, OH, where he worked from 1938 to 1971. He made numerous contributions to the technology of magnetic recording and was elected a Fellow of the IRE in 1952.

Begun was born in Danzig, Germany, in 1905. He received the Master’s degree from the Institute of Technology
in Berlin in 1929. He earned a doctorate from the same institution in 1933. In 1929 he joined the firm Schuchardt AG in Berlin, where he did developmental work on a steel magnetic recorder known as the Dailygraph, which is shown in Fig. 1. This machine featured a cartridge with two wire wheels and could be used in offices for taking dictation or to record telephone messages. In 1932, the International Telephone and Telegraph Company acquired Schuchardt AG and transferred magnetic recording research and development activities to Lorenz Ag, a subsidiary in Berlin. Begun directed a small group at Lorenz which began work on a steel tape recorder as an alternative to steel wire. The steel tape recorder developed by Begun and his group is shown in Fig. 2. However, the rise to power of Hitler and the National Socialists in Germany caused Begun to emigrate to the United States in 1935.



Soon after his arrival in the United States, Begun and two associates organized the Magneton Company to manage his magnetic recording patents. Subsequently, the Brush Development Company negotiated a license agreement with Magneton and Begun was hired to lead a group at Brush devoted to the development of magnetic recorders. They worked on various types of wire, disk, and tape recorders although none achieved commercial success prior to the war. Fig. 3 illustrates an example of a steel tape endless loop recorder developed during 1939-1941.

In his August 1941 PROCEEDINGS paper, Begun reported that magnetic recording was already in use in Europe in the radio broadcasting field but not yet in the United States. He pointed out that magnetic recording permitted a time delay and was useful when repetition was necessary.  During World War II,  Begun contributed to the design of magnetic recorders for military applications including wire recorders for use in aircraft. He also did preliminary work on the use of paper or plastic tape coated with magnetic materials. This work was done with the assistance of the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M).





After the war in 1946, the Brush Company began marketing the so-called “Soundmirror” which employed a paper tape with magnetic oxide coating. This model is shown in Fig. 4. Begun also worked on television and computer applications of magnetic recording before retiring from Brush in 1971.

After leaving Brush, he founded and served as President of Auctor Associates, a consulting firm in Cleveland. He participated in a study of the causes of violence carried out by The Society for Prevention of Violence and served as the President of the Society during 1989. He became a strong advocate of reforms in elementary education and urged the IEEE-USA to take a more active role in changing “an education system that has not responded with vigor to changing social conditions.” Begun died in 1995 at the age of 89.

James E. Brittain
School of History , Technology and Society
Georgia Institute of Technology

March 2nd, 2010

March 2010 – IEEE News

New IEEE-USA President Identifies Advancing Viability and Contributions
of the Profession as Top Priority for 2010

WASHINGTON (5 February 2010) — Evelyn H. Hirt, who became IEEE-USA president on 1 January, has identified advancing the viability and contributions of the profession as her top priority in 2010. Her concerns encompass the need for recognition of the significant role played by engineers in powering the U.S. economy, and for science, engineering and technical literacy to fuel the creation of future engineers and technical professionals.

“Engineers create jobs by providing systems, products and services through the application of mathematical and scientific principles to practical ends,” Hirt said. “It is this practical application that helps fuel the economy by furthering industrial and commercial objectives in advancing the design, construction and operation of economical and efficient structures, equipment and systems.”

Hirt, who lives in Richland, Wash., succeeds Dr. Gordon Day of Boulder, Colo. Day is serving as IEEE-USA’s past president in 2010 and Ron Jensen of Rochester, Minn., is the organization’s president-elect.

Hirt sees a technically literate workforce, particularly among the young, as being essential to advancing U.S. competitiveness in the 21st century.
“If young people lack recognition of the significant role played by engineers and technical professionals, and without an attractive job market, they will not be motivated to pursue engineering and technical careers,” she said. “Similarly, existing engineers and high-tech professionals will be drawn away from their current careers voluntarily or involuntarily. This will be compounded if individuals lack the science, engineering and technical literacy to obtain the required advanced education or deal with changes in technology trends to meet current demands, should their career motivation change.

“However, we need to think beyond the concept that science, engineering and technical literacy is only for those going on for advanced education or planning a technically demanding career. This literacy is an essential part of powering productive sectors of a global economy and strengthening U.S. competitiveness.”
IEEE-USA has identified a number of public policy priorities that have job-creating potential and carry the promise of making technical careers more appealing: Universal availability of high-speed broadband, patent reform, electronic health records, cybersecurity and more research into alternative energy resources.

IEEE-USA is also supporting efforts to build the nation’s Smart Grid, which has the potential to create jobs similar to the way the Internet did. Smart Grid R&D aims to modernize the electric grid through multi-disciplinary advances in generation, transmission, distribution, storage and control over energy use. Jobs are projected to be created in manufacturing, installation, equipment operation, telecommunications networks, software and controls. Expectations are that homeowners and businesses will be provided the opportunity for greater control over their energy use.

Engineering job creation is particularly important in light of recent statistics from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job losses across all engineering disciplines, according to the agency, totaled 76,000 in 2009 vs. the previous year. Among electrical and electronics engineers, employment fell by 36,000.

The number of working computer professionals dropped 198,000 in 2009 vs. 2008. These figures include software engineers, whose job losses totaled 82,000 year over year; and computer scientists and systems analysts, who saw 78,000 jobs disappear.

“Putting engineers and computer professionals back to work will help power the U.S. economy,” Hirt said. “They will foster technological breakthroughs and engineering solutions to meet the great challenges facing our country and help create opportunities throughout the workforce.”

Meet the New IEEE-USA President

Hirt, who has worked in engineering for more than 37 years, is a principal professional and engineer with Battelle in the Operational Systems Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Her professional experiences bridge the industrial, government and academic communities as both a technical contributor and technical/project manager. She is a subject matter expert in systems (hardware, software and integration) and controls, as well as quality engineering.

Hirt received IEEE-USA’s highest honor last year, the Robert S. Walleigh Distinguished Contributions to Engineering Professionalism Award, “for enthusiastic leadership and contributions in a wide range of IEEE-USA professional activities.” In 2008 she was presented the IEEE Nanotechnology Council Distinguished Service Award.

As an active IEEE volunteer for more than 35 years, Hirt has held a wide variety of local, regional, technical, national and global leadership positions. She served on the IEEE-USA Board of Directors as Region 6 director in 2003-04 and was on the IEEE Initiative Committee on Nanotechnology for a Wider Audience ( in 2008-09. She was founding chair of the IEEE Richland Section Sensors Council Chapter in 2007-08, and was a member of the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society Board of Governors from 2003 to 2007.

In addition to her IEEE activities, Hirt actively participates in Eta Kappa Nu and Kiwanis International, and supports the engineering program at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

Born and raised in Detroit, Hirt graduated cum laude with a bachelor of electrical engineering from the University of Detroit. She added a master’s in engineering management and a certificate in project management from Washington State University.


WASHINGTON (12 February 2010) — Coinciding with Engineers Week from 14-20 February, IEEE-USA is announcing $8,000 in scholarship awards and honoraria to be presented to five U.S. undergraduate students and to two professional journalists who add to the public understanding of engineering.

IEEE-USA ONLINE VIDEO COMPETITION: According to Nita Patel, IEEE-USA vice president of communications and public awareness, $5,000 in scholarship awards will be given to five undergraduates at three U.S. universities, who entered the organization’s 2010 “How Engineers Make a World of Difference” online video competition: First Prize ($2,000) to Sergio Flores Castro, Miguel Murillo and Carolina Flores of UNLV; Second Prize ($1,500) to Zachary Phillips of LeTourneau University in Long View, Texas; and Third Prize ($1,000) to Carrie Hunter of Pensacola (Fla.) Junior College.
The three video entries were deemed most effective in reinforcing for an 11-to-13-year-old audience how engineers improve quality of life. Entries in the third annual IEEE-USA video competition profiled an engineer or technologies.

Pensacola Junior College’s Hunter will also receive a $500 scholarship award for the most innovative and effective presentation of a video entry to the “tween” target audience. A representative of the first-prize team from UNLV will be recognized at the IEEE-USA Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn., on 6 March.

The award-winning entries will also be featured in the first nationwide Web-based gathering of engineering students, an “Engineers Week Blast!” live from Howard University in Washington, D.C., on 18 Feb. from 8-9 p.m. ET, at

The three-judge video competition panel included: Andrew Quecan, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at Stanford University; Suzette Aguilar, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin; and Nate Ball, mechanical engineer and host of PBS’ “Design Squad.”

According to IEEE-USA’s Patel, the video competition was designed to be replicated in IEEE student sections both in and outside of the United States. IEEE-USA will launch its fourth video scholarship competition in September.

To view all of this year’s award entries, go to

IEEE-USA JOURNALISM AWARD: Additionally during Engineers Week, according to IEEE-USA Communications/Public Awareness Vice President Patel, the organization is presenting two $1,500 honoraria to recognize print and electronic journalists who have added to a greater public understanding of the contributions of engineering and computer professionals to society. The two recipients of the IEEE-USA journalism award are: Holly Morris from Fox 5 Morning News in Washington; and Randy Atkins from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), also in Washington.

Fox 5’s Morris, who has a degree in civil and environmental engineering, was singled out for her coverage of the 2009 National Engineers Week Future City Competition. Atkins, NAE’s senior program officer for media/public relations, was tapped for providing one-minute weekly radio features highlighting engineering innovations and stories that add technical context to issues in the news. Both will be recognized with the IEEE-USA Award for Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding of the Profession, at the organization’s annual meeting in Tennessee’s capital city.

Pittsburgh Biomedical Engineering Researcher, Entrepreneur Chosen
as an Engineers Week New Face of Engineering

WASHINGTON (19 February 2010) — Biomedical engineer Sanna Gaspard is researching ways to improve the survival rate of premature babies. For this and other work she was chosen as a 2010 Engineers Week “New Face of Engineering.”

Gaspard, a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, is founder and CEO of TLneoCare, LLC, a start-up company focusing on developing and commercializing a neonatal message unit to aid infants born prematurely. The company is in the process of raising capital for prototyping, FDA classification and clinical testing. Her doctoral research is focused on designing a diagnostic tool for stage 1 pressure ulcers.

Alessandro Ferrero, past president of the IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Society, worked with Gaspard at his “Politecnico di Milano” lab in Italy.

“Ms. Gaspard is a truly dedicated biomedical engineer with an entrepreneurial spirit committed to translating her bioinstrumentation research and development to society, where it has the potential to save lives,” Ferrero wrote in his nomination letter.

The New Faces of Engineering recognition program is sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation, a coalition of engineering societies, major corporations and government agencies. The program highlights the vitality, diversity and rich contributions of engineers under 30. They are honored annually during Engineers Week.

Gaspard was one of 13 engineers recognized for this international honor and featured in a full-page ad that ran in USA Today on 16 February:

Gaspard is the GOLD (Graduate of the Last Decade) representative to the IEEE Instrumentation & Measurement Society. She is also a member of IEEE’s Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, and founded the Graduate Biomedical Engineering Society at Carnegie Mellon.

Dr. Robert J. Webster III, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University, and Ryan Acierno, an engineer with CH2M HILL, were IEEE-USA’s two other finalists.

Florida, Nevada Middle Schools Honored by IEEE-USA at Future City Competition National Finals

WASHINGTON (26 February 2010) — Martinez  Middle School of Lutz, Fla., was presented the 10th-annual IEEE-USA Best Communications System Award at the National Engineers Week Future City Competition National Finals last week. Northern Nevada Home Schools Mt. Rose captured third place honors — also sponsored by IEEE-USA — in the overall competition.

Martinez Middle School was recognized for the most “efficient and accurate communications system” at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Its city, “Facticious Insula,” is set in 2209 and features a communications system based on teleportation.

Combining properties of telecommunications and transportation, this near instantaneous transfer of matter from one place to another would allow a resident of Facticious Insula to speak with anyone in person. (You couldn’t just pop into someone’s place unannounced; you would have to have permission.)

The Martinez team included students Kiran Shila, 14, eighth grade; Erik Tanberg, 13, eighth grade; and Michael Palermo, 13, seventh grade; science teacher Kathleen Baten; and engineer-mentor Jennifer Bartlett. (Student team member Mitchell Bowers, 12, seventh grade, was killed while riding his bicycle shortly after the team won the Florida (Tampa) regional competition last month.)

Baten also teaches the Future City elective class the school offers in the fall. It had seven teams compete this year, each with 3-4 members. The top two teams qualified to represent Martinez at the regional contest.

IEEE-USA President Evelyn Hirt presented Martinez team members with plaques. Each student will also receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.

By placing third in the overall competition with its 2030 city “Esperanza,” Northern Nevada Home Schools Mt. Rose won $2,000 for its science and technology program. The team was comprised of students Jamie Poston, Bailey Watkins and Juliana Lucas; engineer-mentor Jamie Lee Poston; and teacher Patricia Eileen Poston.

Davidson (N.C.) International Baccalaureate Middle School won the grand prize for its future city, “Mamohatra.” The five team members will receive a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala., courtesy of Bentley Systems, Inc.

They and teams from Florida (Miami), Michigan and Nebraska joined President Barack Obama in the White House and asked questions of astronauts aboard the International Space Station. See video at

About Future City
The Future City Competition (, initiated by IEEE-USA in 1993, is designed to promote technological literacy and engineering to middle school students. Under the guidance of an engineer and teacher, the children create their own vision of a future city, working first on computer and then constructing three-dimensional scale models.

The students also have to write an essay about a predetermined challenge the city might face. This year’s theme was to design “an affordable living space for people who have lost their home due to a disaster or financial emergency.” The final piece of the contest is a presentation before a panel of judges.

More than 1,100 schools and 33,000 students from across the United States competed during the 2009-10 season. Thirty-nine regional champions earned a trip to Washington for the National Finals. Pilot programs are held in Egypt, Sweden and Japan. A spinoff, “Future Cities 2020,” is underway in India.

When the first Future City Competition was staged, about 600 students and 175 schools participated across five regions. For more on the early history of the program, go to

IEEE-USA President Praises U.S. Job Growth Initiative by Invest in America Alliance

WASHINGTON (26 February 2010) — IEEE-USA President Evelyn Hirt praises the Intel-led Invest in America Alliance for its $3.5 billion initiative to support investment in U.S.-based technology companies over the next two years, and for its commitment to significantly increase jobs for college graduates.

“We commend the Invest in America Alliance for its investment in U.S. businesses and for creating high-skill job opportunities for U.S. workers,” Hirt said. “Overall, this will benefit the U.S. economy as we recover from the recession, and it is anticipated that additional near- and long-term job opportunities will result. This pledge for hiring college graduates and the prospect of future job opportunities will assist in encouraging young people to continue to seek education in science and engineering.”

Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced the initiatives Tuesday in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Strong, enduring economies grow out of a culture of investment and a commitment to innovation,” Otellini said. “We simply must have a clear, consistent strategy to promote innovation, investment and start-up companies. There are things business can do, and ought to do, independent of what government achieves.

“It would be a long-term mistake to let our future scientists and engineers sit idle after graduation. [These] announcements are both an investment in the country’s innovators and a signal to the global marketplace about America’s commitment to innovation and future competitiveness.”

The $3.5 billion alliance investment include a new $200 million “Intel Capital Invest in America Technology Fund” that will target key innovation and growth segments such as clean technology, information technology and biotechnology.

Otellini’s announcement also included a pledge from 17 technology and other corporate leaders to increase their hiring goals for college graduates over 2009 levels, some as much as twofold. This represents 10,500 jobs, largely for those with engineering and computer science backgrounds.

Companies joining Intel in this pledge are Accenture, Adobe Systems Incorporated, Autodesk, Broadcom Corporation, CDW LLC., Cisco, Dell, eBay, Inc., EMC Corporation, GE, Google, Inc., HP, Liberty Mutual Group, Marvell Semiconductor Inc., Microsoft Corporation and Yahoo!

“I believe that together our commitments to seeding the ground with start-up capital will prove to be a very rewarding investment for both the companies that contribute, and for the competitiveness of the United States,” Otellini said. “And, since venture-backed companies in the U.S. accounted for more than 12 million jobs, or 11 percent of total private sector employment in 2008, these investments will also help drive job growth in the U.S. now and in the future.”

For more of Hirt’s perspective on the announcement, go to

IEEE-USA to Host Rescheduled Roundtable Discussion on Potential of Standardizing Patent Dictionaries

WASHINGTON (1 March 2010) — IEEE-USA will host a roundtable discussion to explore the potential ramifications of adopting standardized definitions for use in the patent application process.

The discussion, “Patent Applications & Commonly Used Terms: Can Standardized Dictionaries Enhance Patent Quality and Speed the Review Process?” is set for Friday, 19 March in IEEE-USA’s conference room.

The event was postponed on 5 February because of a snowstorm in Washington.

Hosted by the IEEE-USA Intellectual Property Committee (IPC), attendees will include, among others, representatives from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the IEEE Standards Association, the Business Software Alliance and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The use of commonly understood, standardized terminology when applying for a patent plays a key role in whether a patent is approved or not. Carefully choosing terms you hope will effectively and unmistakably describe an invention can be a challenge to even the most seasoned patent attorneys and inventors. For USPTO reviewers, correctly interpreting the intended meaning of the words which applicants use can mean the difference between unequivocal claims and expensive litigation to resolve disputes.

“Precision of patent terminology, as understood by applicants, the U.S. Patent Office and our courts, has the potential to impact higher levels of certainty about what a patent holder owns,” IEEE-USA IPC Chair Keith Grzelak said. “We hope our discussion yields the positive and negative implications of having a standardized dictionary.”

For more information, contact Erica Wissolik, IEEE-USA program manager, government activities, at or 202-530-8347.

March 2nd, 2010


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