Get Involved with IEEE's Anniversary Celebrations

It's time to celebrate 125 years of engineering the future

8 January 2009

It’s 2009, a milestone year for IEEE, and time to celebrate our quasquicentennial: 125 years of engineering the future.

The anniversary harks back to 1884, when groundbreaking inventions such as the electric light were emerging. A small group of industry pioneers, including Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, met that year in New York City to form IEEE’s predecessor society, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. They gathered again at the International Electrical Exhibition of 1884, sponsored in Philadelphia by the Franklin Institute, to address the future needs of engineers and the burgeoning industry. Just like that event, IEEE’s 125th anniversary celebration focuses on the future. Many anniversary activities will acknowledge the past, but others will call attention to the ongoing contributions made by engineers and other technology professionals worldwide.

How can you get involved? You have myriad opportunities, with many venues for networking, including anniversary parties and receptions, technical programs, talks by prominent speakers, contests, and online video contributions. Activities are planned around the world, and you can participate in person and online.

Here are a few ways you can join the celebration:

  • Find an event near you and sign on. Check the calendar at the IEEE anniversary Web site. Can’t find something close by? Contact your local section, society chapter, student branch, or affinity group and volunteer to help plan an anniversary activity in your area.
  • If you’re already planning an event, spread the word to colleagues in your area, and don’t forget to mark it on the Web site’s anniversary calendar.
  • For the latest word on emerging, world-changing technologies of benefit to humanity, tune in on 10 March to the IEEE Engineering the Future Media Roundtable webcast, streamed live from the anniversary Web site.
  • Create a new online discussion on a technical or historic subject or contribute to an existing one on the anniversary Web site message board. Check the anniversary greeting videos and vignettes on the site, and submit your own.
  • Post a historical photo involving the IEEE or a new photo taken at an IEEE anniversary celebration that you attend.
  • Check the IEEE 125th anniversary on Facebook and connect to your friends and colleagues around the world by becoming a friend of IEEE.
  • If you’re a student, enter the Presidents’ Change the World competition by identifying a real-world problem and developing a solution using engineering, science, computing, and leadership skills to benefit the community or humanity. You could win the top prize of US $10 000. The deadline is 29 February. Visit the anniversary Web site in May to vote for the finalist you think should win the $500 People’s Choice award.
  • Upload a 10-second video as part of the Graduates of the Last Decade project to spread word of the anniversary worldwide. Learn more at

Keep checking for updates on anniversary news, events, and programs designed to celebrate this historic milestone and create additional visibility for IEEE.

IEEE membership offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities for those who share a common interest in technology. If you are not already a member, consider joining IEEE and becoming part of a worldwide network of more than 400,000 students and professionals.

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