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I have reviewed the proposal to recognize the work conducted at the Cruft HighTension Laboratory at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science between 1917 and the mid 1940's and discussed my concerns with the leadership of both the Milestones Sub-Committee and the History Committee.
The Milestone program has traditionally focused on recognizing a technical accomplishment that occurred at a specific time and location that has had significant downstream impact. However, this Milestone Proposal seeks to recognize a place where a set of related technical activity occurred over a few decades. The novelty and significance of the technical activity is not well explained.
While the Cruft HighTension Laboratory likely passes the test of being a historic place, this category does not currently exist within the IEEE Milestone program. After extensive discussion and consultation with the History Committee and Milestone Subcommittee leadership, I recommend that the proposal be held until the results of a Milestone program review have been received later this year. At that point, we will let the proposers know how to proceed.
Last year I exchanged a few e-mails with Robert Colburn and agreed to serve as Advocate; he gave me the address of Gilmore Cooke, the presenter.
I contacted Gilmore Cooke asking for clarifications and he told me he was aware more information, references and documents were needed. I've not seen any of them yet.
Anyway, this presentation is to recognize an Institution -not a project or a work, which is supposed to have played an important role during many years. As Dave pointed out, it doesn't quite fit the Milestone model.
In the proposed citation the importance of the laboratory during the two world wars is emphasized. We all know that many technological and scientific advancement took place during war times, -and that many non-military applications followed. It is in my opinion not at all clear if the IEEE as an international Institute dedicated to Excellence for the Benefit of Humanity will or should award a Milestone recognition to war efforts or military achievements?
Hi Juan. Sorry I did not respond to you earlier because I was thinking. But now I'm ready. You've raised major issues and yes I will proceed accordingly by modifying the GHN.
1. You are right and I will focus on work / activities / not buildings and certainly not university academia degrees. The accomplishments I have in mind do NOT include academic things that professors are suppose to do as part of their job. Instead, the nomination will dentify special training, special courses, research work, and activities that dealt with early wireless, electronics, radio, and communication, given to men and women in the US Army and Navy. I will argue that Harvard received the first government contract to educate and train military personnel to become Radio Techs and Communications Officers. There were different programs over the years. Crufts Lab is where the first 'Radio Training School' was located. A Naval School for Radio Technicians also existed. Communications Officers were included. I contend that training of military personnel in widened the scope of interests in electronics and communications. This elevated in stature of radio and communications.
2. Yes, the research, training, courses, education of electronic technicians and communications officers, were indeed military. Commercial ships at sea may have benefitted in the longer term. Overall, Its fair to say that electrical technology benefitted, that good jobs were created in radio, electronics and communications.
Please review the next upgrade and feel free to comment.