IEEE and its predecessors societies have long given awards to recognize a variety of outstanding achievements in fields of interest. IEEE's Edison Medal was first awarded by predecessor AIEE in 1909 to Elihu Thomson; IEEE's Medal of Honor, the Insitute's highest award, was first by predecessor IRE in 1917 to Edwin H. Armstrong.
IEEE Awards are overseen by the IEEE Awards Board, a standing committee of the IEEE Board of Directors. There is a complete year-by-year list of Awards Board members available here.
As of 2009, IEEE awarded in addition to these two medals, 13 other medals, 31 technical field awards, 2 IEEE service awards, 2 corporate recognitions, 2 prize paper awards, honorary memberships, one scholarship, one fellowship, a staff award, and one co-sponsored award. Many of the the awards are presented to their recipient at an annual IEEE Honors Ceremony.
For citations of the medal winners through 1984, see section one of the IEEE book A Century of Honors.
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