Preserving and promoting the history of technology, the profession, and the IEEE is a privilege, duty, and calling that the IEEE History Center takes very seriously. Through its many targeted programs, the center collects and disseminates information and resources that exemplify the impact and influence of technology and its relationship, both past and present, to society.

Each month, one of the Ph.D. historians on staff at the IEEE History Center curates “Scanning Our Past” a special feature published in the subscription based journal Proceedings of the IEEE. These features explore the history of technology and the people associated with it from a social, political, economic, or cultural context and are among the most read articles produced by the IEEE.
L. Dennis Shapiro, an IEEE Foundation Board member and avid reader of “Scanning Our Past”, made a philanthropic investment in the IEEE History Center and sponsored the feature for six months. According to Shapiro, “The objective is two-fold: first, to continue to bring the feature to as wide an audience as possible at no additional cost to them, and second, to lead by example and hopefully motivate others to take a similar path and sponsor one or more issues in the interest of exploring the benefits of open access.”

Shapiro’s unique donation made the following six “Scanning Our Past” features available via open access:

  • January 2020: “The Earliest Years of Three-Phase Power—1891–1893”
  • December 2019: “Could You Have Been a Motoneer?”
  • November 2019: “Standardization of the Ohm as a Unit of Electrical Resistance, 1861–1867”
  • August 2019: “Analog Computer Development in Germany With a Focus on Telefunken”
  • July 2019: “Stanford Ovshinsky and the Genesis of the Cognitive Computer”
  • May 2019: “The Electrical Engineer Who Clarified Glass.”

You can support the “Scanning Our Past” monthly feature in Proceedings of the IEEE, ensuring the continued quality and expanding the reach of these highly valued history articles. Should you have interest in helping to continue the impact of this effort by sponsoring an issue or issues, please contact the IEEE Foundation at

The cover of the January 2020 issue of Proceedings of the IEEE.