The motivation for most scientific and technological advances has been derived from man’s imagination and his dedicated desire to achieve a better standard of living. Thomas Alva Edison was endowed with many of those qualities and characteristics, which are so necessary to bridge the gap between imagination and realization.
On 21 October 1879, Mr. Edison succeeded in producing the first practical incandescent electric light bulb—the beginning of modern illumination.
Twenty-five years later, on 11 February 1904, a group of Mr. Edison’s friends and associates created a medal in his name to commemorate the achievements of a quarter of a century in the art of electric lighting. In their words, “The Edison Medal should, during the centuries to come, serve as an honorable incentive to scientists, engineers, and artisans to maintain by their works the high standard of accomplishment set by the illustrious man whose name and feats shall live while human intelligence continues to inhabit the world.”
Four years later, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers entered into an agreement with the founders to award the medal. The award now carries the designation of IEEE.
The IEEE Edison Medal has been presented since 1909.