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Updated 26 February 2024
It is not possible anymore to nominate articles  for the 2024 Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize. The deadline for nominations has passed.

Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize

The Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize (formerly the IEEE Life Members’ Prize in Electrical History) is supported by the IEEE Life Members’ Fund and administered by the Society for the History of Technology.

The prize is awarded annually to the best paper in the history of electrotechnology—power, electronics, telecommunications, and computer science—published during the preceding (calendar) year. Any article published in a learned periodical is eligible if it treats the art or engineering aspects of electrotechnology and its practitioners. The article must be written in English, although the journal or periodical in which it appears may be a foreign language publication. The prize consists of a cash award of $1,000 and a certificate. On request IEEE can provide a travel subsidy (up to max. $750 domestic, $1,000 international) to allow the winner to attend SHOT’s annual meeting, and SHOT can waive the basic registration and awards-event fee for the winner.

To nominate an article, please upload a digital copy of the article to the online submission system. See information on top of this page.

For more information, please contact the SHOT Secretariat, [email protected].

Edmund Russell, Winner of the 2023 Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize. (Photo SHOT)

2024 Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize Committee

Timothy H. Stoneman (2023-2025) – Chair
Gerardo Con Diaz (2024-2026)
Alexander Magoun (2022-2024)

Recipients of the Bernard S. Finn IEEE History Prize

2023 Edmund Russell, “Capitalism Matters: How Financial and Technological Innovations Shaped U.S. Telegraphs, 1845–60,” Technology and Culture, vol. 63, no. 1, 2022, p. 31-60.
2022 Diana Montaño, “Ladrones de Luz: Policing Electricity in Mexico City, 1901–1918,” Hispanic American Historical Review (2021) 101 (1): 35–72.
2021 Amy Sue Bix, “Remember the Sabbath’: a history of technological decisions and innovation in Orthodox Jewish communities,” History and Technology, 36:2 (2020), 205-239, DOI: 10.1080/07341512.2020.1816339
2020 Xiaochang Li and Mara Mills, “Vocal Features: From Voice Identification to Speech Recognition by Machine,” Technology and Culture, 60:2, Supplement (April 2019): S129–S160
2019 Thomas Haigh and Mark Priestley, “Colossus and Programmability,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 40/4 (October-December 2018): 5-30
2018 Julie Cohn, “Data, Power, and Conservation: The Early Turn to Information Technologies to Manage Energy Resources,Information & Culture 52 (3) 2017: 334-361
2017 Gerardo Con Diaz, “Contested Ontologies of Software: The Story of Gottschalk v. Benson, 1963-1972,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 38, Issue 1, Jan.-Mar. 2016: 23-33
2016 Etienne Benson, “Generating Infrastructural Invisibility: Insulation, Interconnection, and Avian Excrement in the Southern California Power Grid,” Environmental Humanities 6 (2015): 103–30
2015 William Rankin, “The Geography of Radionavigation and the Politics of Intangible Artifacts,” Technology and Culture 55 (July 2014): 622-674
2014 Colin Agur, “Negotiated Order: The Fourth Amendment, Telephone Surveillance, and Social Interactions, 1878-1968,” Information and Culture 48 (2013): 419-447
2013 Rachel Plotnick, “At the Interface: The Case of the Electric Push Button, 1880-1923,” Technology and Culture 53 (2012): 815-845
Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan, “From Information Theory to French Theory: Jakobson, Levi-Strauss and the Cybernetic Approach,” Critical Inquiry  38 (Autumn 2011)
Jon R. Lindsay, “War Upon the Map: User Innovation in American Military Software,” Technology and Culture 51 (July 2010): 619-651
Ross Bassett, “Aligning India in the Cold War Era,” Technology & Culture 50 (October 2009): 783-810
David Rooney and James Nye, “Greenwich Observatory Time for the Public Benefit: Standard Time and Victorian Networks of Regulation,” British Journal for the History of Science 42 (2009): 5-30
Hyungsub Choi, “The Boundaries of Industrial Research: Making Transistors at RCA, 1948-1960,” Technology and Culture 48 (October 2007): 758-782
Eden Medina, “Designing Freedom, Regulating a Nation: Socialist Cybernetics in Allende’s Chile,” Journal of Latin American Studies 38 (2006): 571-606
Martin Collins, “One World . . . One Telephone: Iridium, One Look at the Making of a Global Age,” History and Technology 21 (September 2005): 301-24
Richard Hirsh, “Power Struggle: Changing Momentum in the Restructured American Electric Utility System,” Annales historiques de l’électricité (June 2004): 107-123
Kristen Haring, “The ‘Freer Men’ of Ham Radio: How a Technical Hobby Provided Social and Spatial Distance,” Technology and Culture 44 (2003): 734-761
David Kirsch and Gijs Mom, “Visions of Transportation: The EVC and the Transition from Service- to Product-Based mobility,” Business History Review 76 (2002): 75-110
Stuart W. Leslie, “Blue Collar Science: Bringing the Transistor to Life in the Lehigh Valley,” HSPS 32 (2001): 71-113
David A. Mindell (MIT), “Opening Black’s Box: Rethinking Feedback’s Myth of Origin,” Technology and Culture (July 2000)
Richard J. Noakes, “Telegraphy is an Occult Art: Cromwell Fleetwood Varley and the Diffusion of Electricity to Other Worlds,” British Journal for the History of Science 32 (1999): 421-59
Trent A. Mitchell, “The Politics of Experiment in the Eighteenth Century: The Pursuit of Audience and the Manipulation of Consensus in the Debate over Lightning Rods,” Eighteenth-Century Studies 31 (1998): 307-331
Robert G. Arns, “The High-Vacuum X-Ray Tube: Technological Change in Social Context,” Technology and Culture 38 (October 1997)
Larry Owens, “Where are We Going, Phil Morse? Changing Agendas and the Rhetoric of Obviousness in the Transformation of Computing at MIT, 1939-1957,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 18 (1996)
Sungook Hong, “Forging Scientific Electrical Engineering: John Ambrose Fleming and the Feranti Effect,” Isis 86 (1995)
Kenneth Lipartito, “When Women Were Switches: Technology, Work, and Gender in the Telephone Industry,” American Historical Review 99 (1994)
Ellen B. Koch, “In the Image of Science? Negotiating the Development of Diagnostic Ultrasound in the Culture of Surgery and Radiology,” Technology and Culture 34 (1993)
William McBride, “Strategic Determinism in Technology Selection: The Electric Battleship and U.S. Naval-Industrial Relations,” Technology and Culture 33 (April 1992)
Donald MacKenzie, “Influence of the Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories in the Development of Supercomputing,” Annals of the History of Computing 13 (1991)
Michael Ben-Chaim, “Social Mobility and Scientific Change: Stephen Gray’s Contribution to Electrical Research,” British Journal for the History of Science 22 (1990)
J. Samuel Walker (U.S. Dept of Energy), “Nuclear Power and the Environment: The Atomic Energy Commission and Thermal Pollution, 1965-1971,” Technology and Culture 29 (October 1989)
W. Bernard Carlson (University of Virginia), “Academic Entrepreneurship and Engineering Education: Dugald C. Jackson and the MIT-GE Cooperative Engineering Course, 1907-1932,” Technology and Culture 29 (July 1988)
Ron Kline, “Science and Engineering Theory in the Invention and Development of the Induction Motor, 1880-1900,” Technology and Culture 28 (1987): 283-313
Thomas J. Misa, “Military Needs, Commercial Realities, and the Development of the Transistor, 1948-1958. “In Merritt Roe Smith, ed. Military Enterprise and Technological Change. MIT Press, 1985, 253-87