Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Star That Sparked Europe’s Power Grid

Europe’s electrical integration began modestly in 1958, with a 220-kilovolt link joining France, Germany, and Switzerland. Known as the Star of Laufenburg, that connection, which was the first high-tension link for the three countries, is being honored as an IEEE Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing. Learn about this breakthrough at

IEEE Operations Center Goes Solar

In an attempt to reduce its electricity costs and carbon footprint, the IEEE Operations Center, in Piscataway, N.J., installed 300 rooftop photovoltaic solar panels. The panels can produce about 20 percent of the building’s electricity demands. Read on at

Becoming a Better Public Speaker Is Not That Hard

Many engineers consider public speaking one of the scariest things they’ve ever done. But it’s a skill you must master if you want to get ahead in your career. To improve their communication skills, many IEEE members are turning to Toastmasters International, which teaches you not only how to write a speech but how to… Read More »

IEEE Launches Smart-Grid Site

A one-stop source for information about IEEE’s involvement in helping make the electricity grid “smart” was launched recently. The IEEE Smart Grid Web portal features conferences, publications, standards, tutorials, and news about the topic. For more information, visit


Can we pick ’em or what? In January, IEEE Spectrum called Intrinsity, an Austin, Texas, chip-design firm, a “winner.” The magazine’s editors aren’t the only ones who think so. Intrinsity’s “Hummingbird” revamp of the A8 chip, the standard smartphone CPU, powers the Apple iPad, say industry experts. No other configuration of the A8 chip could… Read More »


Computer makers already use cold water to draw heat away from the chips in supercomputers and keep them from overheating. But a team of IBM researchers in Zurich has discovered that warm water is just as effective at ensuring that chips remain within their rated temperature ranges. A supercomputer they built to test their theory… Read More »


In MEMS and NEMS, the squeaky wheel doesn’t get the oil, because liquid lubricants won’t stay between their tiny parts. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University recently discovered why solid lubricants such as sheets of multilayer graphite overcome the forces of sticking and friction that would be a microscopic machine’s undoing. In… Read More »

Photovoltaics Researchers Meet to Cast More Light on Solar Cells

Energy from the sun is abundant and free. Electricity from solar energy, often less expensive than other alternative sources, isn’t abundant yet, but the physicists, engineers, and others attending the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference hope it soon will be. The conference is scheduled for 20 to 25 June in Honolulu. For more information, visit

Survival Skills for Scientific Writing

The ability to write effective papers, articles, and reports is an essential part of an engineer’s job, but the writing process can be intimidating to even experienced professionals. To help members improve their writing for peer-reviewed journals, the IEEE Graduates of the Last Decade group recently presented a one-hour webinar, “A Survival Guide for Scientific… Read More »