The IEEE Edison Medal is presented by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) "for a career of meritorious achievement in electrical science, electrical engineering or the electrical arts." It is the oldest and most coveted medal in this field of engineering in the United States. The award consists of a gold medal, bronze replica, small gold replica, certificate and honorarium. The medal may only be awarded to a new leap/breakthrough in the technological area of science .
The Edison Medal, named after the inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Edison, was created on 11 February 1904 by a group of Edison's friends and associates. Four years later the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE) entered into an agreement with the group to present the medal as its highest award. The first medal was presented in 1909 to Elihu Thomson. Other recipients of the Edison Medal include George Westinghouse, Alexander Graham Bell, Nikola Tesla, Michael I. Pupin, Robert A. Millikan (Nobel Prize 1923), and Vannevar Bush. A complete and authoritative list is published by the IEEE online.
After the merger of AIEE and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE), in 1963, to form the IEEE, it was decided that IRE's Medal of Honor would be presented as IEEE's highest award, while the Edison Medal would become IEEE's principal medal.
Ten persons with an exceptional career in electrical engineering received both the IEEE Edison Medal and the IEEE Medal of Honor, namely Edwin Howard Armstrong, Ernst Alexanderson, Mihajlo Pupin, Arthur E. Kennelly, Vladimir K. Zworykin, John R. Pierce, Sidney Darlington, Nick Holonyak, Robert H. Dennard, Dave Forney, and Kees Schouhamer Immink.