Milestone-Proposal talk:Standardisation of the OHM

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-- Savini (talk) 15:05, 18 September 2018 (UTC)

When I was appointed the advocate of the Milestone proposal I had a first general look at the application submitted. It deals with part of the work carried out in the 19th c. for the standardization of the electrical units of measure. Basically it is a single chapter of the long and complicated story of the standardization of electric units developed for over one century and leading to the current International System.

The background is clearly described and references are solid.

Here are my first remarks aiming at improving the citation, taking our general rules into account.

According to the latter, for instance, references to persons should be limited, while the stress should be put on the achievement. Here, instead, many persons are mentioned and the artifact standard is not described.

As concerns the title, I would prefer “ Standardization of the unit of electrical resistance, 1861-1867” because only in 1872, as correctly pointed out also by the proposers in their description, did the Committee recommend a change to the name from “BA unit of resistance” to the “Ohm”.

The last sentence of the citation reads “...provided the first practical definition of the Ohm as the standard for electrical resistance”. Since as early as 1860 Werner von Siemens proposed another standard I would suggest to modify the citation as follows “... provided a widely recognized definition of the standard for electrical resistance”.

I have a final concern. The British Association for the Advancement of Science, which promoted the standardization, and the Science Museum, which I imagine preserves the standard, still exist. Therefore I wonder whether these two institutions may have objections that the plaque commemorating the standardization is placed elsewhere. Moreover, the connection of this Milestone with the birthplace of James C. Maxwell sounds rather weak because the latter place has been already recognized for the major achievement of Maxwell and Maxwell contributed to so many other scientific and technical achievements. A more direct connection, for instance, is the adoption of maxwell as the unit of magnetic flux.

I will be pleased to discuss all the matter with the proposer as well as, if necessary, to ask for the help of some other expert of the field.

Re: -- PeterGrant (talk) 19:17, 4 October 2018 (UTC)

Agree revised title as “Standardization of the unit of electrical resistance, 1861-1867.”

Propose this revised citation, now including link to the Ohm, which is no longer included in the title: “Commemorating the pioneering work of Fleeming Jenkin, Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson, Werner von Siemens, Balfour Stewart, Charles Wheatstone and colleagues as members of the International Committee on Electrical Standards, which advised the British Association for the Advancement of Science, integrating prior studies to provide a widely recognised definition of the standard for electrical resistance, subsequently called the Ohm, and for generating a set of artefact resistance standards.”

Propose accept suggestion and revise plaque location reducing now to only the “Hunterian Museum, Gilbert Scott building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ”.

Confirm that the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which promoted the standardization, (now called the British Science Association) have not raised any objections to this proposal after establishing email contact. They have not been able to reply or add to this historical information.

For the Science Museum in London, who preserve the early British Association resistance standards, their curatorial team promised a reply in 10 days but after 2 weeks they have not raised any objections to the proposed Scottish location for the plaque commemorating this standardization activity.

I am also now in further contact with Dr. Johannes von Karczewski and Ewald Blocher both at the Siemens Historical Institute, Berlin, to further secure additional information on Werner von Siemens work on the Ohm. I believe this may simply add further information on his mercury standard which I have already described and referenced as [6].

In Subsequent developments section I wish to add this further information:

In 1946, there was the international Ohm, and the absolute Ohm [16]. These were related by 1:1.00049 (this being the outcome of 'average' of measurements at six government laboratories in six countries, Germany, UK, France, Japan, USA, and USSR).

[16] de Groot W, “The Origin of the Giorgi [MKS] System of Electrical Units”, Philips Technical Review, August 1948, pp. 55-60. (See foot of Column 2 on page 59) pdf supplied

Re: Re: -- Savini (talk) 10:16, 8 October 2018 (UTC)

I am glad that most of my initial remarks have been considered, resulting in an improved version of the title as well as of the citation. A final remark: in general, it is recommended not to mention names of persons in the citation, if it is not essential. In this case many names are mentioned. I wonder whether is is possible, for instance, to replace "the pioneering work of ....and colleagues" by "the pioneering work of eminent Scottish, British and German scientists and engineers". Moreover, we have to wait a bit longer in order to get the replies that the proposer invited from various institutions and colleagues.

Re: Re: Re: -- PeterGrant (talk) 09:11, 8 November 2018 (UTC)

A key aspect of my proposal is that it was a particular group of prominent individuals on the Electrical Standards Committee who undertook this pioneering work. Making them 'anonymous' detracts from, rather than improves upon, the citation and objective. It feels a little like trying to commemorate the Brandenburg Concertos without mentioning J.S. Bach, or having a plaque on the church in Leipzig saying that "a famous organist and composer once worked here" without including his name!

For the proposed plaque location in the Hunterian museum we have to include William Thomson, Lord Kelvin name as we expect the plaque to be located close his scientific instruments in the museum.

However, on reflection I think we can reduce the names to only the FOUR of the most important individual contributions to this standardisation activity and I thus now propose further revising the citation as follows: “Commemorating the pioneering work of Fleeming Jenkin, Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson, Werner von Siemens and colleagues as members of the International Committee on Electrical Standards, which advised the British Association for the Advancement of Science, integrating prior studies to provide a widely recognised definition of the standard for electrical resistance, subsequently called the Ohm, and for generating a set of artefact resistance standards.”

Dr Ewald Blocher from the Siemens Historical Institute, Berlin, has now sent me several PDF photocopies from the translation of the “Scientific and Technical Papers of Werner von Siemens” Volume 1, as published by John Murray, London, in 1892. This starts with the testing of submarine cables followed by a discussion on Weber’s dynamical resistance unit and comments that this cannot serve as a general unit of resistance, see page 195. Siemens discussion adds to my description of his Mercury standard, and the adoption of the 107 multiplier, see page 196. The final result was that the BA Unit was equal to 1.0486 Mercury Units (or the Mercury Unit can be represented by 0.9536 BA Units). This source also confirms the “construction of 10 different BA normal standards” (made from alloys of precious metals and mercury and copies from an alloy of platinum and silver), see page 196. There is considerable discussion here where von Siemens questions the accuracy of the measurements conducted by committee member Dr Matthiessen!

I have contacted the curators at the Science Museum in London, to ascertain that they still hold the early British Association resistance standards, and further that they are willing to support the proposed Scottish location in the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow for the plaque commemorating this standardization activity. I have now received an email reply from Curator Alison Boyle confirming that they do still hold the early resistance standards.

I have sent web requests to the British Science Association (BSA), who are today's successor to the BAAS committee, and followed up with emails to Louise Ogden (Head of Communications) who supports this historical initiative, see copy of her BSA email exchange.

Additional supporting documents now supplied:

[6b] Werner von Siemens, “On the Unit of Electrical Resistance” chapter in the “Scientific and Technical Papers of Werner von Siemens” Volume 1, pp. 194-206, John Murray, London, 1892. Pdf supplied.

Email correspondence with the London Science Museum

Email correspondence with the British Science Association

Statement submitted by Advocate -- Administrator4 (talk) 14:02, 17 December 2018 (UTC)

In the past three months I have acted as the advocate of the Application mentioned above which deals with a step in the complex history of the definition of standards of electric units that lasted over a century since the middle of the 19th century.

As such, I have promoted the discussion with the proposer, reported on the web, and I have also consulted a couple of experts.

Now I believe that the application is ready to be discussed by the History Committee. The improved citation reads:

Standardization of the unit of electrical resistance, 1861-1867

“ Commemorating the pioneering work of Fleeming Jenkin, Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson, Werner von Siemens and colleagues as members of the International Committee on Electrical Standards, which advised the British Association for the Advancement of Science, integrating prior studies to provide a widely recognised definition of the standard for electrical resistance subsequently called the Ohm, and for generating a set of artefact resistance standards.”

My suggestion is to approve it. Of course, if necessary, the Committee may decide further improvements.

It was a pleasure for me to help the Application become a possible new Milestone.

Re: Statement submitted by Advocate -- Administrator4 (talk) 14:56, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

The citation needs to explain better to the non-technical member of the public what the Ohm is, and why the standardization was important. I recommend changes to the plaque citation. Perhaps along the lines of:

Standardization of the Ohm as a Unit of Electrical Resistance, 1861-1867

The International Committee on Electrical Standards, which included Fleeming Jenkin, Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson, Werner von Siemens and colleagues, advised the British Association for the Advancement of Science in providing a widely recognised standard for electrical resistance and impedance. This unit, subsequently named the ohm after Georg Simon Ohm, is the resistance of a conductor such that a constant current of one ampere produces a voltage of one volt.

Re: Re: Statement submitted by Advocate -- PeterGrant (talk) 19:52, 18 December 2018 (UTC)

Yes I am pleased to confirm acceptance of this revised text for the plaque

Peter Grant

Re: Re: Re: Statement submitted by Advocate -- PeterGrant (talk) 08:31, 17 February 2019 (UTC)

When working on my power-point presentation I discovered that, strictly speaking, I had introduced a potential textual error in the plaque wording.

Werner von Siemens was a major contributor on the resistance standard. He was the person who first introduced a mercury artifact standard in 1860 (also later in 1881 a similar mercury column was proposed as a practical unit) and von Siemens has extensive published writings on electrical resistance in pages 162-206 in his translated book.

However, it was actually his brother Carl Wilhelm Siemens (who was in charge of the London Siemens office) who served on the BA committee, as indicated in the author list in the references to the BA Committee reports!

I would thus like to suggest a minor revision to the plaque wording to ensure that this continues to recognise Werner von Siemens major CONTRIBUTIONS but no longer states that he was actually INCLUDED in the committee. As I cannot readily find evidence of any significant contributions from Carl Wilhelm Siemens I feel his name does not justify inclusion.

A suggested revised plaque citation with minimal changes could read as:

“The International Committee on Electrical Standards, with contributions of Fleeming Jenkin, Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson, Werner von Siemens and colleagues, advised the British Association for the Advancement of Science in providing a widely recognised standard for electrical resistance and impedance. This unit, subsequently named the ohm after Georg Simon Ohm, is the resistance of a conductor such that a constant current of one ampere produces a voltage of one volt.”

Re: Re: Re: Re: Statement submitted by Advocate -- Savini (talk) 10:05, 18 February 2019 (UTC)
Replace this text with your reply

The proposer has made further accurate historical investigations. As a result he proposes a minor improvement of the plaque citation. I do agree with it.

Having followed the progress of this milestone proposal and the various amendments and adjustments to meet the questions and comments raised, it seems to me that this is certainly adequately prepared and discussed for it to be put before the History Committee for them to decide whether to approve it at their March 2019 meeting. Obviously it is my opinion that it should be approved and the time that has been taken in considering this proposal seems exceptionally slow considering the clear cut nature of the case for support. Tony Davies (IEEE Region 8 History Activities Coordinator) 2019 March 2nd

=Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Statement submitted by Advocate -- Jason.k.hui (talk) 22:29, 23 February 2019 (UTC)=

As part of the Milestone process, please have two experts provide their reviews and approval of the Milestone in this forum. It is important that we have this documented. Also, are the proper names listed as part of the International Committee on Electrical Standards necessary to the citation? Milestone guideline is to not list proper names.

Jason

Milestone Subcommittee Chair

==Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Statement submitted by Advocate -- Tonydavies (talk) 21:56, 2 March 2019 (UTC)==
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approval of this proposal -- Tonydavies (talk) 22:18, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

This proposal has been adjusted to take account of all comments and new information and seems to me to be entirely satisfactory and should go to the IEEE History Committee now for their consideration and hopefully for recommendation to the Board of Directors to approve without further delay Tony Davies IEEE R8 History Activities Coordinator 2019 March 2nd

Re: approval of this proposal -- Savini (talk) 11:36, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

Replace this text with your reply

I have received the following text from Tony Davies, my expert:

Dear Antonio,

Following the numerous discussions about the proposed Milestone for the Standardisation of the Ohm unit of electrical resistance, I believe all additional suggestions and amendments have been properly taken into account and there is now no reason for any delay in putting the proposal to the History Committee at the earliest opportunity (e.g. the March 2019 meeting). It seems to me to meet all the requirements for a valid History Milestone.

Regards,

Tony Davies

2019 March 3rd

Re: Re: approval of this proposal -- Savini (talk) 11:41, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

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Expert opinion from Massimo Guarnieri


Dear Antonio as you requested, I have read the IEEE Milestone proposal 2018-07 Standardization of the Ohm. In my opinion the definition od the units of measurements was a major step toward the maturity of electrical science. Consequently, I fully support the process of approving this Milestone, concerning the long-lasting question of standards of measurement. The standardization of the ohm was an important step, with its roots in the 1830s-1840, that particularly emerged in relation to telegraphy during its full development in the 1860s. I support it Best wishes

Massimo

Prof. Massimo Guarnieri University of Padua , Italy and IEEE Industrial Electronics, Editor of the Historical Section

Update to citation -- PeterGrant (talk) 09:18, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

I have shared our words with colleagues in Edinburgh and they have suggested to me some possible comments and clarifying edits:

Maxwell is the only individual missing his forename... "James"

They question whether we do need to include impedance as well as resistance....

They suggest replacing "voltage" with "potential difference"

My suggested updated citation thus reads:

“The International Committee on Electrical Standards, with contributions of Fleeming Jenkin, James Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson, Werner von Siemens and colleagues, advised the British Association for the Advancement of Science in providing a widely recognised standard for electrical resistance. This unit, subsequently named the ohm after Georg Simon Ohm, is the resistance of a conductor such that a constant current of one ampere produces a potential difference of one volt.”

Given the major contributions of these well known four pioneers to our discipline, who are widely recognizeable to the general public, I very much hope that their names can be included within this plaque citation.

remark by the advocate -- Savini (talk) 13:32, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

I do agree with the proposed further improvement of the citation by introducing the forename of Maxwell and the term" potential difference" instead of "volt". In my opinion, after this final polishing the citation is ready to be discussed and - hopefully - approved

-- M.j.bastiaans (talk) 15:36, 6 March 2019 (UTC)

I was about to make the same remark regarding the missing of the first name of James Clerk Maxwell. I agree with the citation as it is formulated now; note that it has the absolute limit of 70 words.

Re: -- Jbart64 (talk) 00:09, 8 March 2019 (UTC)

I fully support the revised milestone and the research efforts to support it. The impact of this work extends beyond the ohm and electrical standards and left its influence in many areas. I agree with the modified wording. Dave

Citation -- JaninA (talk) 18:20, 9 March 2019 (UTC)

I support the nomination and the citation as it stands.