Milestone-Proposal:Invention and First Demonstration of Radar

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Docket #:2015-01

This Proposal has been approved, and is now a Milestone

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation?

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old? Yes

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy. Yes

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity? Yes

Was it of at least regional importance? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)? Yes

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony? Yes

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated? Yes

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? No

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

Invention and First Demonstration of Radar, 1904

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

Option 1: Dom Hotel, Cologne Option 2: Hohenzollernbrücke, Cologne (The original brigde "Feste Brücke" has been replaced by this one in the same location)

Both locations were part of the first public demonstration of Hülsmeyer's invention on 17 May 1904.

In parallel, additional plates / ceremonies could be planned in the Netherlands where he also presented his system, e.g. in the harbour of Rotterdam. Students from the "Polytechnische School" (today TU Delft) have reportedly assisted with the installation of Hülsmeyer’s system on board a ship.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?


IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: IEEE Germany Section
Senior Officer Name: Prof. Jens Haubrock, Chair

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: MTT/AP Joint Chapter (CH80008)
Senior Officer Name: Dr. Peter Knott, Chair

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: IEEE Germany Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Prof. Jens Haubrock, Chair

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Dr. Peter Knott
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need.

Are the original buildings extant?

Details of the plaque mounting:

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?

The German engineer and entrepreneur Christian Hülsmeyer first had the idea to build a device for detecting and locating objects by means of electromagnetic waves. He founded his own company, raised venture capital and developed the technical concept of a radar system. He also patented his invention (which he called "Telemobiloskop") and first demonstrated it in Cologne, Germany, in 1904. These were the foundations of modern radar systems which, today, have conquered many areas of our life: Not only in military and geoscience systems but also in automotive, industrial or home applications.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

At the time of his invention, the RF technology and electronic devices were so primitive that, compared to today's standards, Hülsmeyer's system had only poor performance. Although he could successfully demonstrate the detection of ships on the river Rhine, the German and Dutch Navy were not interested and did not support him.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

Arthur O. Bauer, Christian Hülsmeyer and about the early days of radar inventions - a survey, Diemen, 2005

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).