IEE (Institute of Electrical Engineers) UK conferred the prestigious Faraday Award on Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro and Azim Premji Foundation on November 11, 2005 at Bangalore.
This is the highest award by the 130+ years old IEE (UK) and a rare honor (given not more than once a year). This is the first time this prestigeous Award was given to an Indian
The Award itself was endowed in 1922 on the occasion of the 50th year of the Society.
The earlier recipients include several legendary engineers and scientists including
Oliver Heaviside, British Mathematician & Physicst who predicted radio transmission in 1902 (that became a reality in 1924) and the person who introduced much of the terms like impedance and capacitance that every electrical engineers uses every day;
SZ de Ferranti who as child prodigy built the “arc light” for street lighting, bet on AC (alternate current) as opposed to Edison (who bet on DC); and, the company with his name built the second commercial computer Mark I;
Nobel Prize winners J J Thomson, Lord Rutherford, and James Chadwick;
inventor W D Coolidge whose invention X-Ray tube is known as “Coolidge tube”;
Sir I Schoenberg the pioneer of television;
astrophysicist John Ratcliffe;
Intel founder Robert Noyce;
British computer scientists C A R Hoare and Roger Needham;
Sir Robin Soxby, founder of fab-less semiconductor company ARM.
Interestingly, the award itself was handed over by Sir Robin Soxby (Faraday Award winner in year 2002) who was present in Bangalore on this august occasion.
The award citation not only mentioned the great contribution of Azim Premji in his creating the $ 3 Billion Wipro Corporation – whose annual sales is higher than that of “ARM”, whose microprocessors power 80% of mobile handsets in the world – but also Azim Premji Foundation that does pioneering work to fulfill the mission of Azim Premji to put six million students who drop out of school back to the school in India over ten years.
It is an occasion where every Indian is proud of the illustrious citizen Azim Premji