The Richard R. Stoddart Award:
The History Behind the Award

As part of the EMC Society’s celebration of its 50 years of existence, the History Committee of the EMCS has been reviewing past EMC Newsletters and other Society material for interesting and informative aspects of the Society’s past. One of the items investigated was the origin of two of the EMC Society’s major awards; the Stoddart Award and the Cummings Award. In this issue, we will cover the origin and history behind the Stoddart Award. In a future issue, we will cover the Cummings Award.

Richard R. Stoddart Award for Outstanding Performance
The Stoddart Award is named after Richard R. Stoddart, the founder of Stoddart Aircraft Radio Company. The Stoddart Award is given annually “to recognize the outstanding performance of an EMC Society member in contributing to the advancement of EMC technology or in contributing to the solution of a socio-technological problem.” The prize is $1000 US plus a plaque. A member can only win the award once and the winner must be a member of the EMC Society. The award was first presented in 1979 to Dr. Ralph Showers and, most recently, to Marcello D’Amore (2003).

Background on Richard R. Stoddart
He was born in New York City on December 1, 1900. He began his electronics career at the age of 15 working for the Telefunken Wireless Company and, several years later, he built and operated one of the first spark transmitters in the New York area. He also served as a radio operator on merchant ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean to South America.
In his 20s, he was one of the first to receive a commercial pilot’s license and spent time “barnstorming” with light aircraft in and around the Poughkeepsie, New York airport. In the 1930s, he was a field engineer for the National Broadcasting Corporation in New York and became well acquainted with radio celebrities of the day.
In 1938, he became one of the five-man crew accompanying Howard Hughes on his record-breaking flight around the world in a two-engine aircraft. As radio operator, Dick arranged all the contacts in the countries visited and was applauded for his skill and organization of his part in the flight’s success.
In 1940, Dick organized Stoddart Aircraft Radio Company which designed and manufactured radio receivers and transmitters for aircraft, principally the aircraft which were being ferried to Europe to assist the British in World War II. With the help of an Air Force contract in 1944, Dick and several of his engineers designed and manufactured the first Very High Frequency (VHF) receiver which was continuously tunable over the range 100 MHz to 400 MHz. The instrument utilized the average detector and the quasi-peak detector and was used to measure narrowband emissions and the “nuisance value” of broadband emanations. A year later the slide-back peak detector was added and broadband calibration was expressed in present-day terms “microvolts-per-meter-per-kilocycle.”
Based on this revolutionary instrument, Dick negotiated with the Navy Bureau of Ships for contracts which resulted in the development of the URM-6 (NM-10A) in 1948, the PRM-1 (NM-20A) in 1949, and the URM-17 (NM-50A) in 1950. In the decade from 1950 to 1960, The URM-47 (NM-30A), the NM-40A and the NM-62A instruments were completed, thus providing EMI Instrumentation over the range 20 Hz to 10 GHz without a gap. Much of this equipment graced a large number of EMC labs in the United States and beyond in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The development of these receivers was the principal reason the Stoddart Award of the EMC Society is given for technical excellence.
Dick was made a Fellow of the IEEE in 1958 to recognize his important contribution to the field of electromagnetic interference instrumentation.
Dick lived to be 72 years of age and flew his own twin-engine airplane until he was 70.

It can be clearly seen that the Stoddart Award in the EMC Society for technical excellence is aptly named and has a significant history behind it.

IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Group Newsletter, Issue No. 76 – January, 1973, Robert D. Goldblum – Editor, “Richard R. Stoddart Deceased,” Page 8. EMC


Stoddart had Famous Friends

Dick Stoddart had famous friends; one of which was Howard Hughes, the notoriously famous recluse in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Stoddart and Hughes and some other individuals set a world record in July of 1938 by flying a Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra around the world in 3 days, 19 hours, and 8 minutes. The flight covered 14,791 miles and started in New York with stops in Paris, Moscow, Omsk, Yakutsk, Fairbanks, and Minneapolis before returning to New York. There is a picture available of the flight crew, including Mr. Stoddart, on the web page at and it is available for purchase for 3 or 4 thousand dollars US.


If you would like to contact the IEEE Webmaster
© Copyright 2004, IEEE. Terms & Conditions. Privacy & Security

return to contents
IEEE logo