On Wednesday evening, October 13, 2010, at the President’s Dinner held at the Boeing Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, President Jacques Regis of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) presented its most prestigious IEC award to Jerome E. (Jerry) Dennis. The Lord Kelvin Award recognizes many years of leadership significantly contributing to the IEC’s work in promulgating international standards for the electrical and electronic industries. Jerry has been active in the IEC since 1990, and since 1998 has chaired the IEC technical committee on optical radiation safety and laser equipment. The award includes a large gold medal and lapel pin. The award is named for William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824 – 1907), a Belfast born mathematical physicist who was the first president of the IEC. Thomson, a professor at the University of Glasgow, developed the laws of thermodynamics and established the basis of absolute zero temperature.
With lasers being used today in an ever-increasing number of products for medical, business, entertainment, manufacturing and scientific applications, the safety standards developed by Jerry’s technical committee are among the most in demand throughout the world. The current transition to more electrically efficient light sources has created new demands for optical radiation safety standards for industry to use in the design and manufacturers of innovative lighting. Jerry has recently accepted the nomination to a fourth term as chairman of his Technical Committee number 76.
In accepting the award, Jerry gave credit to his former employer, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the U.S Food and Drug Administration, to colleagues in industry and American professional societies and standards organizations, to the U.S. National Committee of the IEC and to his wife of 53 years, Carol, who provided the support and encouragement that made possible his earning of the Kelvin Award.