Highest global prize in electrotechnology awarded to Dr Shuji Hirakawa of Toshiba

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34th Lord Kelvin Award, from the IEC, attributed in recognition of exceptional long-term contributions to enable sustainable global trade in electrical and electronic devices and systems

Lord Kelvin Award

Lord Kelvin Award

The IEC Lord Kelvin Award is the highest global distinction in electrotechnology. With this Award we recognize Dr Shuji Hirakawa’s valued leadership and tireless support for global trade and the IEC.

Electric and electronic devices and systems are no longer “made in one country”, they are now “made in the world”. Production processes are spread over many countries and continents. Only when countries and companies apply globally harmonized technical rules can they participate efficiently in these value chains. The IEC Lord Kelvin Award, the highest global prize in electrotechnology honours Dr Shuji Hirakawa’s long-term contribution to increasing the technical harmonization that enables global trade and his outstanding commitment to the mission of the IEC.

This prestigious award takes its name from Lord Kelvin, the first IEC President, who was a distinguished scientist and prolific inventor. He contributed significantly to the advancement of modern physics and the practical applications of electrotechnology. Lord Kelvin, together with Charles Le Maistre, the first IEC General Secretary, can be considered the true fathers of standardization. They put in place the processes and methodologies that allow companies to spread new technologies broadly, and enable countries to build more sustainable infrastructure.

Today the Lord Kelvin Award honours their vision and drive to understand and improve the practical applications of the millions of electrical and electronic devices and systems that are part of our daily lives.

Dr Hirakawa, Head of Corporate Standardization at Toshiba Corporation Technology Planning
Division, has been active in the IEC for many years, across many fields. Under his leadership as Secretary from 2004 to 2010, Technical Committee (TC) 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment became the largest in the IEC. Dr Hirakawa was also instrumental in establishing broad cooperation between the IEC and many other organizations.

The list of Dr Hirakawa’s accomplishments is extensive. For example, it was thanks to Dr Hirakawa’s efforts that the world famous USB specifications came to be IEC International Standards, and that the energy efficiency of TVs can be accurately measured and compared with the help of the so-called “world’s most boring” TV programme.

As the Japanese representative to the IEC SMB (Standardization Management Board), Dr Shuji Hirakawa initiated the founding of TC 120 for electrical energy storage, contributed significantly to the establishment of the IEC systems approach, and helped with the implementation of the first IEC Systems Evaluation Group on Smart Cities.

Through his dedication Dr Shuji Hirakawa has advanced IEC standardization work and with it the global relevance of the IEC in many ways and for many years.

In presenting Dr Hirakawa with the 34th Lord Kelvin Award at the IEC General Meeting in Tokyo, Junji Nomura, IEC President, said, “The IEC Lord Kelvin Award is the highest global distinction in electrotechnology. With this Award we recognize Dr Shuji Hirakawa’s valued leadership and tireless support for global trade and the IEC.”

More about the Lord Kelvin Award
The Lord Kelvin Award is made in recognition of exceptional and dedicated contributions by individuals for a period of five years at least. Those honoured must still be active in the IEC and will have contributed significantly to international electrotechnical standardization and related activities through their leadership and technical expertise. Through their engagement they have helped to advance electrotechnology as a whole and their involvement has had a significant impact on industry or global trade. A list of recipients of the Lord Kelvin Award can be found here.

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Gabriela Ehrlich
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