AIME marks 150 years in 2021; Mining Engineering will run seven-part series beginning in January

December 3, 2020

The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) has a long and proud history; however, many members of SME might not be aware that SME’s roots reach back 150 years to the formation of the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), which will be celebrating its 150-year anniversary in May 2021 in Wilkes-Barre, PA.

Founded in 1871 by 22 mining engineers in Wilkes-Barre, PA, AIME was one of the first national engineering societies established in the United States, and, along with ASCE (civil), ASME (mechanical), IEEE (electrical), and AIChE (chemical), it is known as an Engineering Founder Society. Together, the engineering Founder Societies form the United Engineering Foundation (UEF).

The original name was the American Institute of Mining Engineers with the objective "to promote the arts and sciences connected with the economic production of the useful minerals and metals, and the welfare of those employed in these industries by all lawful means. Also, to hold meetings for the reading and discussion of professional papers, and to circulate by means of publications among its members the information thus obtained." From its humble beginnings, AIME has grown to represent more than 200,000 members worldwide.

In 1949, AIME recognized the polarization of its activities around the disciplines and formed three branches: Mining, Metals and Petroleum. Each of the three then formed its own monthly magazine to replace the Institute’s journal, Mining and Metallurgy. The Mining Branch magazine became Mining Engineering with the first issue published in January 1949.

SME is one of four member societies, along with the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS), the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST) and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).

AIME supports its four Member Societies through the conferring of awards, scholarships and special grants; and, as one of the five Founder Societies of engineering, AIME provides its Member Societies with national visibility and participation within the larger engineering and scientific community.

In May, AIME plans to celebrate its 150th anniversary. In addition to the planned Board meeting, historical talks, gala dinner and field trips, AIME plans to celebrate this important milestone with plaque installations at the site of the second meeting of the Institute at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, and an update to the 125th plaque in Wilkes-Barre town center, where its first meeting was held in 1871.

AIME Executive Director Michele Lawrie-Munro notes, “It’s such a privilege to be part of an organization that has achieved this significant milestone. I’m pleased that the AIME Board agreed to support 150th celebrations at each of the four member society annual conferences, as well as a special event in AIME’s birthplace in Wilkes-Barre, PA next year.”

Look for the seven-part series beginning in the January 2021 issue of Mining Engineering. AIME President George Luxbacher's topics will include:

  • January – the founding of AIME
  • March – the first 50 meetings
  • May – the first 50 years
  • July – the second 50 years
  • Sept – the third 50 years
  • November – Legacy of AIME
  • December – AIME and SME wrap-up with a look ahead

To celebrate this momentous occasion, SME is planning a number of events that will take place during the MINEXCHANGE 2022 Annual Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City, UT.

More information about AIME and the 150th anniversary can be found on the website.

 

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