TODAY IN HISTORY: Nov. 16, 1904: Vacuum Tube Heralds Birth of Modern Electronics. “For his work, Fleming received a knighthood in 1929 and was awarded the Medal of Honor by the Institute of Radio Engineers (now the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) in 1933. Fleming lived long enough to see the fruits of his labor literally save Britain during World War II. Radar sets using Fleming’s diodes proved decisive in the Battle of Britain, allowing a relatively small number of British fighter planes to effectively turn back the Luftwaffe’s onslaught against the home island.”