When Courant prepared the text of his 1942 address to the American Mathematical Society for publication, he added a two-page Appendix to illustrate how the variational methods first described by Lord Rayleigh could be put to wider use in potential theory. Choosing piecewise-linear approximants on a set of triangles which he called elements, he dashed off a couple of two-dimensional examples and the finite element method was born.
Finite element activity in electrical engineering began in earnest about 1968-1969. A paper on waveguide analysis was published in Alta Frequenza in early 1969, giving the details of a finite element formulation of the classical hollow waveguide problem. It was followed by a rapid succession of papers on magnetic fields in saturable materials, dielectric loaded waveguides, and other well-known boundary value problems of electromagnetics.
In the decade of the eighties, finite element methods spread quickly. In several technical areas, they assumed a dominant role in field problems.
P.P. Silvester, San Miniato (PI), Italy, 1992
Early in the nineties the International Workshop on Finite Elements for Microwave Engineering started. This volume contains the history of the Workshop and the Proceedings of the 13th edition, Florence (Italy), 2016 . The 14th Workshop will be in Cartagena (Colombia), 2018.