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The singularity expansion method (SEM) arose from the observation that the transient response of complex electromagnetic scatterers appeared to be dominated by a small number of damped sinusoids. In the complex frequency plane, these damped sinusoids are poles of the Laplace-transformed response. The question is then one of characterizing the object response (time and frequency domains) in terms of all the singularities (poles, branch cuts, entire functions) in the complex frequency plane (hence singularity expansion method). Building on the older concept of natural frequencies, formulae were developed for the pole terms from an integral-equation formulation of the scattering process. The resulting factoring of the pole terms has important application consequences. Later developments include the eigenmode expansion method (EEM) which diagonalizes the integral-equation kernels and which can be used as an intermediate step in ordering the SEM terms. Additional concepts which have appeared include eigenimpedance synthesis and equivalent electrical networks. Of current interest is the use of the theoretical formulae to efficiently analyze and order experimental data, Related to this is the application of SEM results to target identification. This paper does not delve into the mathematical details; it presents an overview of the history and major concepts and results in SEM and EEM and related matters.