Tuesday 18 December 2007

60 Years Ago Today Sergent Transistor Taught The Band To Play

The Transistor the ubiquitous building block of all electronic circuits, otherwise known as the Crystal Triode came into existence on December 24 1947.

Jack Ganssle has written an articulate history of the transistor.

The transistor began its story in 1825 when William Sturgeon developed the first electromagnet. We continue on toward the Titanic's 5 Kilowatt S.O.S. transmitter. And then on through the world's first transistor, created at Bell Labs in 1947. The original inventors, John Bardeen, William Bradford Shockley and Walter Houser Brattain, all shared the Nobel Prize in 1956.

When the world's newest transistors entered "mass production," each one cost about $147 in adjusted dollars ($18 then). At such a rate, today's Core 2 Duo, with its 291 million transistors, would've cost $42.8 billion. That doesn't include R&D and engineering staffs, though they probably would've increased it only to about $42.85 billion.

There's little doubt electronics and technology as we know it today are only possible because of this fundamental discovery, and it's not like you can see it by looking at the case of iPod or computer, but without the transistor, we would have none of the "magic" electronic devices we now know and cannot live without.

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