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Sunday, April 8, 2018

AMAZING 1999 Video on the Invention of the Transistor at "Hell's Bells Laboratory"



Thanks to Armand WA1UQO for alerting me to this.  I really liked the book -- "Crystal Fire" -- that this 1999 video is loosely based on. I'm also a fan of the narrator,  Ira Flatow, whose melodious voice is heard each week on NPR's excellent "Science Friday" radio show. 

A few observations and thoughts on the video: 

-- I liked the irreverant Calypso song "Hell's Bells Laboratory."  It looks like those folks had a lot of fun.  And wow, Shockly's secretary was named Betty Sparks.  TRGHS. 

-- I have the same big Variac on my bench.  And I have one of those "third hand" devices.  

-- I'd like to build my own replica of the point contact device with the triangular piece of lucite and the gold foil. 

-- While Shockley seems to be the real bad guy in this story (he seems to have all the bad characteristics of David Sarnoff,  Lee DeForest, and Steve Jobs),  I liked the his use of "physical intuition" to understand devices and the problems they were meant to solve.  

-- The image of the two Japanese founders of Sony working in the late 1940's in a bombed out department store was very powerful.   

-- Although I came on the scence a bit later, I WAS one of those kids who used a transistor radio and an earphone to surreptitiously listen to rock-and-roll music. 

-- "More transistors are made each year than raindrops fall on California."  Hmmm.... 

More info here:  http://www.pbs.org/transistor/
Extra interviews:  http://www.pbs.org/transistor/tv/index.html

1 comment:

  1. Bill Shockley was NOT a team player. If he had, silicon valley probably would not have existed. All these competitive Innovators kicked off a revolution.

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