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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Idea Factory

Hello Bill,

I think you will like a new tech history book about Bell Labs. The name of the book is The Idea Factory and the author is Jon Gertner.

Here's a neat example of what's in the book from page 85:

"Atoms within semiconductors bond easily with a number of other elements. Scaff and his colleagues knew that when they cut n-type silicon (atomic number 14) into smaller pieces on a power saw, for instance, they could smell something they were sure was phosphorus (atomic number 15). None of the measurement equipment could pick up the taint, but their noses could."

How cool is that? The book is full of this kinda of stuff and it details the early lives of those involved in Bell Labs.....anyway I find Idea Factory a page turner and I think you will enjoy it.

Another "abstract" from page 38:

"The young Bell Labs recruits had other things in common. Almost all had grown up with a peculiar desire to know more about the stars or the telephone lines or (most often) the radio, especially their makeshift wireless sets. Almost all of them had put one together themselves, and in turn had discovered how sound could be pulled from the air."


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1 comment:

  1. Agreed (I just finished the Kindle edition). Full of detail into how the great inventors at Bell Labs lived and worked. Also commentary on how the world was effected, good and bad, by the breakup of AT&T. Recommended.


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