Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1997 - Science - 352 pages
11 Reviews
On December 16, 1947, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, physicists at Bell Laboratories, jabbed two electrodes into a sliver of germanium. The power flowing from the germanium far exceeded what went in; in that moment the transistor was invented and the Information Age was born. No other devices have been as crucial to modern life as the transistor and the microchip it spawned, but the story of the science and personalities that made these inventions possible has not been fully told until now. Crystal Fire fills this gap and carries the story forward. William Shockley, Bell Labs' team leader and co-recipient of the Nobel Prize with Brattain and Bardeen for the discovery, grew obsessed with the transistor and went on to become the father of Silicon Valley. Here is a deeply human story about the process of invention — including the competition and economic aspirations involved — all part of the greatest technological explosion in history. The intriguing history of the transistor — its inventors, physics, and stunning impact on society and the economy — unfolds here in a richly told tale."—Science News "Thoroughly accessible to lay readers as well as the techno-savvy. . . . [A] fine book."—Publishers Weekly
  

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Review: Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age

User Review  - Myles - Goodreads

I don't see how you can understand the latter half of the 20th century without knowing about the birth of the transistor, the engineering feat which gave us personal computers, smartphones, and so ... Read full review

Review: Crystal Fire: The Invention of the Transistor and the Birth of the Information Age

User Review  - BAKU - Goodreads

The first third of this is all quantum physics ( finally made the connection that it's the Pauli principle that's keeping atoms from collasping, that's why it was neccessary ) Read full review

Contents

DAWN OF AN AGE
1
BORN WITH THE CENTURY
11
THE REVOLUTION WITHIN
28
INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH SCIENCE
55
THE PHYSICS OF DIRT
71
THE FOURTH COLUMN
88
POINT OF ENTRY
115
MINORITY VIEWS
142
CALIFORNIA DREAMING
225
THE MONOLITHIC IDEA
254
Epilogue
276
Acknowledgments
287
Interviews and Conversations
290
Bibliography
292
Notes
303
Credits
335

THE DAUGHTER OF INVENTION
168
SPREADING THE FLAMES
195

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About the author (1997)

Stanford University physicist Michael Riordan has written several popular books on science and technology. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Lillian Hoddeson is an historian at the University of Illinois and lives in Urbana. Research for Crystal Fire was sponsored by the Sloan Foundation.

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