Re: geography nerds?
- From: "Keith F. Lynch" <kfl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 24 Feb 2008 23:36:38 -0500
David G. Bell <dbell@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I remember digging into the transistor history a few months ago, on
a mailing list dealing with an alternate history setting. There
were pre-WW2 patents. And the actual invention could as easily have
been attributed to somebody else. It seems several people were
working in the same area.
Right. What Shockley, et al., did was build the first practical,
repeatable, transistor, and explain the principle by which it worked.
It's a bit like radar--a pre-WW1 patent, and simultaneous rather
secret invention in several countries as WW2 loomed. But the patent
has several elements on completely the wrong track, and they would
never have been able to detect the echo with the tech they had at
Exactly. Nearly everything in electricity or electronics was first
done by someone obscure, but done badly. Edison didn't have the
first electric light, or Morse the first telegraph, or Bell the first
telephone, or Fleming the first vacuum tube, or Marconi the first
radio, or De Forest the first amplifier. What they did was made
those inventions practical.
I'm fascinated by the history of electricity and electronics,
especially the abortive and impractical first attempts. The Branly
coherer, the Cooke telegraph, the Bain fax machine (in 1843!), the
Gray telephone, the Hertz radio tuner, the Fessenden radiotelephone
transmitter, the siphon telegraph amplifier, Hedy Lamarr's (!) patent
on spread spectrum, etc.
Keith F. Lynch - http://keithlynch.net/
Please see http://keithlynch.net/email.html before emailing me.
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