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Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age (1997)

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The solid-state amplifier, whose coinage as "transistor" is one of many intriguing stories the authors include in this history of the device's invention, merits comparison to the wheel, if only by the criterion that every person relies on both every day. The mother of invention was the vacuum tube, bulky, electricity hungry, and breakable, and physicists at Bell Labs furrowed their brows to come up with something more reliable. The solution involved the interaction between electric fields and solid materials of varying electrical conductivity, in which lies the engaging tale involving serendipity, professional competition, and theoretical breakthroughs culminating in the moment of Eureka in late 1947.

The three principals who received the Nobel Prize for the transistor were not the best-oiled machine in history, and their biographies, which the authors intertwine with the technical developments, demonstrate the action of scientific ambition and hope for future riches in the creation of revolutionary inventions. The authorial team, a physicist and a historian, combine their strengths to present an accessible work worth most libraries' attention.

File Duration
00 Title, Preface.mp3 2m56s
01 c01 Dawn of an Age.mp3 26m3s
02 c02 Born With the Century.mp3 45m20s
03 c03 The Revolution Within.mp3 1h12m
04 c04 Industrial Strength Science.mp3 39m3s
05 c05 The Physics of Dirt.mp3 44m16s
06 c06 The Fourth Column.mp3 1h14m
07 c07 Point of Entry.mp3 1h11m
08 c08 Minority Views.mp3 1h6m
09 c09 The Daughter of Invention.mp3 1h8m
10 c10 Spreading the Flames.mp3 1h27m
11 c11 California Dreaming.mp3 1h17m
12 c12 The Monolithic Idea.mp3 56m48s
13 Epilogue, Acknowledgments, Credits.mp3 40m5s
Total Duration 12h49m31s

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