As the more distinguished electrical engineers and applied physicists go, Herbert F. Mataré is in many ways typical. He was educated as World War II was breaking out and did his first professional work on radar. After the war, he moved through a succession of increasingly responsible research and management jobs, developing semiconductor and optoelectronic devices. Along the way he wrote a definitive text about defect electronics in semiconductors, which won him recognition as an IEEE Fellow. Eventually, he would settle comfortably in Malibu, Calif., where he now divides his time between consulting and travel, often back to his native Germany.

But one big thing makes Mataré different from his peers among IEEE Life Fellows. In 1948, working with just one other scientist in a house outside Paris, he invented the transistor. True, Bardeen and Brattain beat him and his collaborator Heinrich Welker to the punch with the point-contact transistor they had devised in 1947, and Shockley with the field-effect transistor. But before AT&T officially announced the point-contact device, Mataré and Welker had invented essentially the same thing--working by themselves, without the resources of the world's premier research laboratory [see " How Europe Missed the Transistor" in this issue].

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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