Celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Transistor With IEEE

The Electron Devices Society is presenting webinars and other events

3 min read
A group of women in colorful clothing are holding a white banner and standing behind a table with cake, plates, and cups on it.

IEEE partnered with the Luminarias Community Center in Guatemala to teach Indigenous students about the transistor.

IEEE

The transistor, the basic building block of the electronics industry, was developed in 1947 by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J., to replace the vacuum tube. The three honorary IEEE members received the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for their work.

To mark the transistor’s 75th anniversary, the IEEE Electron Devices Society is holding seminars and panel discussions at IEEE conferences, as well as presenting webinars, giving away prizes, and organizing other events from now until the end of next year.


“These events are being done at each conference to remind the community how important the mighty transistor has been over the past 75 years,” says IEEE Fellow Ravi Todi, the EDS president.

Todi says he is particularly excited about the celebrations scheduled for this year’s IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting, the society’s flagship conference, being held from 3 to 7 December at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. The conference has been bringing together engineers from academia and industry for more than 70 years.

About the IEEE Electron Devices Society

EDS was established in 1952 as a committee of the Institute of Radio Engineers, one of IEEE’s predecessor societies. After IRE’s merger in 1963 with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers—which formed IEEE—EDS was an IEEE technical group. It became a society 13 years later.

EDS now has about 9,000 members and 250 chapters worldwide.

“We pride ourselves on the fact that a lot of the core inventions of transistors were developed by IEEE EDS members,” says Ravi Todi, the society’s president.

“A lot of the key inventions that have to do with the transistor have been first presented at this conference,” Todi says. “IEEE IEDM has played a key role in driving the progress of the transistor.”

Several society members are compiling a book about the transistor and its history. In addition, technical articles are scheduled to run in IEEE Spectrum and in the EDS Newsletter.

“Our aim is to teach and enlighten members on the importance of the transistor,” says IEEE Senior Member Manoj Saxena, who is overseeing the anniversary celebrations. “The events shall be a tribute to the men and women who have contributed to the development of the transistor, which has had a lasting impact on people's lives and has benefited mankind.”

A group of people stand in front of a white wall while holding a white and blue banner with writing on it.Members of the IEEE Electron Devices Society’s IEEE Madhya Pradesh Section celebrate the transistors 75th anniversary at the Indian Institute of Technology in Indore.IEEE

Panels, webinars, and historical accounts

EDS is collaborating with the IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society to mark the anniversary. Since January, the two societies have been presenting a webinar series on the effect transistors have had on society and technological advances. Every month, a member who works in the field of electron device engineering gives a presentation on a technology impacted by the transistor. Presentations so far have covered 2D semiconductors, chemical sensors, and 5G cellular technology. The talks are available on demand on the EDS website.

EDS is compiling a commemorative book designed to explore the development of the transistor and how it has changed in the past 75 years. Transistor pioneers including Digh Hisamoto, Eric R. Fossum, and Chenming Hu are writing chapters for the book, which is scheduled to be published early next year. Hisamoto, an IEEE Fellow, developed the 3D double-gate metal-oxide-silicon field effect transistor in 1989. Three years later, Fossum, also an IEEE Fellow, invented the CMOS image sensor. An IEEE Medal of Honor recipient and IEEE Life Fellow, Hu is known as the “father of the 3D transistor” for inventing the FinFET in 1999.

“We want to capture historical accounts of the device’s development and growth,” Todi says.

IEEE EDS chapters are holding events to celebrate the anniversary. The activities include social gatherings, technical talks, and historical seminars.

To learn more about upcoming events in your area and how to participate, visit the EDS website.

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The Ultimate Transistor Timeline

The transistor’s amazing evolution from point contacts to quantum tunnels

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A chart showing the timeline of when a transistor was invented and when it was commercialized.
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Even as the initial sales receipts for the first transistors to hit the market were being tallied up in 1948, the next generation of transistors had already been invented (see “The First Transistor and How it Worked.”) Since then, engineers have reinvented the transistor over and over again, raiding condensed-matter physics for anything that might offer even the possibility of turning a small signal into a larger one.

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