For the Well-Dressed Atomic Worker, an Inflatable Suit

This “Atoms for Peace”-era polyethylene suit shielded nuclear power plant workers from radiation exposure

2 min read
U.S. government worker demonstrating an inflatable polyethylene suit.
Photo: Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

At an industrial exhibition to promote atomic energy in West Berlin in 1954, the U.S. government demonstrated an inflatable polyethylene suit, designed to shield workers in nuclear power plants from radiation. If it looks as though the suit also rendered the wearer invisible, that’s because there was nobody inside the suit when this photo was taken.

photo of Homer Moulthorp demonstrating inflatable polyethylene suitPower Suit: Engineer Homer Moulthorp demonstrates one of the inflatable polyethylene suits he invented to protect workers at nuclear power plants.Photo: Getty Images

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How Ted Hoff Invented the First Microprocessor

Hoff thought designing 12 custom chips for a calculator was crazy, so he created the Intel 4004

14 min read
How Ted Hoff Invented the First Microprocessor

The rays of the rising sun have barely reached the foothills of Silicon Valley, but Marcian E. (Ted) Hoff Jr. is already up to his elbows in electronic parts, digging through stacks of dusty circuit boards. This is the monthly flea market at Foothill College, and he rarely misses it.

Ted Hoff is part of electronics industry legend. While a research manager at Intel Corp., then based in Mountain View, he realized that silicon technology had advanced to the point that, with careful engineering, a complete central processor could fit on a chip. Teaming up with Stanley Mazor and Federico Faggin, he created the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004.

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