The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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The folks at Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. are tooting their horns in celebration of their recent 50th anniversary. It’s a big deal for them, but why should we care? Because the computer and electronic devices we use depend in large part on the fundamental breakthroughs the founders of Fairchild made a half century ago. The creation of this company is a remarkable demonstration of how progress advances, in fits and starts, when the right set of individuals have the right conditions in which to work their magic.

For many tech insiders, especially those interested in the roots of modern computing, the Fairchild story is the stuff of legend. It begins with the invention of the transistor at AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

1 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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