How Europe Missed The Transistor

The most important invention of the 20th century was conceived not just once, but twice

14 min read
photo of Herbert Mataré
Photo: Gusto Images

photo of Herbert Matar\u00e9 Invention and Inventors: In Paris, shortly after World War II, two German scientists, Herbert Mataré (above) and Heinrich Welker, invented the “tran- sistron,” a solid-state amplifier remark- ably similar to the transistor developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories at about the same time. In this X-ray image of a commercial transistron built in the early 1950s, two closely spaced metal point contacts, one from each end, touch the surface of a germanium sliver. A third electrode contacts the other side of the sliver. Mataré is now retired and living in Malibu, Calif. Photo: Gusto Images

In late 1948, shortly after Bell Telephone Laboratories had announced the invention of the transistor, surprising reports began coming in from Europe. Two physicists from the German radar program, Herbert Mataré and Heinrich Welker, claimed to have invented a strikingly similar semiconductor device, which they called the transistron, while working at a Westinghouse subsidiary in Paris.

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Video Friday: Drone in a Cage

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

3 min read
A drone inside of a protective geometric cage flies through a dark rain

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

ICRA 2022: 23 May–27 May 2022, PHILADELPHIA
IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL

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Remembering 1982 IEEE President Robert Larson

He was a supporter of several IEEE programs including Smart Village

3 min read
A photo of two men in suits.  One behind the other.

Robert Larson [left] with IEEE Life Fellow Eric Herz, who served as IEEE general manager and executive director.

IEEE History Center

Robert E. Larson, 1982 IEEE president, died on 10 March at the age of 83.

An active volunteer who held many high-level positions throughout the organization, Larson was the 1975–1976 president of the IEEE Control Systems Society and also served as IEEE Foundation president.

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