The Lost History of the Transistor

How, 50 years ago, Texas Instruments and Bell Labs pushed electronics into the silicon age

15 min read
Photo of Gordon Teal and William Shockley
Photo: Texas Instruments

img In the Beginning: Gordon Teal (far left) directed the development of the silicon transistor at Texas Instruments. William Shockley (second from left) led the team at Bell Telephone Laboratories that developed the very first transistor, which was made of germanium. TI’s silicon device (second from right) with its three long leads became famous, making the Texas upstart the sole supplier of silicon transistors for several years in the 1950s. Morris Tanenbaum (far right) at Bell Labs actually made the first silicon transistor, but he felt “it didn’t look attractive” from a manufacturing point of view. Photo: Texas Instruments (Teal, Shepherd, and Transistor); Morris Tanenbaum

The speaker’s words were at once laconic and electrifying. “Contrary to what my colleagues have told you about the bleak prospects for silicon transistors,” he proclaimed in his matter-of-fact voice, “I happen to have a few of them here in my pocket.”

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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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Acer Goes Big on Glasses-Free, 3D Monitors—Look Out, VR

Is this what’s needed to bring augmented reality to the home office?

4 min read
A standing tablet computer shows a blow out of a car that appears to be coming out of the display.

Content creators are a key target for Acer's glasses-free 3D.

Acer

Acer, the world’s fifth largest PC brand, wants to take the growing AR/VR market by the horns with its SpatialLabs glasses-free stereoscopic 3D displays.

First teased in 2021 in a variant of Acer’s ConceptD 7 laptop, the technology expands this summer in a pair of portable monitors, the SpatialLabs View and View Pro, and select Acer Predator gaming laptops. The launch is paired with AI-powered software for converting existing 2D content into stereoscopic 3D.

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