The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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His name was Al Phillips, and journalist Brian Santo knew this much about him: He’d been a successful semiconductor executive, having founded Western Digital Corp. in Southern California some 40 years ago. But he seemed to have vanished not long after that.

Phillips was just one of a couple of dozen people Santo had set out to interview for this issue’s ”25 Microchips That Shook the World.” The idea was to get insight about the chips straight from the designers and managers who created them. To reach these people, some long retired, Santo put out calls, sent e-mails, and, of course, searched Google. In fact, he Googled like crazy.

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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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