On December 16, 1947, two physicists at Bell Laboratories, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, jabbed two electrodes into a sliver of germanium half an inch long. The electrical power coming out of that piece of germanium was 100 times stronger than what went in. In that moment, the transistor was invented and the information age began. Crystal Fire recounts the story of the transistor team at Bell Labs, led by William Shockley, who shared the Nobel Prize with Bardeen and Brattain. While his colleagues went on to other research, Shockley grew increasingly obsessed with the new gadget. He went on to form the first semiconductor company in what would become Silicon Valley. Above all, Crystal Fire is a tale of the human factors in technology: the pride and jealousies coupled with scientific and economic aspirations that led to the creation of modern microelectronics and ignited the greatest technological explosion in history.
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by Michael McElroy
by Richard Doetsch
by Lawrence Block
by Rick Riordan
by N. Scott Momaday
"CRYSTAL FIRE focuses on the development of the transistor and its impact on society (telephones, radios and computers). Riordan and Hoddeson trace the development of the transistor from the mid-1800's with Bell and Edison to the revolutionary advances of scientists at Bell Labs in the 1940's. McKee relentlessly reads the minutiae of the scientific notebooks and experiments. McKee is so interested in what he's reading, you can hear him fussing ceaselessly with the pages of the book throughout the nine tapes. In addition, the volume changes, sometimes within the same paragraph, making it sound as though there is a second reader. Regardless of the distractions, this book of "history in the making" fascinates. M.B.K. (c) AudioFile, Portland, Maine"
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