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The transistor burst upon the electronic scene in the 1950sby@halhellman

The transistor burst upon the electronic scene in the 1950s

by Hal Hellman5mAugust 21st, 2023
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The transistor burst upon the electronic scene in the 1950s. Almost overnight the size of new models of radios, television sets, and a host of other electronic devices shrank like deflating balloons. Suddenly the hard-of-hearing could carry their sound amplifiers in their ears. Teenagers could listen to favorite music wherever they went. Everywhere we turned the transistor was making its mark. There was even a proposal before Congress to require that every home have a transistor radio in case of emergency. The next development to fire the imagination of scientists and engineers was the laser—an instrument that produces an enormously intense pencil-thin beam of light. Most of us have heard so much about this invention it seems hard to believe that the first one was built only a few years ago. We were told that the laser was going to have an even greater effect on our lives than the transistor. It was going to replace everything from dentists’ drills to electric wires. The whole world, it seemed, eventually would be nothing but a gigantic collection of lasers that would do everything anyone wanted. Roads would be blazed through jungles at one sweep; our country would be safe once and for all from intercontinental ballistic missiles; cancer would be licked; computers would be small enough to carry in a purse; and so on and on.
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Hal Hellman

Hal Hellman

@halhellman

Prolific US science writer, adept at simplifying complex concepts for wider understanding.

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Hal Hellman@halhellman
Prolific US science writer, adept at simplifying complex concepts for wider understanding.

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