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Hopkins Fulfillment Services


, 216 pages

12 halftones, 12 line drawings

October 2007
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The Life Story of a Technology

Electronics provides a welcome, comprehensive history of one of the late twentieth century's greatest technologies: electronic devices. Some of them, the laser and the microchip for example, have become household words. Yet their origins and operation are largely unknown to the general public, remaining mysterious outside the field of engineering. Their advent brought about many of the most important historical developments in recent memory—the rise of television, the Cold War, the Space Race, the growth of Asian semiconductor manufacturers, and the emergence of the surveillance society.

Electronics also relates the fascinating stories of how scientists and engineers created and commercialized such devices as the transistor, the Magnetron tube used to power microwave ovens, the CRT (cathode ray tube), the laser, the first integrated circuit, the microprocessor, and memory chips.

David L. Morton Jr., a historian of technology with expertise in the history of sound recording, electronics, and electric power, has been a research historian for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is the author of Sound Recording: The Life Story of a Technology, also published in paperback by Johns Hopkins. Joseph Gabriel is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego.

"This book will be very useful if you are involved in delivering courses, such as general studies, which attempt to make connections between science and society. If you ignore the plethora of names and acronyms, this book is a sobering account of the economics of the past development of the semiconductor devices which give us so much ease and delight today... Put this book in your school library. Read it if you teach, or aspire to teach, electronics or physics. It will give you a fresh perspective on how silk purses (such as iPods) can indeed be made from sows' ears (such as ICBM guidance systems)."

"This book will allow the reader to become familiar with some of the basics of the technology that surrounds us all and will lead to questions about what can and should happen next."

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