Sixty today

On on Dec. 16, 1947 – sixty years ago today – the world’s first transistor was constructed and tested at Bell Labs, New Jersey, USA. Those responsible for the device were William Shockley, the theorist and John Bardeen and Walter Brattain who actually constructed the first one.

What started life as a heap of precariously balanced parts…

Replica Transistor

…ended up kick-starting the microelectronics revolution.

Today’s equivalent to Bardeen and Brattain’s part is one of the myriad sub-millimeter sized black specks you’ll find on the PCB of just about any modern electronics. Yet even these dwarf their tiny sibblings on the silicon die of a CPU, where they are packed with more than 150 million to the square centimeter.