Crystal Fire

  • by Michael Riordan, Lillian Hoddeson
  • Narrated by Dennis McKee
  • 12 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

"Without the invention of the transistor, I'm quite sure that the PC would not exist as we know it today." Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft Corporation.On December 16, 1947, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, physicists at Bell Laboratories, 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 headed up 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. Eventually he formed his own firm, 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 aspiration that led to the creation of modern microelectronics and ignited the greatest technological explosion in history.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting and not light on the science either!

This book is very interesting for anyone inclined to science. You dont have to by a physicist or mathemetician to appreciate it, yet it covered the actual science behind it as well.

Not only is it a good history book, but a good primer in understanding semi conductor mechanisms as because its historical, it also explains the discoveries in depth layer by layer.

After this book you will know the history, but also have a much better understanding of semi conductor physics.
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- Ziloni

Better listen to the voice

This is a fascinating though technical story. Unfortunately, it is read by monotoned, plodding individual. I suggest listening to a sample of this guy because he makes a great story extremely tedious. It is probably better to read this material rather than to suffer the narator which is too bad. It really will interest a 45-55 computer or electrical engineer.
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- Bill

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-17-2000
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.