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Brief History of Electronics 1745-2020 2

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923)

Discovered X rays, for which he received the first Nobel Prize for physics in 1901. He observed that barium platinocyanide crystals across the room fluoresced whenever he turned on a Crooke’s, or cathode-ray discharge tube, even when the tube was shielded by thin metal sheets.

Roentgen correctly hypothesized that a previously unknown form of radiation of very short wavelength was involved, and that these X rays (a term he coined) caused the crystals to glow. He later demonstrated the metallurgical and medical use of X rays which later brought a revolution in medical science.

The unit of radiation exposure (rad) is named after him.

Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen

Sir Joseph John Thomson (1856-1940)

He is universally recognized as the British scientist who discovered and identified the electron in the year 1897. Thomson demonstrated that cathode rays were actually units of electrical current made up of negatively charged particles of subatomic size.

He believed them to be an integral part of all matter and theorized the “plum pudding” model of atomic structure in which a quantity of negatively charged electrons was embedded in a sphere of positive electricity, the two charges neutralizing each other.

Sir Joseph John Thomson

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) – Great Name in History of Electronics

In the year 1905, Einstein elaborated on the experimental results of Max Planck who noticed that electromagnetic energy seemed to be emitted from radiating objects in quantities that were discrete.

The energy of these emitted quantities – the so called “light-quanta” was directly proportional to the frequency of the radiation which was completely contrary to classical electromagnetic theory, based on Maxwell’s equations and the laws of thermodynamics.

Einstein used Planck’s quantum hypothesis to describe visible electromagnetic radiation, or light. According to Einstein’s viewpoint, light could be imagined to consist of discrete bundles of radiation. He used this interpretation to explain the photoelectric effect, by which certain metals emit electrons when illuminated by light with a given frequency.

Einstein’s theory, and his subsequent elaboration of it, formed the basis for much of Quantum Mechanics.

Albert Einstein

Sir John Ambrose Fleming (1849-1945)

He made the first diode tube, the Fleming valve in the year 1905. The device had three leads, two for the heater/cathode and the other for the plate.

Sir John Ambrose Fleming

Lee De Forest (1873-1961)

He added a grid electrode to Fleming’s valve and created the triode tube, later improved and called the Audion. This increased the distance that radio could be received by two orders of magnitude.

He was a prolific inventor, and was granted more than 300 patents in the fields of wireless telegraphy, radio, wire telephone, sound-on-film, picture transmission, and television.

Lee De Forest

Jack St. Clair Kilby (1923-2005)

Developed the integrated circuit while at Texas instruments. While conducting research into miniaturization he built the first true integrated circuit, a phase-shift oscillator with individually wired parts. Kilby received a patent in 1959.

Jack Kilby

Robert Norton Noyce (1927-1990)

Developed the integrated circuit with a more practical approach to scaling the size of the circuit. He became a founder of Fairchild Semiconductor Company in 1957.

In 1959, he and a co-worker developed the design of a semiconducting chip; the same idea occurred independently that same year to Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments. Noyce and Kilby were both granted patents.

In 1968 he formed Intel with Gordon Moore, and in 1971 Intel designer Ted Hoff developed the first microprocessor, the 4004.

Robert Norton Noyce

Seymour Cray (1925-1996)

Also known as “The Father of the Supercomputer“, along with George Amdahl, defined the supercomputer industry in the year 1976.

Seymour Cray

Ray Prasad (1946-Still Going 2019)

Ray Prasad is Author of the textbook Surface Mount Technology: Principles and Practice. He is an inductee to the IPC Hall of Fame, the highest honor in Electronics Industry for his contribution to the electronics industry. He is also the recipient of the IPC President’s Award, SMTA Member of Distinction Award, Intel Achievement Award, and Dieter W. Bergman IPC Fellowship Medal.

As the lead engineer, Mr. Prasad introduced SMT into airplanes and defense systems at Boeing, and as SMT program manager, he managed the global implementation of SMT at Intel Corporation. You can Read more about Mr. Ray Prasad.

Ray Prasad

History of Electronics Timeline – 2000 – 2019

  • 2006 – The First WII and PS3 Gaming Console were Launched.
  • 2007 – First Apple iPhone and iPod were Launched.
  • 2008 – First Android OS for Smartphones was Launched.
  • 2008 – The Large Hadron Collider.
  • 2010 – The First Apple iPad and Xbox 360 Gaming Console were Launched.
  • 2011 – Solar Panel Revolution as Alternate and Renewable Source of Energy.
  • 2011 – Curiosity, the space vehicle launched by NASA landed on Mars.
  • 2014 – Microscale 3-D Printing Available.
  • 2018 – Parker Solar Probe Launched by Nasa.
  • 2019 – China Launched Tianwen-1 to the Mars.


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