The first part of this course covers the basics of transistor and vacuum tube circuits. Students learn about the invention and development of tubes and transistors, then perform simple experiments to learn how basic transistors are used to control the flow of electric current.
Next, students learn about the history, development, and uses of integrated circuits. The course content includes the scientific developments that lead to the IC. Students will discover what ICs are made of, how they work, and how they are designed and manufactured right here in Silicon Valley. Students will also learn how to read simple schematic diagrams and build portable radios that use 2 ICs as take-home projects.
Age range: 10 and up
Maximum class size: 16 students
A Short Technical Early History of Vacuum Tubes (Electron Valves)
Related web sites
Miracle Month The Invention of the First Transistor, November 17-December 23, 1947
Transistorized! This brief introduction outlines personalities and organizations involved in the history of the transistor.
Electronic Genie: The Tangled History of Silicon;
F. Seitz and N.G. Einspruch, University of Illinois Press, 1998, 281 pp. Santa Clara Library System No. 621.381 Seitz
This is an excellent reference book with information clearly, simply and grippingly expressed. It is truly an international document, with references ranging from the USA to Europe, India, Russia, Japan. Well illustrated, with a most enjoyable historical perspective a la James Burke of the PBS series "Connections."
Electronics in the West: The First Fifty Years;
Jane Morgan, National Press Books, Palo Alto CA; 1967, 194 pp. Santa Clara Library System No.J621.38109.
A book telling of the scientists and inventors of the US West. Not by chance, the tales center in the San Francisco Bay area, which was bubbling cauldron of inventiveness and ingenuity. Written for the young reader.
Getting to Know Semiconductors;
M.E Levinshtein and G. S. Simin; World Scientific Publishing Co., Singapore, New Jersey,London, Hong Kong; 1992,174 pp. Santa Clara Library System No.621.3815 Levinsh.
The two authors are renowned Russian scientists specialized in semiconductors. Although written in a folksy manner, this book does not hesitate to revert regularly to mathematical derivations and explanations at a university level.
Crystal Fire: The Birth of the Information Age.
Michael Riordan and Lillian Hoddeson, W.W. Norton and Co., New York, 1997, 352 pp. Santa Clara Library System No. 621.381 Riordan.
The authors tell of the transistor's invention. Their narrative reaches back to pre WWII days describing the international rivalry and then cooperation among allies to win the war. A history that shows the human side of scientists -- their fears, distrusts, the power of their leaders. Highly readable while being totally informative.
Simple, Low Cost Electronics Projects
Blechman, (Los Altos library 621.381Blechman)
Many easy to construct circuits that require few tools and test equipment. It includes such things as a deluxe time base; an Inductance measuring meter; a variable audio frequency oscillator; and electronic siren.
Registration must be completed 2 weeks prior to start of class.
This page last updated: December 4, 2010