Information technology, IT, which comprises electronic computer technology and telecommunications technology, in the last few decades have changed our society radically. Behind this development lies a very advanced scientific and technical development originating largely from fundamental scientific inventions in physics.
The rapid development of electronic computer technology really started with the invention of the integrated circuit around 1960 and the microprocessor in the 1970s, when the number of components on a chip became sufficiently large to allow the creation of a complete micro computer. The rapid increase in the number of components was formulated as a prediction in “Moore’s law”: the number of components on a chip will double every eighteen months. This has happened since the 1960s and today there are chips with millions of separate components, at prices that are largely unchanged.
The integrated circuit – the chip
The people who were to demonstrate the practical possibility of an integrated circuit were two young engineers, Jack S. Kilby and Robert Noyce, working independently of each other. Kilby, however, was first with his patent application and Noyce knew of this work when he filed his own application.
For almost 50 years after the turn of the 20th century, the electronics industry had been dominated by vacuum tube technology. But vacuum tubes had inherent limitations. They were fragile, bulky, unreliable, power hungry, and produced considerable heat.
The development of the transistor is an essential part of the development of the chip (Nobel Prize in Physics 1956 to William B. Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter H.Brattain). Transistors were miniscule in comparison, more reliable, longer lasting, produced less heat, and consumed less power. The transistor stimulated engineers to design ever more complex electronic circuits and equipment containing hundreds or thousands of discrete components such as transistors, diodes, rectifiers and capacitors. But the problem was that these components still had to be interconnected to form electronic circuits, and hand-soldering thousands of components to thousands of bits of wire was expensive and time-consuming. It was also unreliable; every soldered joint was a potential source of trouble. The challenge was to find cost-effective, reliable ways of producing these components and interconnecting them.
Even though the transistor permitted an increase in the complexity of a system of individual components soldered together it soon became clear that the number of transistors was the limiting factor in meeting the needs of the emerging computer industry. As early as the beginning of the 1950s there were ideas and thoughts about manufacturing transistors, resistors and condensers in a composite semiconductor block, an integrated circuit.
Recent Nobels have rewarded research into the behaviour of subatomic particles, theories and chemical reactions highly arcane subject with few real world applications. This is why this year winner standout from the others, they have developed products that change everyday life in largest cities and the most remote villages. — REAL LIFE APPLICATION