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Surfin': Don't Forget the Integrated Circuit

09/10/2009

Last week, Surfin' took you to Jack Ward's online Transistor Museum. This week, we hop on the WABAC machine again and push the throttle forward just slightly to leave the heyday of the transistor and enter the integrated circuit (IC) era by visiting the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History's Chip Collection.

The collection "consists of individual donations of objects, images and documentation that trace the history of integrated circuits." If you are familiar with the Smithsonian, then you know their collections are vast. Their chip collection is on par with a generous representation of that collection online.

Online you will find text and images that cover the gamut of integrated circuit history. Among the text and images are fascinating images of "chip art," such as the microscopic artwork that designers integrated into their ICs, stories about the personalities behind the development of the IC and anecdotes like the discovery of an antique hand-wired hybrid IC found in an old Bell Labs office desk. There also is hard core technical information about the ICs themselves.

Caveat emptor: ICs comprise most of the Chip Collection, but you will find transistors in the accumulation, too (don't miss the transistorized ukulele).

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, wishes he still had his first transistor radio. To contact Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog.

 

Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor



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