Friday, November 16, 2007

Nov. 16, 1904: Vacuum Tube Heralds Birth of Modern Electronics: "British engineer John Ambrose Fleming invents and patents the thermionic valve, the first vacuum tube. With this advance, the age of modern wireless electronics is born."

A physics professor I knew introduced me to the notion that the vacuum tube was the most important invention of the 20th century. I couldn't quite connect the weird looking light bulbs to personal computer as we knew them in the 1990s, but I trusted him. He didn't live to know the interweb, but he would have dug it. I would have bought him a subscription to large-type issues of Wired (were there such an animal), because he would have loved it, too. I often think of him at Thanksgiving, when the camellias bloom.

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