From Publishers Weekly
For PlayStations and DVD players, computers and cars, we have the microchip to thank. Yet when, asks business journalist Zygmont, do we stop to fully contemplate such microelectronics, which, "like steel," changed life so fundamentally? Zygmont (The VC Way) charts the human story behind the development of the microchip-how the genius of scientists like Bill Shockley, Jack Kilby, Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore contributed to discovery after brilliant discovery, from Texas Instruments' first stabs at a portable calculator to today's high-powered laptops. (There was plenty of Melrose Place-type drama along the way, too, as top talent jumped from firm to firm.) Fortunately, Zygmont has a knack for translating complex material into readable narrative. But don't confuse this book with beach reading; it is, after all, about integrated circuits and the various properties of silicon. What's most compelling in this thoroughly modern history is the race to miniaturization, and the competition between minds that created "the biggest change that has occurred in our culture during the past four decades."
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Zygmont compares the invention of the integrated circuit to that of steel--something we use constantly in our day-to-day lives yet rarely stop to contemplate. When it was first invented, the microchip, really an extremely dense packet of transistors, had few fans. There was great resistance to its introduction in the early 1960s, as circuit makers were content with wiring their own rather than using the ready-made ICs. It took not only the ability to create a circuit on a fleck of silicon, but also the vision to find applications for it, first in hand-held calculators, then microwave oven controllers, then cell phones and automobiles, and finally in computers. This is the story of the visionaries who brought us this incredibly complex technology that we take for granted today, such as Jack Kirby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce and Ted Hoff of Intel, as well as some of the unsung heroes of the field. Zygmont succeeds in demystifying the strange processes involved in creating these microscopic circuits and connects us back to what will soon be considered another era. David SiegfriedCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved