Jack Ganssle over at EE Times has written a lengthy article about the 60 year anniversary of the transistor. The story takes us back to 1825 when William Sturgeon developed the first electromagnet. We continue on toward the Titanic's 5 Kilowatt S.O.S. transmitter [Don't know why-Ed]. And then on through the world's first transistor, created at Bell Labs in 1947. The original inventors, John Bardeen, William Bradford Shockley and Walter Houser Brattain, all shared the Nobel Prize in 1956.
When the world's newest transistors entered "mass production," each one cost about $147 in adjusted dollars ($18 then). At such a rate, today's Core 2 Duo, with its 291 million transistors, would've cost $42.8 billion. That doesn't include R&D and engineering staffs, though they probably would've increased it only to about $42.85 billion.
Read more ... EE Times.
Just what exactly are the benefits of the transistor? We're still trying to figure that out. Stay tuned...
UPDATE: No one picked up on the Real Genius reference (from the main page)? "The transistor, what does it look like? Kent! You're standing in front of the teleprompter. Well, I didn't know."