Silicon Chip

On 14th March 1950, the first prototype of the silicon transistor was demonstrated by researchers at Bell Labs, the company spawned from its eponymous founder Alexander Graham Bell (i.e. the person widely accredited with inventing the telephone).

This incredible breakthrough device then paved the way for modern digital electronics. Some people may even remember the valves they replaced which were relatively slow, bulky, expensive, unreliable and which created significantly more waste heat. The fact that transistors could be miniaturised and printed onto integrated circuitry (i.e. silicon ‘chips’) meant they revolutionised electronics and ushered in the modern computer age. A modern mobile-phone can contain in the order of 20 billion transistors. A phone containing that many valves would be bigger than an international soccer stadium!

As computers became increasingly powerful and ubiquitous, they facilitated the development and expansion of the Internet and on March 15, 1985, the first internet domain name,, was registered, almost exactly 21 years before Twitter was launched (21st March 2006).

Given that there are around 500 million tweets sent every day now (and that’s just Twitter – think of all the other social updates) perhaps spare a thought for the rise of transistor next time your phone pings with a new message.

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