Gene Anderson was a technician in the lab that turned the first transistors into a commercial device. He began his career at Bell Labs working with vacuum tubes, and so had a front-row seat to see vacuum tube research be completely replaced by the transistor.
Anderson was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1916. In college, he promised himself that he would never go to graduate school, he would never do research, and he would never work with vacuum tubes. Then, in the middle of the Depression in 1939, he was hired at Bell Labs by the vacuum tube research department. He said that it took him about thirty days to get used to it, but "it's been my life ever since."
With time, most people who worked with vacuum tubes at Bell Labs naturally moved over to semiconductor research. Anderson made the switch in 1948, when he was assigned to a new transistor development group. His job was as an engineer, helping to turn the transistor into an efficient and usable device.
After he'd left vacuum tubes behind, Anderson became an expert in semiconductors and semiconductor devices, even serving on a government committee to give advice on what semiconductor research the U.S. should fund. Anderson worked at Bell Labs until he transferred to Western Electric in 1957. He retired in 1975.
Gene Anderson talks about the revolution of the
Gene Anderson talks about the transistor changing the
Gene Anderson talks about doing vacuum tube research:
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