On naming the transistor:
John Pierce is a scientist and a wordsmith. He helped developed the technology that drives our communication satellites, he is a science fiction writer (under the name J.J. Coupling) -- and in 1949 he invented the name for the transistor.
Pierce began working at Bell Labs in 1937, just after finishing his grad degree at Caltech. While Pierce never worked directly for the Shockley lab he did work in close conjunction with Shockley and his projects -- early on in vacuum tubes, and later when they were working on the transistor. In fact, Pierce was one of the special few who first knew about the intriguing amplifier long before it was made public.
While working at Bell, Pierce designed and launched the
first active communications satellite: Telstar 1. Science fiction
writer Arthur C. Clarke -- who is credited with first proposing satellite
networks in 1945 -- has called Pierce one of the fathers of the communication
satellite, saying he "designed, developed, and produced it, making real
that which I and others thought only to write and dream about."
Copyright 1999, ScienCentral, Inc, and The American Institute of Physics. No portion of this web site may be reproduced without written permission. All Rights Reserved.