There are slides devoted to this topic: Lecture 9, pp. 43-44, Lecture 10a.


Learn about the invention, marketing, and commercialization of the transistor on the Computer History Museum’s page, “Inventing the Transistor.” Then turn to the page “Tortoise of Transistors Wins the Race” to read about the rise of metal oxide semiconductor (MOS), which were more cost- and energy-efficient than bipolar transistors.

To read about the history of semiconductor development, read “The Semiconductor Transistor” on History of Computers site. The article covers many discoveries and  inventions that made Bardeen, Shockley, and Brattain’s transistor possible. It also briefly describes the design and function of the transistor.

Visit the “Transistor” page, produced by PBS, which contains a timeline of events, an explanation of the PN junction, and a short history of the transistor.

And if you’re interested in a more technical explanation of the transistor, check out the explanation of NPN transistors provided on this “Transistor Circuit” page.


Watch an engaging and helpful video on the transistor, “MAKE Presents: The Transistor.” This nine-minute film first covers some modern uses of the transistor, then discusses the history of its development and provides a schematic for a light-powering transistor.

Travel back in time to 1959 to view “Little Giant,” a government-made film espousing the transistor and its applications for commercial, military, government, medical, and even computational work. It also goes into a brief history of the device and its possibilities for the future. Make sure to watch the second part as well!


Freed, Les, The History of Computers, “The Transistor Age,” 61-65