Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review of The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip

The Desperate Case of the Diamond ChipThe Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip by Pendred Noyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

See that cell phone sitting next to you like a 24-hour a day nanny? Your iPad, computer, laptop, even your flat screen TV?

None of those things were around in 1967 when the computer chip (integrated circuit) was created by Robert Noyce (and some other guys). But it didn't just appear out of thin air.

This is where "The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip" fills in the history of the invention ranging all the way back to Mendeleev's creation of the first Periodic Table in the 19th Century. Discovery built upon discovery in a lightning fast journey from "what's an atom?" through to your multiple electronic devices.

I mention Robert Noyce particularly because he was the father of author, Pendred Noyce. It must make her proud her father was in the thick of discovery, working at the top electronics companies in Silicon Valley.

Anyway, that's not about the book, which is about the journey explored by Mae and Clinton, two school kids looking for a science project. They had a little help from a future organization named G.A.S.--Galactic Academy of Science--which provide them with a time machine allowing them to go into the past to talk to famous people for brief periods.

Beginning with Doctor Mendeleev (remember the Periodic Table?), Nils Bohr who refined the elements table and figured out the makeup of atoms, and the brilliant scientists, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, Robert Shockley (a major jerk, but no dummy), and Robert Noyce who joined with others to build Intel, the largest chip manufacturer in the world. I'll bet your computer has an Intel Inside sticker on it.

Since my own computer background began shortly after the beginning of Intel, I was delighted that I was "there" when it all happened. Like many others, we just couldn't conceive how far the technology would go. But what we were doing would have been impossible without those who came before. Well, we know how far in 2015, but what's ahead of us in 2050, 2100, and onward? I wish I could be a member of G.A.S. so I could find out.

The G.A.S. series are always a delight to read. Meant for kids, the books will aid parents to keep up with their children as the new discoveries occur. And you can learn all about zombies (in another of the G.A.S. series).

I look forward to reading the entire series. Even us old folks can learn a thing or two. Put on your thinking cap and dive in.

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