Thursday, January 19, 2017

A good video on the discovery of the transistor

I am on the lookout for good videos that meet roughly the following criteria:
-available free online
-on condensed matter or chemistry
-accessible and interesting to a popular audience
-represent the science in a reasonable and helpful way
-lack hype

This is motivated by the following experience. I knew that there were people (mostly young) who will spend endless hours watching trashy videos (whether B-grade movies or silly antics) on Youtube. However, I only recently learned that there are also people who will spend hours watching videos on serious subjects (science, politics, history, religion, ...)

I am keen to find such material so I can recommend it as alternatives to the kind of thing featuring Michio Kaku or string theory propaganda from Brian Greene.

This is why I recently watched Forces of Nature with Brian Cox. Unfortunately, I think only the first episode is available for free.

In my search, I came across this nice history of the discovery of the transistor narrated by Ira Flatow and produced by PBS.

It nicely brings out the healthy interaction between Bardeen's theoretical work and Brattain's experimental work, even when one or both did not work out. They were a great stimulus to one another.

It also discusses the mixed legacy of Shockley, the Broken Genius.

What videos can you recommend that meet the criteria above?


  1. Check this one out:
    So Close and Such a Stranger: a documentary about Condensed Matter Physics

    1. Thanks for the recommendation.
      It is worth watching and promoting.