Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
Fable: The Untutored Genius
In 1959, a very great inventor, self-taught in the sciences and with an unusually wide knowledge of different scientific disciplines, showed off a model of a nerve cell.
The cell was made from on thin films of tantalum oxides supported on tantalum wires and immersed in a hermetically sealed polyethylene can filled with sulphuric acid.
The layers were made by combining elements, especially chalcogenides including sulphur, selenium and tellurium.
It could be said to have pioneered the use of nanostructures.
The US Air Force tried the device in airborne electronics, but although it worked it was judged too prone to the sulphuric acid container breaking.
The inventor worked for 40 years trying to make chalcogenide-based non-volatile memory but, though the work goes on to this day, it has not proved to be a mainstream approach.
Moral: The untutored mind can be a blessingTags: nerve cell, scientific disciplines, sulphuric acid, tantalum, Untutored Genius