Pointed via UncommonDescent, this article by Tomasz Durakiewicz is on the side of the angels but misidentifies some earlier demons as angels.
In a 1675 letter to Robert Hooke, Isaac Newton wrote the famous phrase “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” Newton paraphrased earlier uses of that sentence to make a point: Mavericks can produce transformative change only thanks to a vast body of incremental research done quietly, with no fame or recognition, and with no front-page news. In science, the incremental progress of many enables the transformative actions of individual mavericks.
Newton wasn’t a maverick. He was the favorite of the queen and knew how to manipulate political power. HE WAS IN CHARGE OF THE FUCKING MINT, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, and used his money power to defund his competitors. In modern terms he was Fauci and Bernanke combined.
Newton was on top of the status stack and happened to be right. Quantum is an even more horrible example because it’s top status and wrong. Durakiewicz considers quantum quackery to be the maverick. In fact quantum is the favorite of the monarchs, owning the treasury called CERN, which constantly mints new fake particle-coins. Like bitcoins, these “particles” are numerical resonances which do not appear in Nature and have no possible use. They have value because the cult priesthood says they have value, and because the minting process consumes vast amounts of real energy and real money.
Quantum immediately took over physics, revising earlier history to kick out correct explanations. We now credit quantum for inventing the transistor. In fact the transistor was a gradual development from earlier observations about semiconductor amplification. Bell Labs had the resources and persistence to find the proper mix of materials and dimensions. Semiconductor action has never needed quantum to “explain” it. Newton’s fields and forces are enough.
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Here’s an early observation that I happened to notice this morning in 1921 Wireless World. This author was trying to develop an electrostatic speaker, not trying to develop a substitute for the vacuum tube. He didn’t serendipit the alternate purpose of his invention.
Looks mighty familiar.
This, then, is the function of the semiconducting material: to conduct sufficiently to allow the accumulation of a layer of electrically charged ions or electrons on the surface of the material adjacent to the metal electrodes, but at the same time to insulate sufficiently to prevent the charge being wholly dissIpated by contact between the electrode and one or two points of the surface of the material. With ordinary good conducting materials, contact at one point, however small, is sufficient to completely dissipate the electric charges and set up a short-cicuit betwen them.
The concept of using a field to pinch and control electric flow was envisioned as early as 1840, but it couldn’t work with good conductors like copper. Further development had to wait for wireless experimenters screwing around with catwhiskers touching galena or carborundum crystals. These point contacts sometimes amplified along with rectifying. Bell Labs expanded those observations into a wonderful product.