Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-vi

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

Many people contributed to this book, and those not listed here should know they have my thanks. A few individuals and organizations, however, merit mention for leaving their marks on specific sections of the manuscript. To begin with the title, the “Long Arm of Moore’s Law” tag line and a rudimentary version of the introduction were fashioned for a seminar at Amherst College to which Javier Lezaun and Susan Silbey suggested I be invited. Javier also got me into a workshop on interdisciplinarity at Oxford at which I presented parts of chapter 1, on which Sharon Traweek, Natasha Myers, and Steve Hilgartner gave much helpful feedback. The themes of that chapter first germinated in an essay review commissioned by Michael Gordin and Angela Creager and in a chapter for a handbook edited by Karin Bijsterveld and Trevor Pinch. The chapter also benefited from Christophe Lécuyer’s advice and collaborations with Andrew Nelson and Mara Mills....

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-24

The manuscript of this book was written on a computer that was itself networked to billions of other computers and computer-like devices all over the world. I need not enumerate the capabilities of today’s computers, since virtually everyone reading this book knows them. They offer unprecedented access to information and misinformation; they boost our productivity and allow us to waste time in new ways; they keep us in touch and they keep us apart.
More germane to this study is that the computer and electronics industry contributes more to the United States’ gross domestic product than any other manufacturing industry.1 Worldwide, electronics manufacturing is a prized source of revenue, employment, and prestige for industrialized and industrializing societies alike.2 It has been a major factor in the rapid growth of the “Asian Tiger” economies since the 1970s, and in the globalization (more accurate, re-globalization) of the world economy in the late twentieth century.3 For those reasons, many governments have gone to great lengths to acquire or to maintain a thriving computer and/or electronics industry....

read more

1 Crisis and Opportunity at Vietnam-Era Stanford

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 25-46

In 1967, James Meindl left his job as a senior researcher and grant officer in the Army Signal Corps’ lab at Fort Monmouth in New Jersey and moved to California with his young family to join Stanford University’s Department of Electrical Engineering. Meindl’s job change exemplified many of the transitions that were just beginning to affect American microelectronics: from government (especially military) customers to private, civilian markets; from the East Coast to the West; from universities as producers of personnel to universities as producers of innovations and intellectual property; from the bipolar junction transistor to the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET). I’ll explain the differences between these transistor types later. For now, it will suffice to say that MOSFETs later became the dominant commercial transistor type, but that in the late 1960s they were one of the less likely of several alternatives to bipolar transistors being explored in firms and at universities....

read more

2 IBM Gives Josephson Computing a Try

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 47-78

The fundamental carrier of signals and information in microelectronics is, as the name implies, the electron.1 Solid-state electronic devices depend on the ability of materials to move electrons from one place to another or to block that movement with an energetic “barrier.” Most devices contain components (transistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors, etc.) built from tiny structures composed of three classes of materials: conductors, insulators, and semiconductors. Conductors allow electrons to move with little resistance. Conversely, insulators impede electrons from moving. In a semiconductor, electrons with energies that fall within a certain range move as though moving through a conductor, whereas electrons with energies outside that range act like electrons in an insulator....

read more

3 Molecular Electronics Gains a Reputation

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 79-118

As was explained at the beginning of the preceding chapter, conventional microelectronic devices are composed of tiny solid structures made from insulating, conducting, and semi-conducting materials. In the late 1960s, though, physicists and chemists became interested in building circuits from “organic conductors,” a class of carbon-based materials (much like wool or cotton) that nevertheless conduct electricity with relatively little resistance (much like copper and gold). Today, organic conductors and a related class of materials, conducting polymers, are entering the market in a few technological applications, particularly organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). In the early 1970s, however, a few visionaries began proposing these materials as the basis for something more revolutionary: an “ultimate” form of microelectronics that would bypass Moore’s Law. Co-opting the name of an earlier attempted revolution in semiconductor circuits, these visionaries called their dream “molecular electronics.”...

read more

4 New Institutions for Submicron Research

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 119-148

As we saw in chapter 1, the early 1970s were a period of multiple, compounding crises and exploratory experimentation in American research universities. A variety of local stakeholders, including student activists, surrounding communities, nearby firms, trustees, and restless faculty members, worked to deconstruct, reassemble, and invent academic research institutions. The same stakeholders also struggled to cope with the institutional deconstructions and innovations put forward by others. As was noted in chapter 1, successful academic researchers had to find ways of defusing pressure from activists, while strategically enrolling a variety of partners (users, civil society groups, interdisciplinary collaborators, federal agencies, firms, philanthropic organizations) in order to overcome deficits of money and legitimacy....

read more

5 Circuits, Cells, and Networks

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 149-184

As we have seen, the American semiconductor industry began the 1980s in a panic over the rapid gains made in the previous decade by overseas competitors, particularly in Japan. Federal policy makers shared that panic because of the economic importance and the national-security importance of the domestic semiconductor industry. As the White House Science Council Panel on Semiconductors put it in 1987,

Semiconductor production and design technologies in use in the U.S. commercial sector flow into military production, rather than the reverse. Thus, maintaining a state-of-the-art industrial capability is a legitimate national security concern.... While our dependency on foreign sources is modest today, semiconductor manufacturing trends indicate that we will become highly dependent on foreign sources sooner rather than later.... U.S. semiconductor technology leadership is rapidly eroding and that this has serious implications for national security.1...

read more

6 Synthesis at the Center

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 185-220

In earlier chapters, I surveyed several research fields at the margins of the microelectronics industry—molecular electronics, Josephson computing, the academic microfabrication community—as though they were distinct lines of inquiry. And they were, mostly—there were only a few individuals who hopped among those fields. But industry observers who were trying to forecast the direction that microelectronics would take in the 1980s—journalists, public intellectuals, policy makers, etc. —often lumped these marginal activities into the same category. For instance, in reporting on Forrest Carter and Ari Aviram’s work on molecular electronics in the magazine Science in 1983, Arthur Robinson noted that...

read more

Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 221-226

This book’s narrative has traveled from the late 1950s to the early 2010s, with particular emphasis on the first thirty years of Moore’s Law (1965– 1995). Through a series of somewhat interconnected case studies, I have tried to show that during that period the microelectronics industry gave impetus to many large-scale changes in the conduct, the organization, the aims, and the tools of American science. Leaders of microelectronics firms intended to provoke some of those changes; others arose accidentally from the continual restructuring and globalization of a colossal and influential industry. In this epilogue, I will distill a few of the most important changes in American science between the era of student unrest in the late 1960s and the dot-com boom/bust, terror attacks, and wars of the early twenty-first century. The changes in American science that I enumerate were by no means due solely to the multi-faceted, propagating influence of the micro - electronics industry. Yet any attempt to understand these changes that fails to acknowledge the role of that industry will be lacking in explanatory purchase....

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 227-278

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 279-284

Inside Technology

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 285-288