Science: Little Brain Cell

Vacuum tubes are the brain cells of modern technology. Each year, as machines take on more complex jobs, more & more vacuum tubes are needed. But they are tricky to manufacture: they are usually both bulky and fragile. They have to warm up before they can start operating, and they need a continuous current to keep their filaments hot. The men who design electronic nervous systems would like a vacuum tube without these faults.

Last week Bell Telephone Laboratories demonstrated a small, simple device that can do many of the jobs now done by...

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