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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Old Tools. Great Things.

Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
4:41 am

Quickly – do you know the answers to these little trivia questions?

1. How
many transistors were in the radio in the X-1 rocket plane that first broke
the sound barrier?

2. Did
Fairchild or Texas Instruments make the integrated circuits aboard the United
States’s first Explorer satellite?

3. Did
Hewlett Packard or Texas Instruments make the scientific pocket calculators
that Apollo engineers used to put a man on the moon?

The answers? All three were trick questions.

  1. None. It was a tube radio.
    Chuck Yeager
    flew the X-1 to break the sound barrier on October
    14, 1947
    . The first workable transistor was made on December
    23, 1947
  2. Neither. There were no integrated circuits on the Explorer satellite when
    it went into orbit on January
    31, 1958
    . IC’s weren’t invented until 1959
    and not commercially available until 1961.
  3. Neither. Apollo engineers used

    slide rules
    to put

    Neil Armstrong
    on the moon on July
    20, 1969
    . HP introduced the first scientific pocket calculator, the HP35,
    on February 1, 1972.

The moral – Don’t wait for future innovation to exercise your ingenuity, imagination and creative drive to do great things.


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