• Conquering the Electron

  • The Geniuses, Visionaries, Egomaniacs, and Scoundrels Who Built Our Electronic Age
  • By: Derek Cheung, Eric Brach
  • Narrated by: Eric Jason Martin
  • Length: 14 hrs and 8 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (118 ratings)

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Conquering the Electron  By  cover art

Conquering the Electron

By: Derek Cheung,Eric Brach
Narrated by: Eric Jason Martin
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Publisher's summary

Conquering the Electron offers listeners a true and engaging history of the world of electronics, beginning with the discoveries of static electricity and magnetism and ending with the creation of the smartphone and the iPad. 

This book shows the interconnection of each advance to the next on the long journey to our modern-day technologies. Exploring the combination of genius, infighting, and luck that powered the creation of today's electronic age, Conquering the Electron debunks the hero worship so often plaguing the stories of great advances.

Want to know how AT&T's Bell Labs developed semiconductor technology - and how its leading scientists almost came to blows in the process? Want to understand how radio and television work - and why RCA drove their inventors to financial ruin and early graves? Conquering the Electron offers these stories and more, presenting each revolutionary technological advance right alongside blow-by-blow personal battles that all too often took place.

©2011 Derek Cheung and Eric Brach (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Conquering the Electron

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Tech, science, engineering & the people behind it.

Anyone looking for a well-narrated (Carl Sagan-esque) account of the history of modern tech, starting from Volta and Galvani, and ending with present-day bandgap engineering for LEDs, lasers, transistors and fiber-optics, as well as signals and systems, should find a lot of value in this book.

The main author, Derek Cheung, is an expert EE, and he presents a worthwhile dose of technical scientific and engineering details without cutting short the human element involved in R&D-to-market of mainstream technologies.

I rate this book on the same or higher level as Walter Isaacson's "The Innovators"; higher because Cheung successfully delivers technical scientific details that far surpass Isaacson's works.

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7 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Very thorough but a bit dry

The book was interesting but it's so excruciatingly detailed that it's probably not for the casual history reader. The narration was a bit flat but it improved at 1.15 speed.

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4 people found this helpful

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Absolutely electrifying and enlightening!

This literally goes from the ancients notice static electric fields in nature to fiberoptic internet and smartphones, detailing the lives of the people that got us there.

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3 people found this helpful

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absolutely amazing! one the best books ever!

absolutely amazing book and perfectly narrated! a subject that everyone should get closer to once so much of it affects our day to day life! wonderful!

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A great history of technology

The ideological masturbation in chapter 18 was jarring and unnecessary. But overall it was a great relatively easy to understand introduction to electronics technology through its history

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Excellent dive into the science of today's tec

In easy to understand language, the authors begin at the beginning of the research that has led to today's smartphones, computers, tablets and more. as an example, the TV technology that I grew up with in the 50s and 60s have a direct link to today's flat screen devices. Plus, they give a nuanced look at where the future might take us at the end of their great book. I recommend this book to anyone that ever wondered what's inside their smartphone or computer or ever wondered where this technology came from

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Great book

Nice progression through the history. Narration is also well done. Some very interesting stories and anecdotes.

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Engaging

A great general overview of how we got from the trying to understand magnetism to modern electronics.

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Historical & Scientific voyage perfection

The best part of this audio book is that the author Derek Chung's personal involvement as a participant in Silicon Valley. You get to walk with him as he helped develop part of the industry and technology that was created by the discovery of the electron. This is real factual history told by a man who was there. Eric Jason Martin is the narrator and does and excellent job of describing and enunciating all the technical details.
You get to meet all the famous and infamous personalities that gave us our current knowledge of the electron. Men like Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, Guglielmo Marconi, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and many others. You get to trace the very beginnings from the discovery of the electron, the first subatomic particle by professor J.J. Thomson in 1897. To our current technology today and all the pieces in between. This is a great audio book and just fun to listen to. I highly recommend this audio book if you enjoy learning.

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Overall, yes, five stars...

...altho with such a wide ranging book, is understandable some readers will find shortfalls.

The narration, as important as the story to a good audiobook, is clear, well paced and modulated, pleasant voiced.

Story begins as typical "stepping stone" recitation of discovery in magnetism and electricity. Entering the electronic age at end of 19th century, story broadens to include personalities of individuals and corporations. The separate steps of scientific and engineering advance through semiconductors, transistors, integrated circuits are well and thoroughly covered.

This book goes on my small list of re-listeners.

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  • kris clark
  • 08-19-23

boring writing style and Americanized

lasted 5 hours before I couldn't listen anymore. it has a simplistic and boring writing style. The narrator is trying to be carl sagen but without the wonder instilling enthusiasm. the book is a highly americanized butt kissing and back patting bore. example talks explicitly about Eddison and negates Tesla and calls him westinghouse. it is also business and economic oriented, science is a side note

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  • Nikolay
  • 02-14-23

Excellent!

an excellent book from an author who made a deep research in history and understands phydics

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  • Amdraz
  • 09-16-21

Absolutely outstanding

A thorough and detailed examination of the history, science and technology around humanities relationship with the electron. I listened at 1.1x playback speed as I found the narration a little too considered. Otherwise excellent.

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  • DRW
  • 04-19-21

Amazing

Brilliantly written, and clinically narrated. It just flowed and was very listenable.

There was an almost perfect mix of technical detail and storytelling.

Thank you!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-25-21

Amazing Book if you love IEEE

really interesting if you're in the industry. can be a bit dry at parts, but good depth of knowledge and overall very enjoyable

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