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This Week in Tech History: Nuclear Power is Born

A new television system was patented, the transistor was invented and nuclear power made its debut … It all happened This Week in Tech History.

This week in 1938 – Vladimir Zworykin of Wilkinsburg, PA patented the iconoscope television system. This was the first fully electronic system to replace the older mechanical systems that used spinning disks to capture light from a single very bright spot.

1947 – The transistor was invented. In its original form, the transistor wasn’t the tiny silicon component we know today. It took up a lot of space in the lab in New Jersey where it was invented. Today, thousands of transistors can be packed into an incredibly minute space and used in every electronic application you can think of.

1951 – EBR-I (Experimental Breeder Reactor-I) ushered in a new era in nuclear history when it became the first reactor to generate useable amounts of electricity from nuclear energy. It accomplished this feat by lighting four light bulbs this day at the National Reactor Testing Station of Argonne National Laboratory, Butte County, Idaho.

And this week in 1968 –The crew of Apollo 8 entered into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed ten lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures.

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Written by Chris Graveline

Chris has covered consumer technology for over 20 years. He is the host of This Week in Tech History as well as a regular co-host on "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" and our Technical Director.

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