Biography of the electron

2006 Science and Public Policy  
Books opportunities for some of the companies to grow with the demand for specific electronic components in avionics and other applications. The demanding specifications for high reliability and challenging new applications spurred innovation in a community that relished a technological challenge. The solution to key process difficulties could signify the difference between rapid growth and success or going out of business. However, the requirement for electronic devices by the military
more » ... he military suffered very severe fluctuations to which not all companies were able to adjust. Thus companies were equally as motivated to innovate for the military as to become independent of such contracts. Identifying new applications and forms of industrial cooperation were conceived as a means to address these market conditions. Finally, the story of Silicon Valley is a compelling story of human personalities, some of whom are already American cultural icons. Others are not so well known by non-specialists but certainly have stories, captivating beyond the recognition of the importance of their role in the evolution of technology and its economic impact. In this, the author has made good choices, portraying these individuals in their context and supplying enough attention to their personal and professional dreams and disappointments to make it an attractive narrative. The final sentence of the book captures the overall argument in a nutshell: "Manufacturing districts grow and thrive only so long as they remain communities of learning, practice and collaboration". This is a tad romantic if we remind ourselves of some of the episodes of ruthless competition, labor conflict, bureaucratic imposition, borderline intellectual property practices and so forth. However, it succeeds in showing the significance of knowledge flows even when they can be turbulent.
doi:10.1093/spp/33.9.695 fatcat:tcusyk76u5eapkejuzuk4l4rva