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Scientists Discover Secret of Martian 'Electronic Brains'

Wire News, October 27, 1919

Scientists at Stanford University in California have discovered the basic principles used by the Electronic Brains found in Martian machinery. It is believed that this will lead to similar electronic brains being made available for government and businesses within a decade.

Says Stanford professor Trevor Lickman; "There could be a market for as many as two or three hundred electronic computation devices a year."

The breakthrough in this new science (called 'electronics' by the Stanford professors) occurred when it was discovered that minute variations in the chemical composition of a substrate works in the same ways as an electronic vacuum tube, like those used in radio transceivers. "We found that slight adulterations in an electron permeable substance could make it act as an electronic valve," Lickman explains, "and the Martians would create many different adulterations in a surface, all connected with microscopic wires." This means that a chip of material the size of your little fingernail may contain the equivalent of hundreds, or even thousands, of radio tubes.

Stanford scientists, working with a grant from International Business Machines Inc, have already created working models of these solid 'electron valves' which reduce the size and power requirements over a vacuum tube by a hundred times. They hope to make the equivalent of the Martian 'solid circuits' within two years.

"We are still a long way from making machinery capable of running itself like the Martian digging machines," says Lickman, "but we could have automatic locomotives and self-guiding steamships within a decade or two."


3/20/2007, Jack William Bell. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Edit 1

Added coinage of the term 'electronics' and changed 'ships' to 'steamships'.

kelson.philo's picture

I have one teensy tidbit

I have one teensy tidbit that i would like to discuss, and that is when the term 'electronic was coined. "Electronics" magazine popularized the term in 1930.

The earliest vacuum tubes did come around 1915 or so for radio work, but as far as the term 'electronic' being in the main stream media of the day, i don't think that was until much later. So, what you have here is a chance to coin the term 'electronic' on an earlier timetable.

Good point

I think avoiding anachronisms is going to be difficult all around. I will leave this one for now, unless someone is able to suggest a suitable (and time appropriate) replacement.

kelson.philo's picture

I was thinking more your

I was thinking more your stanford scientists could coin the term for the masses with this article. It would have an almost steampunkish feel to it.

See Edit 1.

See Edit 1.

kelson.philo's picture

Reads great!

Reads great!