When was the beginning of the Silicon Age? Is this an appropriate term?


Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
The age of information, or age of the Integrated Circuits, are some of the names of the current age.
The Silicon Age is used because many of the electronics are dependent on silicon.
Smart phones are beyond the range of time; then, the beginning of the Silicon Age should be well before 1991.
How did the Silicon Age begin?
How did silicon become the material of choice for electronics?


Forum Staff
Oct 2011
Italy, Lago Maggiore
In Italy we do prefer "Age of Information Technology" [or simply Age of Information], even if the definition "Age of Silicon" is correct: also in the early transistors there was a semiconductor material. And usually it was silicon.

Why silicon? Because it is present in great quantity on the planet, it's economical and it's a good semiconductor [better if "drugged"].


Forum Staff
Aug 2016
Information Age is more common. Silicon is more consistent with the progression: Stone, Bronze, Iron...Silicon, but Stone, Bronze, and Iron are prehistoric. I guess Silicon makes sense if you're an archeologist and are focused on the objects that people make and not on documents.

The Information or Silicon Age began with the earliest computers - Turing machines perhaps although there are arguments for earlier computers.


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
PNP junction devices were produced around the 1950 , three researchers from Bell labs got the Nobel prize for it in 1956
this was to break free from the vacuum tube technology which had many limitations
the first one was the Shockley diode , developed by William Shockley one of the Nobel winning team

it was a revolution , much lower power consumption , robustness and ability to be mass produced ,
the PN junctions devices fooled around with Germanium at first until Silicium swept all before it

it merged with the printed circuit , developed at first for proximity fuses during WW2 as a winning combination
no more soldering links on devices on which one could fry toast such was their power inefficiency

the first global application was the "transistor radio " which made music transportable
a new generation could listen to rock and roll away from parents

at first limited in its gross power output ( PN junction care not about heat ) it eventually pushed the Vacuum tubes into very marginal use and extinction by the turn of the millennium

the last tube I worked with was a foot across monster used to provide the power for an X ray spectrometer , it took a whole room
ten years later it was a hand held device working from AA cells