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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Charged-Coupled Device?

Well what is? A charged-couple device, CCD, is what won the Nobel Prize for physics today for three scientist who worked at Bell Labratories in the United States. It is a semi-conductor curcuit which changed light into a transmittable signal.

This little device has transformed our lives. On a personal level it has made the digital camera possible, instant photography without film. It also has made possible the great quality of the awe inspiring pictures from the Hubble Telescope from deep in space, which we would not see otherwise. Likewise, the pictures from the Mars Rover were made possible. Without it we would not have such realistic pictures of the planet Mars. There are other uses in science for this device and more being worked out, yet.

Congratulations to the three scientists that are sharing the Nobel Prize for Physics for this work:
W.S. Boyle, George E. Smith, and Charles Kao. W.S. Boyle is a Canadian. He makes us proud.
I heard him and his wife of 65 years interviewed on the radio today. A humble man he is. He said he thought at first when he got the call from Sweden someone was playing a joke on him. He also said not all things developed from his creation of the CCD is necessarily good. He thought a telephone that can take pictures was not a very admirable item.

Charles Kao also is responsible for fibre optics which makes broadband internet connections possible. How great is that.

Sometimes basic physics is rather esoteric and not always easily understood as affecting our lives. In this case, it has enriched our lives in so many ways.


At 10:52 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--I heard a story about the work that garnered these scientists the Nobel Prize. As I drove home from teaching, I had the car radio tuned to NPR--the best radio news source I have access to in the U.S. They did an extended story on the CCD and on fiber optics--the other physics prize (I believe it was physics).
Stuff like this fascinates me, though I never took a physics course.
You are so right that these inventions changed our daily lives--digital photography is something we now take for granted.
I do have an SLR camera in my closet that still uses old style film--but I haven't used it in years.

At 7:53 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I have one of those too KGM.

At 1:34 p.m., Blogger Rachel said...

It's amazing how these inventions have changed how we live and things we take for granted nowadays, especially the younger generation. I admire those who can invent things like this. It is all so 'over my head' to understand it, but it sure is awesome!

At 6:41 a.m., Blogger Cathy said...

Hello there
I always go away from your blog having learn't something Phillip
A couple of Australians also scored prizes in the medical field this week but I (hanging headin shame) can't remember what for:((
Take care

At 12:50 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

He truly changed the world. :)


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