Stanford R. Ovshinsky, a self-taught, inventive genius who revolutionized the field of semiconductors, died of prostate cancer on Wednesday at the age of 89.
Though he never went to college, Ovshinsky invented the nickel-metal hybrid battery and helped develop solar energy panels, rewritable CDs, and flat-panel displays. The Economist once called him "the Edison of our age." He was an early advocate of alternative energy and was one of the first to champion hydrogen fuel cells as an alternative to the internal-combustion engine.
In April 1978, PopSci published a story about "Ovshinsky's strange devices": semiconductors made from glass that could overturn the rules of solid-state physics. Read on for an excerpt.
Read the full story in our April 1978 issue.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.