In today’s obituaries, we have Willard Boyle, one of the inventors of the CCD, which makes digital cameras possible. I believe that this ranks right up with the invention of tortilla chips or instant ramen noodles. This has enabled an entire generation to post endless streams of Facebook profile pictures. And as is often the case, they didn’t set out to invent the thing they invented:
In the fall of 1969, Boyle and his co-laureate, George E. Smith, both of them at Bell Laboratories, gathered in Boyle’s office after lunch to think about ways to develop a new memory device for computers. Within an hour, they had come up with the rudiments of the CCD.
And this is why we need places like Bell Labs, where scientists can just play around to see what they come up with.
Read the whole story here: