A man who helped make our world smaller died last week. As noted in the New York Times obituary linked below, Norman Krim didn't invent the transistor, but he was a driving force behind its use, having persuaded his employer, Raytheon, to manufacture them on a large scale. They were designed for use in hearings aids initially but, as IEEE Spectrum's Harry Goldstein explains, some later batches proved too "noisy" for that purpose and wound up in the hands of hobbyists instead, who used them in a variety of electronic projects. Krim was also intent on making things smaller even before the transistor, and led a team at Raytheon in the late 1930s that developed miniaturized vacuum tubes for use in battery-powered radios. Later in his career, he was also involved the early days of the Radio Shack chain, buying two stores in Boston then expanding to seven before selling the business to the Tandy Corporation. He was 98.

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