Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Robert G. Arns


Julius E. Lilienfeld filed for patents for three different designs for solid-state amplifying devices between 1926 and 1928, well before Bell Lab's discovery of the point-contact transistor in 1948. The American Physical Society named a prize in honor of Lilienfeld after receiving a substantial sum of money in 1982 from the will of his wife, Beatrice Lilienfeld, who believed her husband had not received sufficient credit for his scientific contributions. In order to investigate Lilienfeld's contribution to early efforts to replace the vacuum triode, we present the history surrounding these efforts, contributions and limitations of Lilienfeld's work, and details of our own experiments to recreate one of Lilienfeld's patents. Experimental results suggest that it is likely Lilienfeld indeed built and tested his devices, doing more than simply patenting an idea.

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