Solid state physics 1900-1980
In the international scene, the first major steps in solid state physics after 1900 were Einstein's explanation of the data on photoelectric effect and his theory of specific heat. Subsequent important developments were: X-ray crystallography: thermionic emission and the vacuum tube; application of quantum mechanics to solid state physics problems; invention of the television, the transistor and the computer; neutron diffraction; solid state electronics for space science; theories of superfluidity and superconductivity; materials science, specially of amorphous materials; microelectronics; solid state lasers and fibre optics; ultrahigh vacuum and ultralow temperature.
We review the corresponding Indian developments. The time scale of the growth in Indian science and technology is examined. While the lag in scientific studies with respect to the developed countries is generally diminishing, that in technology, especially high technology, is not. Some reasons are discussed.
It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that solid state technology-the radio using the vacuum tubes and later the transistor and the television, now with colour -is crucial in generating social consciousness. The computer revolution already under way and the revolution in communication based on fibre optics are going to transform the cultural ethos of the people even more in the foreseeable future.
Indian Journal of History of Science, Vol. 27, no. 4 (1992).