Jeffrey LewisVacuum Tubes for Chu

As Kingston over at Nukes of Hazard notes, the folks at the Kansas City Plant presented Secretary of Energy Steven Chu with a little plaque showing “1960s-era vacuum tubes from the B61 radars” and “RF-IC based multi-chip module for the next generation radar applications.”

Vacuum tubes, and their misuse as an RRW talking point, have been recurring subjects here at Arms Control

I know what you’re thinking: Forget the nerd, I want a close up of that plaque with the tubes and chips.

Here you go, from the NNSA Flickr set:


  1. Stephen Schwartz (History)

    Reminds me of the time I gave a talk in Amarillo to a group of Pantex activists and was presented with a mounted selection of declassified parts from dismantled warheads that are routinely sold for scrap at auction. No vacuum tubes, however.

  2. anon

    I can only guess that they did not talk about the VT’s in the physics package because it’s still highly classified?

  3. Azr@el (History)

    To correct Energy Sec Chu, Bell Labs did not invent the transistor, that honour rest with Julius Edgar Lilienfeld, an Austro-Hungarian physicist who invented the MesFet and MosFet in 1925 and 1928 respectfully. When Brattain, Bardeen and Shockley of Bell Labs attempted to patent their device, their claims in great measure were rejected due to Lilienfeld’s preexisting state of the art. Bell Labs were forced to use an inferior transistor technology to get around Lilienfeld’s patents, i.e. the bipolar junction transistor, which has now been largely superseded by Lilienfeld’s MosFets. Bell Labs can claim credit for many great accomplishments during their run but the invention of transistor does not number amongst them.

  4. anon1

    anon: to replace vacuum tubes anywhere, even the phys. package would not require a redesign of the phys. package. you had better hope it does not becuase if we have an untested new phys package that can hardly be a better deterrent than the ones we have. anyway, vacuum tubes are hardier devices than ICs, so it may make sense that we hang on to those.

  5. — anon · Nov 5, 02:09 PM ·

    — anon1 · Nov 5, 05:39 PM ·

    My attempt at humor has obviously failed miserbly 🙂