From 1943 to 1987, Jerome
Kurshan worked at the RCA Laboratories (now known as the David Sarnoff
Research Center). He held a variety of management positions at the Labs
over this 44 year period. Dr.
Kurshan initially was involved in vacuum tube research, but quickly began
basic research in the new and exciting semiconductor field in 1948. As described in this Oral History, he
was responsible for assembling the first RCA transistor. He continued research work at the Labs
for many years, and his work has been recognized in numerous venues,
including 16 patents, a Citation for WWII Wartime Contributions by the
Office of Scientific Research and Development, Chairman of the Princeton IRE,
Life Senior IEEE Member, Life Member of the American Physical Society and a
Citation in American Men and Women in Science.
Oral History – Jerome Kurshan
This Oral History Developed in
my Ph.D. in Physics from Cornell in June 1943 and immediately went to work
for RCA which had opened its new research laboratory in Princeton, NJ nine
months before. A factor in my
decision was that my advisor at Cornell, Prof. Lloyd P. Smith, was a
consultant to RCA Laboratories during those ongoing World War II
years. He was actually spending
more time there than at the University.
I immediately got involved in electron tube research. My laboratory director, Edward W.
Herold, had one of the keenest minds I have ever encountered and had me
working at first on novel electron
tube developments, one of which was patented.
Researchers in the field would
conduct an annual Electron Tube Conference in the summer, each year on a
different university campus. In
1948, about a week after the conference, which I had attended, Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley of Bell
Telephone Laboratories.announced the invention of the transistor in an item
in the New York Times.
To Kurshan Oral History, Page 2
Shown to the
left is a scan of one of the sixteen patents granted to Jerome Kurshan, and
dates to the earliest days of transistor development. RCA was second only to Bell Labs in the
number of transistor related patents during the 1940s and 1950s, indicating
a strong commitment to basic semiconductor research.