A new type of memory and Stanford R. Ovshinsky

Here’s a great example of how great the internet is and I continue to wonder how I ever lived without tools like the web and Google. Talk about “a new type of memory.” (the web is a new type of memory too).

I just read this article: After 38 years, a new type of memory to hit market.

In reading it I noticed the term “Ovonics” in this quote:

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and the man for whom Moore’s Law was named, had an article in the September 28, 1970 issue of Electronics predicting that Ovonics Unified Memory, another name for the same type of memory, could hit the market by the end of that decade. (The same issue of Electronics also included this article: “The Big Gamble in Home Video Recorders.”)

A bit more searching (with some prior knowledge) led me to more.

Ovonics was a trade name for a company founded by the self-taught scientist Stanford R. Ovshinsky, one of my heros who has done extensive research on things like photovoltaic semiconductors, NIMH batteries, making electricity from waste heat in smokestacks, and much more, including the underlying technology used in this new memory, phase change memory which may, some day, replace the flash memory used to store images on cameras and is beginning to be used as solid state memory instead of hard disks in computers like the MacBook Air.

My late father and I held stock in Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) which turned into Ovonics because we were great fans of Ovshinsky. Unfortunately General Motors and other companies made life difficult for him (and ENER) because much of his research was to enable technologies that would lessen our need for petroleum based products. I hope this new memory does well and I know my father, wherever he is, will be pleased with Ovshinsky’s success.

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