[SIGCIS-Members] New sources in Russian/Soviet-era semiconductor history

Dag Spicer spicer at computerhistory.org
Fri Oct 18 16:02:44 PDT 2013

Dear SIGCIS Friends,

I'm delighted to report that CHM has today published a series of oral histories of Soviet-era semiconductor pioneers.  The interviews were conducted by CHM staff and have been translated from the Russian and transcribed for maximum usefulness.  The people interviewed represent the cream of the Soviet semiconductor establishment and include a Nobel Prize winner and a Lenin Prize winner.

Here is the series description:

These oral histories of Russian pioneers in microelectronics and computing technology offer a unique and fascinating insight into the development of these fields behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War and later. You can understand the mindset and outlook of those who helped lead these fields. For those in the west, it provides tremendous insight into the operations of the Soviet technical establishment, including how they viewed the west, and the US in particular, their dedication and allegiance to the Soviet system, the problems and challenges they had to deal with, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the Soviet “top down” system, vs. the free market system in the U.S. Included in their interviews is an in-depth view of how decisions were made, how the scientists regarded the US, and how they viewed their own country. These men worked extremely hard, were dedicated to serving their country above their careers, and made tremendous, often unappreciated, contributions to technology. There are even direct and personal comments about their knowledge of, and relationship with, two American defectors in the 1950s, Joel Barr and Alfred Sarant, who were known as Joseph Berg and Philip Staros, respectively within Russia. 

Beyond the Cold War, the interviews tell the tale of the wrenching changes induced by the fall of the Soviet Union, the resulting impact on the personal lives and technology development in Russia, and how they have slowly adapted to a totally different market and political reality. Together, these interviews confirm some commonly held views of the Soviet system, while turning others on their head. A must read for anyone interested in the true story of how Russian technology developed and evolved over the past 70 years.

To access these oral histories, go here: http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/catalog/102746740

Best wishes,

Dag Spicer
Senior Curator
Computer History Museum

1401 N. Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA  94043
650.810.1035 direct
650.810.1055 fax

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