I’d say that the invention of the transistor must be one of the defining moments for solid-state physics. I’ve often wondered if the scientists responsible for the transistor had even begun to imagine the scale and influence of the electronics industry that their breakthrough would spawn.
Sharon Ann Holgate is a freelance science writer and broadcaster and winner of the Institute of Physics Young Professional Physicist of the Year award. View her website here.
She is author of Solid State Physics: An Accessible Introduction for Undergraduates (buy this book from Amazon(UK))