January, 1980

Optics and Electronics in China

P. K. Cheo

This is the third of the IEEE delegation teams to visit China since the normalization between the two nations. These exchanges are part of the transnational programs of the IEEE to establish technical relations with China for the purpose of cross-cultural exchange of technical information, to become familiar with the conditions under which the Chinese electronics engineering is practiced, and to help open avenues of improved communications between technical organizations among the two nations.

Alexander Graham Bell and the Photophone: The Centennial of the Invention of Light-Wave Communications, 1880-1980

The invention of light-wave communications in 1880 by Alexander Graham Bell and Sumner Tainter is reviewed. The events leading to the invention, the optimization of selenium detectors and the phenomenon of sound emission by substances illuminated by a concentrated beam of intermittent light, are discussed. Finally, attention is given to Bell's photophone papers and patents and the opinions of his contemporaries about the significance of the invention.

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