The cryotron files : the untold story of Dudley Buck, Cold War computer scientist and microchip pioneer

The Overlook Press

Author Dey, Iain.
Description 288 pages, [8] pages plates
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 265-272) and index.
ISBN 9781468315776 :, 1468315773
Subject Computer scientists, Inventors, Cryotrons., Superconductors.
Location Main Adult Biography
Status Available


"Dr. Dudley Allen Buck was a brilliant young scientist and MIT professor who developed or invented everal pieces of now-common technology, most notably the cryotron, an early form of the microchip. Thought to be able to guide a new generation of intercontinental ballistic missiles to their targets, the cryotron attracted attention from around the world. Like his Nobel-winning colleagues, Buck might have benefited from his inventions, had he not died from a mysterious, sudden bout of pneumonia at the age of thirty-two--just weeks after a high-profile group of Soviet scientists visited his lab on a tour of the US. Buck was not the only scientist to die that day; his colleague Dr. Ridenour, chief scientist at Lockheed, was also found dead from similar causes. Were their deaths linked? Buck's lab books, diaries, correspondence, research papers, patent filings, and other recently discovered papers reveal his extensive career in clandestine government work that took him around the globe and behind the Iron Curtain for agencies including the NSA, putting him in contact with the Soviet Union's top computer scientists. Did Buck's pioneering work with microchips and his work for intelligence agencies make him a target of the KGB? Armed with this research, award-winning journalist Iain Dey tells with compelling immediacy the story of Dudley Buck's life and groundbreaking work, starting from his unconventional beginnings in California through his untimely death and beyond. The Cryotron Files is at once the gripping narrative history of America and its computer scientists during the Cold War and the dramatic personal story of rising MIT star Dudley Buck in the high-stakes days of spies, supercomputers, and the space and nuclear races."--Jacket.