From Radio Valves to Cosmic Communications


1. The reduction of radio instruments to miniature proportions and even smaller is a major trend in modern radio electronics. The significance of this research has grown especially in connection with space research. It is impossible to equip a rocket for flights to other worlds without light, small and economical electronic apparatuses. The space rockets will carry a large amount of miniature equipment, systems for contact with the Earth, radars, computers for calculating flight trajectories, life-support systems, etc.

2. Bulky electronic equipment will have no place in the future. It will be unsuitable for automation of production, transport or domestic use.

3.Semiconductors and printed circuits have helped to reduce the size of apparatus considerably. The semiconducting instruments which have replaced electronic valves are much smaller and lighter, consume less power, are reliable and more durable.

The development of micromodules tiny ceramic plates with a metallized coating has opened up big possibilities for making miniature electronic instruments. Semiconductors compressed into this plate are hundreds of times smaller than electronic valves. A radio receiver assembled of micromodules does not weigh more than 50 grammes.

4. Molecular electronics opens up new possibilities. The crystalline lattice can be changed by tantalum or titanium being added to semiconductors to obtain crystals with the required electrical properties.

At present, a radio-receiving set is assembled of separate, ordinary-size parts. The radio sets based on semiconductors or micromodules are also assembled of separate parts but tens and hundreds of times as small. The germanium or silicon plates will not operate like separate resistors or condensers, but as complete circuits as generators or amplifiers.

5. All this might sound fantastic, but a scientist is looking still further ahead. Present research programmes are taking the development of even more miniature parts. We can say that when superminiature elements are developed, it will become possible to place approximately 200 million of these "parts" within one cubic centimetre. The density is approximately that of the human brain.

6. Cybernetics machines assembled of these units will memorize tremendous volumes of information and will give man invaluable assistance in diverse fields of life.


III. Say where the reduction of radio instruments is especially significant.

IV.Find the information about semiconductor instruments.

V. Think of the most suitable title for paragraph 3 out of the given ones:



2.Semiconductor Devices a Big Step in the Direction of Miniaturization.

3.Steps of Miniaturization.


VI.Give reasons for the development of micromodules.


VII.Say what new possibilities molecular electronics opens up.


IX.Which paragraph contains the information directly connected with the title of the text. Render this information.


IX. Imagine that you are to make a report on the topic "Evolution of Electronics". Use the information of texts , and . The following plan is available:

1. The demands for reduction in size and weight of electronic equipment and components.

2. Transistors and semiconductor devices.

3. Printed circuits.

4. Micromodules.

5. Integrated circuits.



  1. B. Listen to part of a radio interview with a historian talking about Einstein. Then complete each sentence with a word or a short phrase. (Track 17, CD2)
  2. Channels of communications
  3. Communications
  4. Communications
  5. Developing the Telecommunications
  7. Lesson 20 Radiotelephone Procedure
  8. Lesson 29 Air Defense Materiel and Communications
  9. Radio antennas
  10. Radio Equipment
  11. Radio receivers

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