Difference between revisions of "Harold Black"

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Harold Black is most well-known for his invention of the [https://patents.google.com/patent/US2102671 negative feedback amplifier], considered one of the most important inventions in 20th century electronics. He invented it on August 2nd, 1927, just 6 years out of college, as a Bell Labs engineer. He had been on the project since 1925 when the problem was identified with amplification of long range telecommunications. His invention allowed the Bell system to reduce overcrowding of lines and extend its long-distance network by means of carrier telephony. It enabled the design of accurate fire-control systems in World War II, and it formed the basis of early operational amplifiers, as well as precise, variable frequency audio oscillators.
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==== Biography ====
Harold Black was born on April 14th, 1898, in Leominster, Massachusetts, and received his first degree at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), followed by a B.S.S in Electrical Engineering from WPI in 1921. He joined Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of AT&T, then joined Bell Labs in 1925. That year he began work on the problem of removing distortions in long-range telecommunications, which were introduced due to strong amplification. He solved the problem in 1927 with the idea of a negative feedback amplifier; he discovered that if a portion of an amplifier's output were fed back into the amplifier in negative phase (opposed to his previous idea of a feed-forward amplifier), the inverted distortions would cancel out the distortions introduced by the amplifier. This soon led to AT&T's testing of a negative feedback amplifier in a nine-channel carrier system it was developing for transcontinental voice calling.
He remained a member of technical staff at Bell Labs until his retirement in 1963. He was continually honored for his important invention. In 1958, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers awarded Dr. Black the Lamme Medal, one of the highest engineering honors. In addition he receive the John H. Potts Memorial Award of the Audio Engineering Society, the John Price Wetherill Award of the Franklin Institute and a Certificate of Appreciation from the War Department.
In 1981, Dr. Black entered the National Inventors Hall of Fame at the Patent and Trademark Office in Arlington, Va. He started writing his autobiography with a tentative title of "Before the Ferry Docket," but he died on December 11th, 1983, at age 85, before he could finish it
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Latest revision as of 16:35, 4 December 2019