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Blogs - How much does the General Public  knows about

semiconductors and why this may be a problem?

How much does the General Public (GP) knows about semiconductors and why this may be a problem?

The silicon chips and the underlying MOS transistors are in the very heart of our economy and your society, perhaps, defining us more than anything else as humans today. But how much the General Public (GP) knows about this?


Do not take me wrong, the GP knows a lot. He/she knows a lot about the stars, the galaxies and the black holes from Prof. Brian Cox. He/she knows a lot about our planet, the animals and now about their mating habits from Sir David Attenborough. He/she knows a lot about art, paintings and the Sistine Chapel from Waldemar Januszczak. And, of course, he/she knows a lot about climate change from Greta Thunberg. All this is indeed very important.


But who is educating the GP about semiconductors, transistors, and chips? My guess is nobody.


Does the GP know that semiconductors, transistors, silicon chips are in the heart of every smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop and power-hungry data centre? Without them there will be no internet, world wide web, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, digital economy, or online shopping.


Does the GP know how the silicon chips are manufactured? Does he/she know that chip manufacturing is perhaps most complex manufacturing ever? Does he/she know that semiconductor plants are perhaps the most expensive plants to build in the world. Does he/she know that most of the chip manufacturing plants are in the Far East and therefore most of the chips are manufactured not in Europe or in the US but there. Does he/she understand that currently we critically depend on the chip manufacturing that happens mostly somewhere else in the world?


Our western governments now realise that it is very precarious to depend on semiconductor manufacturing that happens in regions and countries that may become out of our reach and influence. Our western governments now realise that something needs to be done very urgently in Europe and in US about this and that this perhaps will cost a lot of money to the taxpayers. But how they can convince the GP if he/she knows very little about semiconductors, microelectronics and their importance?


The smart phone that controls our life is packed with silicon chips

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