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Pierce, John R

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1910-2002) US scientist, musician and author, father of the sf critic John J Pierce. As scientist he was employed by Bell Telephone Laboratories from 1936 to 1971, becoming Director of Electronics Research 1952-1958 and Research Director of Communications Principles from 1958, working intimately at the forefront of communications research and development; in early 1948 he coined the term "transistor", which had been developed at Bell Labs. Between 1971 and 1982, he was professor of engineering at the California Institute of Technology, from which he had received his PhD in 1936. From 1983, he served as visiting professor of music at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics.

As a writer, Pierce published fourteen nonfiction works, both specialized and popular, from Theory and Design of Electron Beams (1949; rev 1954) to Almost All about Waves (1974). As an sf writer he published work under his own name, as John Roberts and as J J Coupling, beginning with "The Relics from the Earth" for Wonder Stories in March 1930 under his own name. A notable story with the Pierce byline is "Invariant" (April 1944 Astounding), logically arguing that the price of Immortality is Amnesia. He remains best known under the Coupling pseudonym, contributing between 1944 and 1971 a number of nonfiction articles under that name to Astounding. [JC/DRL]

see also: Time Viewer.

John Robinson Pierce

born Des Moines, Iowa: 27 March 1910

died Mountain View, California: 2 April 2002


nonfiction (selected)


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