James M. Early

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James M. Early
Born(1922-07-25)July 25, 1922
DiedJanuary 12, 2004(2004-01-12) (aged 81)

James M. Early (July 25, 1922 – January 12, 2004) was an American engineer, best known for his work on transistors and charge-coupled device imagers. He is also known as Jim Early.


He was born on July 25, 1922 in Syracuse, New York.

The Early effect in bipolar junction transistors is named after Jim Early, who first characterized it and published a paper on it in 1952.[1] The Early effect in bipolar junction transistors is due to an effective decrease in the base width because of the widening of the base-collector depletion region, resulting in an increase in the collector current with an increase in the collector voltage. The same type of length modulation in MOSFETs is also commonly referred to as Early effect.

Early was the first to make a transistor that would oscillate faster than "a thousand megacycles" (1 GHz), circa 1952, for which feat he won a bottle of Scotch whisky from John Robinson Pierce.

He also developed the transistors for America's first commercial communications satellite, the Telstar I.[2]

In the early 1970s, Early led research for Fairchild Semiconductor, where he invented the vertical anti-blooming drain for CCD image sensors.

He died on January 12, 2004 at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in Palo Alto, California.[3]


  1. ^ J.M. Early, "Effects of space-charge layer widening in junction transistors", Proc. IRE, vol. 40, pp. 1401-1406 (1952).
  2. ^ Early, James M. (1990). "Telstar I - Dawn of a New Age". Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation. Retrieved 11 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Pioneering engineer and inventor James Early dies". Associated Press. January 13, 2004. Retrieved 2012-09-25. James M. Early, an electrical engineer and inventor best known for his pioneering work with transistors, has died. He was 81. Early died Monday at a veteran's hospital in Palo Alto.

External links[edit]

  • Memorial page at Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation