An early version of the magnetron oscillator, the first device capable of producing very high power at microwave frequencies, is built, allowing great advances in radar technology.
Mathematical chemist Lars Onsager provides a solution to the two-dimensional Ising model that accurately predicts the behavior of a magnet.
The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC), the world's first electronic computer, is completed, three years after building was begun.
A team of physicists employed at the Bell Telephone Laboratories invent the transistor, an electronic device composed of a semiconductor and at least three electrodes that is chiefly used for amplification or switching. The transistor subsequently begins to replace vacuum tubes in electronics.
American physicists Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger independently formulate a theory of quantum electrodynamics that merges quantum mechanics with Albert Einstein's special theory of relativity. At approximately the same time, the equivalent theory of Japanese physicist Tomonaga Shin'ichiro, which was published several years earlier in Japan, gains international attention.
"The Bing Crosby Show" becomes the first radio program broadcast from magnetic tape.
The first observation of magnetic domains by the Kerr effect is reported.
The Phillips Company announces the development of barium- and strontium-based ceramic magnets.
American physicist Donald Glaser builds the first working bubble chamber, a radiation detection device that enables the observation of the paths of subatomic particles.
At Bell Laboratories Calvin Fuller, Daryl Chapin and Gerald Pearson invent the first solar battery, which converted about 6 percent of sunlight into electricity and was used to power a radio transmitter during its first public demonstration.
For the first time on a large scale, radioactive materials are utilized as fuel to generate electricity when the first commercial nuclear power station, Calder Hall, is established in England.
The Shippingport Atomic Power Station opens in Pennsylvania, the first civilian nuclear power plant in the U.S.