The awkwardly named “charge coupled device” or CCD has probably been the most important technical invention in astronomy since the telescope itself. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the CCD in science and astronomy. It has literally made it possible for us to understand the universe.
So it is freaking awesome that the 2 fellows who invented the CCD were just given the Nobel Prize in Physics!
Working at Bell Labs in New Jersey in 1969, Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith built the first CCD (Charge-Coupled Device). Using the photoelectric effect theorized by Albert Einstein, the sensor transforms light into electric signals. The team’s major hurdle was determining how to gather and read out those signals into a large number of pixels in a short burst of time.
Congratulations, gentlemen, and thank you!