This semiconductor device replaced the function of the thermionic valve and has allowed, in combination with photolithography, the production of application specific integrated circuits (asics) which drive much of the modern world. Computers, mobile 'phones, digital cameras, engine management systems, radios, both analogue and digital, flat screen televisions, the remote control, ipods, hi fi systems and CD's, satellite navigation, cheap home printing, on-line consumerism, modern hospital diagnostics - e.g. magnetic resonance scanning, this very communication - you name it - all depend on it. Modern scientific advance has been accelerated beyond all imagination as a consequence - without it, no space programme, no Hadron Collider, no genetic sequencing - the list is literally endless. To try to imagine how different our world would be without it is almost impossible, but I am certain that no other device this small has had anything like as profound an impact on world history.