Lee Forest

Updated: 12/01/2019 by Computer Hope
Lee Forest

Name: Lee de Forest

Born: August 26, 1873, in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Death: June 30, 1961 (Age: 87)

Computer-related contributions

  • American inventor who invented the Audion, a vacuum tube that takes relatively weak electrical signals and amplifies them. The Audion was the fastest electronic switching element of the time, and was later used in early digital electronics (such as computers).
  • Invented the triod which was vital in the development of transcontinental telephone communications, radio, and radar.
  • Credited with one of the principal inventions that brought sound to motion pictures.
  • One of the fathers of the "electronic age," as the Audion helped to usher in the widespread use of electronics.

Significant publications

  • Father of Radio (1950).

Honors and awards

  • IRE Medal of Honor (1922).
  • Franklin Institute's Elliott Cresson Medal (1923).
  • Edison Medal of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (1946).
  • Academy Award for bringing sound to the motion picture (1950).


"So I repeat that while theoretically and technically Television may be feasible, yet commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility; a development of which we need not waste little time in dreaming."

"I foresee great refinements in the field of short-pulse microwave signaling, whereby several simultaneous programs may occupy the same channel, in sequence, with incredibly swift electronic communication. Short waves will be generally used in the kitchen for roasting and baking, almost instantaneously." (1952)


Fifteen years after the above quote, in 1967, the Amana Corporation introduced the countertop microwave oven.