Info & Syllabus

MIT IAP 2024

Course Info

  • Level: U
  • Units: 1-0-5
  • Prereqs: 6.2000 (6.002) or permission of instructor
  • Class Website:
  • Instructor: Joseph Steinmeyer ( , Senior Lecturer, EECS
  • Schedule: January 9 – February 1
    • Lecture: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:30-4, room 34-304
    • Office hours: Wednesday & Friday, 2:00-5:00, room 34-530 back right corner (6.310 space near my office (38-583)
    • Lab hours: Lab open every weekday 9am-5pm in IAP as well. Work whenever you want.
  • Description: This class will study early electronics with a focus on vacuum tubes, early semiconductors, and other adjacent topics. While a largely technical class, we'll also look at some social aspects of these technologies. We will have lectures with accompanying readings, some technical and some more literary or in other disciplines. There will be lab exercises available to explore and build some circuits. Circuits will be kept below 30V for safety. Some familiarity with circuits and circuit theory(6.2000/6.002) is assumed, and if you're just starting out, I can try to help fill in some gaps, time-permitting. There are no homeworks/psets. There are no exams. The class is meant to be fun and low-pressure.

Two lectures every week and a lab or two where you build something. A tentative schedule of topics and things is below:


  • Week 1 (Lectures 1,2): Detectors, Diodes, Non-Linearity:
    • Lab 1A: Electromechanical Amplifier
    • Lab 1B: Germanium Crystal FM radio receiver
  • Week 2 (Lectures 3,4): Vacuum Tubes
    • Lab 2A: Biasing a Tube, Getting Some Gain
    • Lab 2B: Low-Voltage Tube Audio Amplifier
  • Week 3 (Lectures 5,6): More Tubes and then Early Transistors:
    • Lab 3A: Tube Ring Oscillator
    • Lab 3B: Germanium Transistor Amplifier
  • Week 4 (Lectures 7,8): Early Transistors Continued, Early Computers
    • Lab 4A: RTL Three-Input NOR Gate
    • Lab 4B: DTL FlipFlop