Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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In this modern world, nearly everyone has a computer. They use them for personal, job, and study purposes. People who use computers laptops and other electronics use computers for so much that if they were to be taken away, those who depend on electronics would be useless from lack of technology. Computers are so widely used the are one of the common house utensils. People use computers and know how to manipulate through the software, but do they know what makes a computer a computer? The Earth Science discovery of silicon and semiconductors helped in the creation of personal computer (PC's). Silicon is a semiconductor or metalloid, which conducts electricity better than things like wood or glass, but not as well as things like copper and silver. These properties make silicon and other semiconductors the target for computer manufactures. Why do these properties make silicon so great for computers? Unlike conductors that will send and conduct any electrical current uncontrollably whatsoever, electric current moving through silicon is easily manipulated so it can be shut off, turned on, and transfer computer code.

Silicon can be controlled with negative and positive charges coming from the main power source. A negative charge will repel the electrons into their atom shells, blocking the main charge, turning off the silicon chip. A positive flow then attracts the electrons out of their atom shells to let the electric current flow semi-freely, but it moves freely enough to control the current. Also the electric current does not move as freely as a conductor, therefore it can recognize negative current as zeroes (0), and positive current as ones (1), which is the computer code for processing software.

Computer owners' think that the inside of a computer is very complex, because of all the things that computers can do to help them do challenging things. They also think that all of the 3D games and other software on a PC are too complicated for a machine that is simply built, but a computer is built simply. A computer is built to send electrical charges along an abundant element, silicon.

Sources: World Book ™, Multimedia Encyclopedia ©, 2000 World Book, Inc, 23 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60601