The Missing Memristor: Novel Nanotechnology or rather new Case Study for the Philosophy and Sociology of Science?

Por • 30 may, 2012 • Sección: Educacion

Sascha Vongehr

Abstract: In 2008, it was widely announced that the missing memristor, a basic two-terminal electrical circuit element, had finally been discovered. The memristor is the fourth and last such circuit element and thus completes circuit theory. Predicted already in 1971, the eventual discovery of something seemingly so basic needed almost 40 years. However, this discovery is doubted. The predicted memristor has no material memory and is based on magnetic flux, but the discovered devices constitute analogue memory storage that do not involve magnetism. The person who originally proposed the memristor did not reject the discovery but instead changed his mind about what a memristor is. We briefly introduce the history and then carefully memristance and the memristor as such. We discuss its status as a model rather than a device. We discuss the discovered devices, their stability, and how stability relates to the consistency of the theoretical entities. A thought experiment assumes a world without magnetism. Inductors cannot exist there, but memory resistors could still be constructed. On the same grounds as the memristor was historically predicted, an «inductor» could then be predicted. Likely, somebody would also ‘discover’ one. A tentative sociological analysis compares to the flawed detection of gravitational waves but comes to very different conclusions.

arXiv:1205.6129v1 [physics.gen-ph]

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