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Lee De Forest

Lee De Forest (1873 - 1961) was an American inventor. Born in Iowa, Lee De Forest's father accepted the position of President of Talladega College[?] (a Black school) in Alabama, where Lee spent most of his young life. De Forest went on to obtain his PhD from the Sheffield School of Science at Yale University. As an inquisitive inventor, he tapped into the electrical system at Yale one evening and completely blacked out the campus, leading to his suspension. However, he was eventually allowed to complete his studies.

De Forest obtained his degree in 1899 and was interested in wireless telegraphy which led to his invention of the audion tube[?] in 1906. The audion tube is a vacuum tube which allowed for voice amplification for radio reception. De Forest said he didn't know why it worked, it just did.

He went on to lead the first radio broadcasts of music (featuring opera star Enrico Caruso) and many other events but could receive little backing. In the early 1920s, he invented talking movies but could interest no one in Hollywood in his invention at the time.

He sold one of his radio manufacturing firms in 1931 to RCA. He died in Hollywood in 1961.

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