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nonmetallic element, 1817, coined by British chemist Thomas Thomson from silica (silicon dioxide), from which it was isolated. The name is patterned on carbon, etc. Silicon chip first attested 1965; Silicon Valley for the Santa Clara Valley south of San Francisco, U.S., first attested 1974, from the concentration of manufacturers of silicon chips used in computers, watches, etc.
silicon sil·i·con (sĭl'ĭ-kən, -kŏn')
A nonmetallic element occurring extensively in the earth's crust in silica and silicates, having both an amorphous and a crystalline allotrope and used in glass and semiconducting devices. Atomic number 14; atomic weight 28.086; melting point 1,414°C; boiling point 3,265°C; specific gravity 2.33; valence 4.
A metalloid element that occurs in both gray crystalline and brown noncrystalline forms. It is the second most abundant element in the Earth's crust and can be found only in silica and silicates. Silicon is used in glass, semiconductors, concrete, and ceramics. Atomic number 14; atomic weight 28.086; melting point 1,410°C; boiling point 2,355°C; specific gravity 2.33; valence 4. See Periodic Table.