The reason we hear about semiconductors in the news is due to the shortage of semiconductor chips. Semiconductors are materials that have properties that are essential in most electronic devices.
Silicon is the most widely used semiconductor. It is an element and is often produced by heating silicon dioxide (sand!) at very high temperatures, along with many other processing steps. China has the most silicon globally, and over 150 US industries use semiconductors in their products. It is required for electronics such as personal computers, televisions, smartphones, digital cameras, transistors, and vehicles, which are now staples of our higher-tech lives.
Most car and computer manufacturers canceled semiconductor chip orders during earlier months of the pandemic, believing that the demand was substantially lower. The manufacture of semiconductors chips requires precision and consistency. Experts explain that these particular materials must be produced every day, every month, to create 1.5 billion smartphones every year, along with all the other devices.
We rely on precious resources for the technologies we enjoy and need. Populations of people have expanded human “needs” from mother earth, which began with air, water, food, energy, building materials (shelter), and clothing. The earth is the source of all of these wondrous materials.
What resources from Mother Nature do you treasure and protect? Are you doing your best to reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle as many resources as possible? “Praised be my Lord for our mother the Earth, which sustains us and keeps us, and yields divers fruits, and flowers of many colors, and grass.” St. Francis.
Julie Peller Ph.D. is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ) and she leads the Environmental Ministry at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage IN. Julie has been writing a weekly column for church bulletins for the past ~6 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are in Advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water, and sediment contaminants), student and citizen participation in environmental work