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During the second half of the last century solid state physics and materials science experienced a great advance and established itself as an important and independent new field. In addition to X-ray diffraction, new analytical tools such as neutron diffraction, electron microscopy, different versions of mechanical scanning techniques, and scanning electron and laser microscopy became available. Material fatigue, radiation damage, and the preparation of single crystals developed into important subjects. The invention of the transistor represented perhaps the ultimate highlight.