William Bradford Shockley
Born Feb 13 1910 - Died Aug 12 1989
Semiconductor Amplifier; Three-Electrode Circuit Element Utilizing Semiconductive Materials
Patent Number(s) 2,502,488; 2,524,035
Physicists John Bardeen, William B. Shockley, and Walter Brattain shared the 1956 Nobel Prize for jointly inventing the transistor, a solid-state device that could amplify electrical current. The transistor performed electronic functions similar to the vacuum tube in radio and television, but was far smaller and used much less energy.
The transistor became the building block for all modern electronics and the foundation for microchip and computer technology.
Shockley was born in London. He joined the technical staff of the Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1936 and there began experiments that led to the invention and development of the junction transistor. During World War II, he served as director of research for the Antisubmarine Warfare Operations Research Group of the U.S. Navy. After the war, he returned to Bell Telephone as director of transistor physics research. He was visiting professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, in 1954, and deputy director of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the Department of Defense in 1954-55. He joined Beckman Instruments Inc., to establish the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in 1955. In 1958 he became lecturer at Stanford University, California, and in 1963 became the first Poniatoff professor of engineering science at Stanford University.