Walter H. Brattain
Born Feb 10 1902 - Died Oct 13 1987
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.
Brattain was born in Amoy, China. Upon receiving his doctorate in 1929, he became a research physicist for Bell Telephone Laboratories. His chief field of research involved investigations into the surface properties of solids, particularly the atomic structure of a material at the surface, which usually differs from its atomic structure in the interior. He became adjunct professor at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, in 1967. He was granted a number of patents and wrote extensively on solid state physics.