William Shockley

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William Bradford Shockley Jr. (February 13, 1910 – August 12, 1989) was an American physicist and inventor. Along with John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain, Shockley co-invented the transistor, for which all three were awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Shockley's attempts to commercialize a new transistor design in the 1950s and 1960s led to California's "Silicon Valley" becoming a hotbed of electronics innovation. In his later life, Shockley was a professor at Stanford and became a staunch advocate of eugenics.[1]



Early years

Shockley was born in London, England to American parents, and raised in his family's hometown of Palo Alto, California. His father, William senior, was a mining engineer who speculated in mines for a living, and spoke eight languages. His mother, Mary, grew up in the American West, graduated from Stanford University, and became the first female US Deputy mining surveyor.[2]

He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1932. While still a student, Shockley married Iowan Jean Bailey in August 1933. In March 1934 Jean had a baby girl, Alison.

Shockley was awarded his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1936. The title of his doctoral thesis was Electronic Bands in Sodium Chloride, and was suggested by his thesis advisor, John C. Slater. After receiving his doctorate, he joined a research group headed by Clinton Davisson at Bell Labs in New Jersey. The next few years were productive ones for Shockley. He published a number of fundamental papers on solid state physics in Physical Review. In 1938, he got his first patent, "Electron Discharge Device" on electron multipliers.

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