Shockley, William Bradford

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b. 13 February 1910 London, England
d. 12 August 1989, Palo Alto, California, USA.
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American physicist who developed the junction transistor from the point contact transistor and was joint winner (with John Bardeen and Walter H. Brattain) of the 1956 Nobel Prize for physics.
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The son of a mining engineer, Shockley graduated from the California Institute of Technology in 1932 and in 1936 obtained his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In that year, he joined the staff of Bell Telephone Laboratories.
Since the early days of radio, crystals of silicon or similar materials had been used to rectify alternating current supply until these were displaced by thermionic valves or tubes. Shockley, with Bardeen and Brattain, found that crystals of germanium containing traces of certain impurities formed far better rectifiers than crystals of the material in its pure form. The resulting device, the transistor, could also be used to amplify the current; its name is derived from its ability to transfer current across a resistor. The transistor, being so much smaller than the thermionic valve which it replaced, led to the miniaturization of electronic appliances. Another advantage was that a transistorized device needed no period of warming up, such as was necessary with a thermionic valve before it would operate. The dispersal of the heat generated by a multiplicity of thermionic valves such as were present in early computers was another problem obviated by the advent of the transistor.
Shockley was responsible for much development in the field of semiconductors. He was Deputy Director of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the US Department of Defense (1954–5), and in 1963 he was appointed the first Poniatoff Professor of Engineering Science at Stanford University, California. During the late 1960s Shockley became a controversial figure for expressing his unorthodox views on genetics, such as that black people were inherently less intelligent than white people, and that the population explosion spread "bad" genes at the expense of "good" genes; he supported the idea of a sperm bank from Nobel Prize winners, voluntary sterilization and the restriction of interracial marriages.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Nobel Prize for Physics 1956.
Further Reading
I.Asimov (ed.), 1982, Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, New York: Doubleday \& Co.
IMcN

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shockley,William Bradford — Shock·ley (shŏkʹlē), William Bradford. 1910 1989. British born American physicist. He shared a 1956 Nobel Prize for the development of the electronic transistor. * * * …   Universalium

  • Shockley , William Bradford — (1910–1989) British–American physicist Shockley, born the son of a mining engineer in London, was educated at the California Institute of Technology and at Harvard, where he obtained his PhD in 1936. He started work at the Bell Telephone… …   Scientists

  • William Bradford Shockley — William B. Shockley William Bradford Shockley (* 13. Februar 1910 in London; † 12. August 1989 in Stanford) war ein US amerikanischer Physiker und Nobelpreisträger. Inhaltsverzeichnis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Bradford Shockley — William Shockley William Shockley William Shockley Naissance 13 février 1910 Londres (Angleterre) Décès 12  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Bradford Shockley — (13 de febrero de 1910 12 de agosto de 1989). Fue un físico estadounidense, galardonado con el Premio Nobel de Física en 1956. Inventó el transistor de unión el 5 de julio de 1951. A finales de los años 1960, Sockley realizó una controvertidas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • William Bradford Shockley — Retrato de 1956. William Bradford Shockley (13 de febrero de 1910 12 de agosto de 1989) fue un físico estadounidense. En conjunto con John Bardeen y Walter Houser Brattain, obtuvo el premio Nobel de Física en 1956 por sus investigaciones sobre… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Shockley, William B. — ▪ American physicist in full  William Bradford Shockley   born Feb. 13, 1910, London, Eng. died Aug. 12, 1989, Palo Alto, Calif., U.S.  American engineer and teacher, cowinner (with John Bardeen (Bardeen, John) and Walter H. Brattain (Brattain,… …   Universalium

  • William Bradford Shockley — noun United States physicist (born in England) who contributed to the development of the electronic transistor (1910 1989) • Syn: ↑Shockley, ↑William Shockley • Instance Hypernyms: ↑physicist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Shockley — William Bradford …   Scientists

  • Shockley — (William Bradford) (1910 1989) physicien américain. Sa participation à l invention du transistor lui valut le P. Nobel 1956 …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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