On This Day

William Shockley

Physicist William Shockley

Profession: Physicist

United States of America

Biography: Nobel recipient and one of the founding fathers of Silicon Valley, Shockley is remembered as a controversial figure owing to his views on the genetic differences between races.

In 1956 Shockley and three others were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics for "their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect."

Seeking to commercialise a new transistor design, Shockley launched his company "Shockley Semiconductor" in Palo Alto, 1956. Though the company was unsuccessful Shockley has been credited as being "the man who brought silicon to Silicon Valley."

In his later life Shockley's views on eugenics became more established, as preached a philosophy of ''retrogressive evolution.''

Born: February 13, 1910
Birthplace: London, England, United Kingdom

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Dog
Star Sign: Aquarius

Died: August 12, 1989 (aged 79)
Cause of Death: Prostate cancer

Married Life

  • 1955-11-23 Physicist William Shockley (45) weds psychiatric nurse Emmy Lanning

Historical Events

  • 1947-12-23 Transistor invented by John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley in Bell Labs
  • 1951-07-05 Dr William Shockley invents the junction transistor (Murray Hill, NJ)
  • 1956-11-01 Nobel for physics awarded to William Shockley, Walter H. Brattain and John Bardeen

Biographies and Sources

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