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 William Bradford Shockley

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William Bradford Shockley

Birth
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 12 Aug 1989 (aged 79)
Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Burial Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California, USA
Plot Mausoleum #2, West Wall Stars 4, N5024-B
Memorial ID 21219520 View Source
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Nobel Prize Recipient. William Bradford Shockley, an American physicist, received world-wide recognition for being awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics. He co-shared the covet award with two other Americans, John Bardeen and Walter H. Brattain. According to the Nobel Prize committee, the award was given "for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect." In 1947 Bardeen and Brattain produced a semiconductor amplifier, which was further developed by Shockley. The component was named a "transistor". He received six nominations for the Nobel candidacy starting in 1954. Born the son of an American mining engineer, his parents returned to the United States from England in 1913. After finishing his early education in the California public school system, he earned a Bachelors of Science degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1932. Entering the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he obtained his Ph.D. in 1936, with the thesis on the energy band structure of sodium chloride. He joined Bell Telephone Laboratories the same year, remaining there until 1955. During World War II, he was Research Director of the Anti-submarine Warfare Operations Research Group and after the war, he served as Expert Consultant in the Office of the Secretary for War. In 1946, he received the National Medal of Merit for his war work. He resigned his post of Director of the Transistor Physics Department to enter in the business venture of becoming Director of the Shockley Semi-conductor Laboratory of Beckman Instruments at Mountain View, California, for research development and production of new transistor and other semiconductor devices. After this unsuccessful business venture, in 1963 he was named first Alexander M. Poniatoff Professor of Engineering Science at Stanford University, where he was professor-at-large in engineering and applied sciences. During this time at Stanford University, he became involved with publicly promoting eugenics, an unpopular practice aimed at improving the genetic quality of a human population, which measures one race against another. He retired from Stanford University professor emeritus in 1975. In 1982 he was a candidate for an unsuccessful run as the United States Senator from California. Besides the Nobel Prize, he received in 1953 the Comstock Prize in Physics of the National Academy of Sciences and from the American Physical Society, received the first Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize. In 1963 he received the Holley Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Wilhelm Exner Medal from the Austrian Industry Association. He was named by "Time" magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century and in recognizing the 150th anniversary of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the newspaper "Boston Globe" listed in 2011 the top scientific 150 MIT graduates with him being third. His first marriage gave him a son and a daughter, who were both very successful. Later, he remarried after a divorce. Publicly promoting eugenics cause him to become estranged from his family and old friends, including his children to the point, that they learned of his death in a newspaper obituary. He died of prostate cancer in 1989. His 2006 biography "Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age" was written by Joel N. Shurkin.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Eamonn
  • Added: 28 Aug 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 21219520
  • Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/21219520/william-bradford-shockley : accessed ), memorial page for William Bradford Shockley (13 Feb 1910–12 Aug 1989), Find a Grave Memorial ID 21219520, citing Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto, Santa Clara County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .