William Shockley
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William Shockley Childhood, Birthday, Aquarius - 𝐖𝐢𝐥𝐥𝐢𝐚𝐦 𝐒𝐡𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐥𝐞𝐲 Biography
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Emmy LanningJean Bailey
William Bradford ShockleyWilliam Bradford Shockley Jr.
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCalifornia Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)
Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory
Transistor
Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Atheism
Male
William Hillman Shockley
Mary
Aquarius
Greater London, England, United Kingdom
79
Stanford
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Who is William Shockley?

undefined - William ShockleyWilliam Shockley

William Shockley was an American physicist and inventor. His study of semiconductors earned him a Nobel Prize in Physics along with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain. A graduate of California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he worked at Bell Labs for a considerable amount of time to work on what would become his making. He headed numerous research teams and worked on many notable scientific studies. During the latter part of his life, Shockley dabbled in eugenics. His studies and theories of black inferiority made him an academic pariah. His personal life was marred by estrangement. His children from his first marriage,whom he barely spoke to during his lifetime, did not even attend his funeral when he passed away. His long-term companion was his second wife, Emmy. His extreme mood swings and stubborn nature took away the essence of what made him a great scientist and left him a man whose legacy lived on in his work and not as a human being.

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William Shockley Childhood & Early Life

William Bradford Shockley Jr. was born on February 13, 1910, in London, England. His father, William Hillman Shockley was a mining engineer and his mother, Mary Bradford was the first female US Deputy mining surveyor. His parents were American and he grew up in Palo Alto, California from age 3.

Shockley studied at the California Institute of Technology and received his Bachelors of Science in 1932.

He studied for his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Professor J.C. Slater. His thesis was on the energy band structure of Sodium Chloride. He received his doctorate in 1936. The same year, he joined Bell Labs in New Jersey and began research on semiconductors. The research group was headed by Clinton Davisson. He wrote many fundamental papers and had them published in “Physical Review”.

William Shockley Career

At Bell Labs, Shockley was involved in radar research. This was when World War II broke out. During the war, in May 1942, he served as the director of research for the U.S. Navy's Antisubmarine Warfare Operations Research Group.

In 1944, he organized a training program for B-29 bomber pilots and took tours around the world to analyze results. The training involved the usage of new radar bomb sights. For this, he was awarded the “Medal for Merit” on October 17, 1946.

He was asked to prepare a report on the casualties from Japan’s invasion in July 1945 by the War Department. His report laid the foundation for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and Japan’s eventual surrender.

In 1945, after the war ended, he was invited to form a solid state group involving Stanley Morgan, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, Gerald Pearson, Robert Gibney, and Hilbert Moore. They were handed the responsibility of finding a solid-state alternative to glass vacuum tubes. After many failures and attempts, the group was able to submit a paper on their findings in 1946.

Shockley, Bardeen, and Brattain invented the point-contact transistor in 1947 which replaced traditional bulky transistors. This work earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics.

He published a 558-page treatise, ‘Electrons and Holes in Semiconductors’, a collection of his research and work in 1950. This would go on to become a reference for other scientists working on the development of semiconductors and their variants.

He invented the junction transistor in 1951 and announced his invention at a press conference on July 4 of that year. The same year, he was elected a member of “National Academy of Sciences” (NAS), a post that was too high for someone as young as 41. He received the “Comstock Prize” in 1953 from the NAS as well as many other honors.

He moved to Mountain View in California in 1956 and set up the “Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory”. After his Nobel victory, he became paranoid and autocratic forcing 8 colleagues at his lab to resign. These 8 went on to form the “Fairchild Semiconductor” without him.

He was appointed to the President's Scientific Advisory Committee in 1962. In 1963, he received the Holley Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

During the 1960s he actively started questioning the intellectual differences between races. Many of his shocking proposals included paid sterilization of individuals with IQ below 100 and stated that a high rate of reproduction among blacks was retrogressive.

He was appointed the first Alexander M. Poniatoff professor of engineering science in 1963 at Stanford University, a promotion from being a lecturer when he joined in 1958. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1975.

William Shockley Major Works

Shockley’s “point-contact transistor” was a major influence in helping usher an age of micro-miniature electronics. He managed a research team that consisted of himself, John Bardeen, and Walter H. Brattain and used semiconductors to amplify electronic signals. The transistor was further improved which replaced the bulky and less-efficient vacuum tubes.

William Shockley Awards & Achievements

His crowning glory was the “Nobel Prize for Physics” in 1956. It was awarded to him for the invention of the “point-contact transistor” in 1947. He was the co-recipient of the award along with his colleagues John Bardeen and Walter Brattain.

He had to his name over 90 US patents, the first of which was the “Electron Discharge Device" on electron multipliers.

His contribution to science earned him many honors and medals. The Institute of Radio Engineers (now, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE) awarded him the Maurice Liebman Memorial Prize in 1980.

William Shockley Personal Life & Legacy

At the age of 23, he married Jean Alberta Bailey from Iowa in August 1933. In March 1934 they had their first child, Alison. Later the couple divorced.

He married Emmy Lanning, a psychiatric nurse, later. She outlived him by 18 years and passed away on April 28, 2007.

He was an accomplished climber and made many hikes and climbs in the “Shawangunks” in the Hudson River Valley. A route there is named “Shockley’s Ceiling”. He was an amateur magician, speaker, as well as lecturer.

He passed away on August 12, 1989, due to prostate cancer. He was estranged from his friends and family and his children came to know about his death through media. His resting place is “Alta Mesa Memorial Park” in Palo Alto, California.

William Shockley Trivia

Though his most significant work included semiconductors, he considered genetics his primary field.

He was a sperm donor at the infamous “Repository for Germinal Choice”, popularly known as “The Nobel Prize sperm bank”. He was the only one to publicly acknowledge his contribution to the bank.

He was home-schooled until the age of 8. This was because his parents thought they could provide an education better than any school. Another reason could have been that they often moved from one place to another.

As a child, he was quite ill-tempered and spoiled; traits he inherited from his parents. But he also possessed a funny bone and was a practical joker in college.

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William Shockley awards

  • Other

    • Wilheln Exner Medal (1963)
    • IEEE Medal of Honor (1980)
    • Nobel Prize in Physics (1956)
    • Comstock Prize in Physics (1953)
    • Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1953)
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William Shockley biography timelines

  • William Bradford Shockley Jr. was born on February 13, 1910, in London, England. His father, William Hillman Shockley was a mining engineer and his mother, Mary Bradford was the first female US Deputy mining surveyor. His parents were American and he grew up in Palo Alto, California from age 3.
    13th Feb 1910
  • Shockley studied at the California Institute of Technology and received his Bachelors of Science in 1932.
    1932
  • At the age of 23, he married Jean Alberta Bailey from Iowa in August 1933. In March 1934 they had their first child, Alison. Later the couple divorced.
    Aug 1933
  • He studied for his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Professor J.C. Slater. His thesis was on the energy band structure of Sodium Chloride. He received his doctorate in 1936. The same year, he joined Bell Labs in New Jersey and began research on semiconductors. The research group was headed by Clinton Davisson. He wrote many fundamental papers and had them published in “Physical Review”.
    1936
  • At Bell Labs, Shockley was involved in radar research. This was when World War II broke out. During the war, in May 1942, he served as the director of research for the U.S. Navy's Antisubmarine Warfare Operations Research Group.
    May 1942
  • In 1944, he organized a training program for B-29 bomber pilots and took tours around the world to analyze results. The training involved the usage of new radar bomb sights. For this, he was awarded the “Medal for Merit” on October 17, 1946.
    1944 To 17th Oct 1946
  • In 1945, after the war ended, he was invited to form a solid state group involving Stanley Morgan, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, Gerald Pearson, Robert Gibney, and Hilbert Moore. They were handed the responsibility of finding a solid-state alternative to glass vacuum tubes. After many failures and attempts, the group was able to submit a paper on their findings in 1946.
    1945 To 1946
  • He was asked to prepare a report on the casualties from Japan’s invasion in July 1945 by the War Department. His report laid the foundation for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and Japan’s eventual surrender.
    Jul 1945
  • Shockley, Bardeen, and Brattain invented the point-contact transistor in 1947 which replaced traditional bulky transistors. This work earned them the Nobel Prize in Physics.
    1947
  • His crowning glory was the “Nobel Prize for Physics” in 1956. It was awarded to him for the invention of the “point-contact transistor” in 1947. He was the co-recipient of the award along with his colleagues John Bardeen and Walter Brattain.
    1947 To 1956
  • He published a 558-page treatise, ‘Electrons and Holes in Semiconductors’, a collection of his research and work in 1950. This would go on to become a reference for other scientists working on the development of semiconductors and their variants.
    1950
  • He invented the junction transistor in 1951 and announced his invention at a press conference on July 4 of that year. The same year, he was elected a member of “National Academy of Sciences” (NAS), a post that was too high for someone as young as 41. He received the “Comstock Prize” in 1953 from the NAS as well as many other honors.
    1951 To 1953
  • He moved to Mountain View in California in 1956 and set up the “Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory”. After his Nobel victory, he became paranoid and autocratic forcing 8 colleagues at his lab to resign. These 8 went on to form the “Fairchild Semiconductor” without him.
    1956
  • He was appointed to the President's Scientific Advisory Committee in 1962. In 1963, he received the Holley Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
    1962 To 1963
  • His contribution to science earned him many honors and medals. The Institute of Radio Engineers (now, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, IEEE) awarded him the Maurice Liebman Memorial Prize in 1980.
    1980
  • He passed away on August 12, 1989, due to prostate cancer. He was estranged from his friends and family and his children came to know about his death through media. His resting place is “Alta Mesa Memorial Park” in Palo Alto, California.
    12th Aug 1989
  • He married Emmy Lanning, a psychiatric nurse, later. She outlived him by 18 years and passed away on April 28, 2007.
    28th Apr 2007
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Frequently asked questions about William Shockley

  • What is William Shockley birthday?

    William Shockley was born at February 13, 1910

  • Where is William Shockley's birth place?

    William Shockley was born in Greater London, England, United Kingdom

  • What is William Shockley nationalities?

    William Shockley's nationalities is American

  • Who is William Shockley spouses?

    William Shockley's spouses is Emmy Lanning, Jean Bailey

  • What was William Shockley universities?

    William Shockley studied at Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology university

  • What was William Shockley notable alumnis?

    William Shockley's notable alumnis is Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT)

  • Which company or organization was founded by William Shockley?

    William Shockley was the founder/co-founder of Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory

  • What is William Shockley's inventions/discoveries?

    Transistor was invented (or discovered) by William Shockley

  • What is William Shockley's religion?

    William Shockley's religion is Atheism

  • Who is William Shockley's father?

    William Shockley's father is William Hillman Shockley

  • Who is William Shockley's mother?

    William Shockley's mother is Mary

  • What is William Shockley's sun sign?

    William Shockley is Aquarius

  • When was William Shockley died?

    William Shockley was died at August 12, 1989

  • Where was William Shockley died?

    William Shockley was died in Stanford

  • Which age was William Shockley died?

    William Shockley was died at age 79