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Wiliiam Shockley-Autobiography

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William Shockley was born on February 13, 1910 in London, England. He is most famously noted for winning the Nobel Prize in physics in 1956. He won this for being the co-inventor of the transistor with John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain. Shockley's parents were both Americans. His father, William Hillman Shockley, was a mining engineer born in Massachusetts. His mother, Mary Bradford, was a federal deputy surveyor of mineral lands. They returned to America when William was just a baby. They both were very encouraging for his love and passion for science, as well as his neighbor who was a professor of physics at Stanford. He got his B. Sc. Degree at the California Institute of Technology in 1932. Four years later he got his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He wrote his doctoral thesis on the energy band structure of sodium chloride. The title of this thesis was "Calculation of Electron Wave Functions in Sodium Chloride Crystals."

After graduating from MIT, he went straight into work at Bell Laboratory. He did most of his research in solid state physics, especially vacuum tubes. Most of his theoretical advances led the company to conquer their goal of using electronic switches for telephone exchanges instead of the mechanical switches there were using at the time. Some of the other research he did was on energy bands in solids, order and disorder in alloys, self-diffusion of copper, experiments on photoelectrons in silver chloride, experiment and theory on ferromagnetic domains, and different topics in transistor physics. He also did operations research on individual productivity and the statistics of salary in research laboratories.

From 1940-1945 Shockley worked on military projects from World War II. He was Research Director of the Anti-submarine Warfare Operations Research Group. After this he served as Expert Consultant in the office of the Secretary for War. He was particularly working on refining radar systems. As soon as the war was over, he went back doing solid-state research, investigating semiconductors.

Once Shockley returned to Bell Labs in New Jersey, he immediately joined a research group headed by Dr. C. J. Davisson. His group consisted of Bardeen and Brattain. Most of the time, he left them and worked alone. He would drop in on them occasionally to check up on their work. With Shockley's idea of using field effects and applying the quantum theory to the development of semiconductors, Bardeen and Brattain succeeded in creating a point-contact transistor. They did this without any help from Shockley. Since the team's work was based on Shockley's ideas, he thought that the patent should be written in his name only. He told his teammates that this was his intention. Shockley then tried to secretly come up with a more commercial design based on junctions instead of point contacts. Shockley's name did not appear on the patent, so he had to continue to work harder to come up with something else new.

Shockley and his team did get credited in 1947 for discovering the transistor effect and developing the first device. After this he would make improvements to the transistor that would make it easier to manufacture. He did this in 1950, and this idea led to the development of a silicon chip. He also conceived the idea for the concept of a sandwich transistor. This came from the possibility of injections of minority carrier injections. This lead the to junction transistor that he got a patented on July 5, 1951. He alienated the infuriated Bardeen and Brattain even more. Shockley prohibited them from working any further on the junction transistor. Also in 1951, William Shockley became a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the U.S. Army.

In 1955, Shockley resigned as the Director of the Transistor Physics Department. He starting visiting many different universities and corporations He then became Director of the Shockley Semi-conductor Laboratory of Beckman Instruments, Inc, in Mountain View, California. He was given this change to run his own company by one of his friend's from Cal-Tech. Here Shockley focused on the research of solid state electronics. He had groups gather together to learn and become what is now the giants of Silicon



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