Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1956
William B. Shockley, John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain

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Walter H. Brattain - Facts

Walter Houser Brattain

Walter Houser Brattain

Born: 10 February 1902, Amoy, China

Died: 13 October 1987, Seattle, WA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Bell Telephone Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, USA

Prize motivation: "for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect"

Field: instrumentation, semiconductor technology

Prize share: 1/3


Amplifying electric signals proved decisive for telephony and radio. First, electron tubes were used for this. To develop smaller and more effective amplifiers, however, it was hoped that semiconductors could be used - materials with properties between those of electrical conductors and insulators. Quantum mechanics gave new insight into the properties of these materials. In 1947 John Bardeen and Walter Brattain produced a semiconductor amplifier, which was further developed by William Shockley. The component was named a "transistor".

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