William B. Shockley


William Bradford Shockley

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

William Bradford Shockley
The Nobel Prize in Physics 1956

Born: 13 February 1910, London, United Kingdom

Died: 12 August 1989, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Semiconductor Laboratory of Beckman Instruments, Inc., Mountain View, CA, USA

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

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”.

To cite this section
MLA style: William B. Shockley – Facts. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Mon. 17 Jun 2024. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/physics/1956/shockley/facts/>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.