transistor, super conductivity
Co invented the transistor
with Walter Brattain and William
Shockley in 1947
Dr. John Bardeen, Dr. Walter Brattain, and Dr. William Shockley
transistor effect and developed the first device in December, 1947,
while the three were
members of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill,
NJ. They were awarded
the Nobel Prize in physics in 1956.
John Bardeen also received a Nobel prize for his work on superconductivity.
A brilliant theorist, Dr. Bardeen brought his keen understanding
to the transistor team by explaining effects found in early transistor
experiments. Dr. Bardeen, born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, obtained
his Ph.D. in mathematics and physics from Princeton University in
1936. A staff member of the
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, from 1938 to 1941, he served
as principal physicist at the US Naval Ordinance Laboratory in Washington,
DC, during World War II, after which he joined Bell Telephone Laboratories,
My introduction to semiconductors came just after the war, in
late 1945, when I joined the Bell Laboratories research group on solid-state
physics, which was being formed under the leadership of Stanley Morgan
and William Shockley, Dr. Bardeen once related. Following
a Ph.D. under Eugene Wigner at Princeton and post-doctoral years with
John H. Van Vleck at Harvard, I had been interested in the theory
of metals before the war and was anxious to go back to solid-state
physics after five years at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Washington.
While at Harvard, Dr. Bardeen had become friends with James B. Fisk,
who in 1945 was director of research at Bell Labs. Bardeen also knew
Shockley when he was a graduate student at M.I.T.
It was they who persuaded me to join the group rather than return
to my academic post at Minnesota. I was the first outsider to be recruited;
the rest of the initial group had been at Bell Laboratories for some
There he conducted research on the electron-conducting properties
of semiconductors. This work led to the invention of the transistor.
Conditions were rather crowded when I arrived at the Murray
Hill, NJ, laboratory.
The wind-up of World War II research was still going on. He
said a new building was under construction, so he was asked to share
an office with Walter Brattain and Gerald Pearson.
I had known Walter since my graduate student days at Princeton.
Although at that time I had not decided what field of solid-state
physics I would work in, they soon got me interested in their problems
and I became deeply engrossed in trying to learn what was known about
Dr. Bardeen won the Nobel prize in 1956 as co-inventor of the transistor,
and again in 1972 as co-developer of the theory of superconductivity
at low temperatures. Dr. Bardeen left Bell Labs in 1951 to join the
faculty at University of Illinois, where he dedicated himself to research
He died at age 78.(2)
1908 May 23 Born
1936 obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics and physics from
1938 to 1941 Staff member of the University of Minnesota,
1945 Joined the Bell Laboratories on solid-state physics
1947, December Dr. John Bardeen, Dr. Walter Brattain,
and Dr. William Shockley discovered the
transistor effect and developed the first device
1951 Faculty of physics at University of Illinois, conducted
1956 Received the Nobel prize for his co-invention of
1972 Received the Nobel prize as co-developer of the
theory of superconductivity at low temperatures
1987 Died at 78
Honors and awards
1956 Nobel Prize in physics with Dr. Walter Brattain,
and Dr. William Shockley for the invention of the transitor
1972 Nobel prize as co-developer of the theory of superconductivity
at low temperatures