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John Bardeen

23 May 1908, Madison, Wisconsin, USA

30 Jan1991

 


john bardeen
john bardeen

principal papers

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keywords
transistor, super conductivity

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Achievement

Co invented the transistor with Walter Brattain and William Shockley in 1947

Dr. John Bardeen, Dr. Walter Brattain, and Dr. William Shockley discovered the
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.

 

Biography

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, Inc.
“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 years.”
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 semiconductor theory.”
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 superconductivity.
He died at age 78.(2)

 

Chronology

1908 May 23 Born

1936 obtained his Ph.D. in mathematics and physics from Princeton University

1938 to 1941 Staff member of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

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 research superconductivity.

1956 Received the Nobel prize for his co-invention of the transistor

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

 

 

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Footnotes & References