William Shockley

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope
William Shockley

Name: William Shockley

Born: February 13, 1910, London, England, United Kingdom

Death: August 12, 1989 (Age: 79)

Computer-related contributions

  • American physicist and inventor.
  • Along with John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain, Shockley co-invented the transistor.
  • Shockley's attempts to commercialize a new transistor design in the 1950s and 1960s led to California's "Silicon Valley" becoming a hotbed of electronics innovation.

Significant publications

  • Shockley on Eugenics and Race: The Application of Science to the Solution of Human Problems (1992).
  • Mechanics (1966).
  • Electrons and holes in semiconductors, with applications to transistor electronics (1956).

Honors and awards

  • Listed at #3 on the Boston Globe's MIT150 list of the top 150 innovators and ideas in the 150-year history of MIT (2011).
  • IEEE Medal of Honor (1980).
  • Nobel Prize in Physics (1956).
  • Comstock Prize in Physics (1953).
  • Oliver E. Buckley Condensed Matter Prize (1953).
  • Named as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century by Time Magazine.


"If you take a bale of hay and tie it to the tail of a mule and then strike a match and set the bale of hay on fire, and if you then compare the energy expended shortly thereafter by the mule with the energy expended by yourself in the striking of the match, you will understand the concept of amplification."

"Nature has color-coded groups of individuals so that statistically reliable predictions of their adaptability to intellectual rewarding and effective lives can easily be made and profitably used by the pragmatic man-in-the street."

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