Machine Design

75 years of Innovators: William Shockley

William Shockley, along with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, built the first transistor.

In the 75 years since Machine Design began publication, here are some of the people who have changed the way we live.

William Shockley and others built this, the first transistor.

William Shockley
Founder of Silicon Valley
1910-1989

He went on to extend the understanding of semiconductor materials, and develop the theory behind the sandwich or junction transistor. Shockley was also the man who put silicon in Silicon Valley. He moved his new company there, Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory, with the intent of building silicon-based transistors. Up until then, transistors had been built using germanium. But silicon has a higher melting point, so the chips could handle higher temperatures.

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