American physicist Walter Houser Brattain shared 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics along with John Bardeen and William Shockley,for the invention of transistor.
Walter Brattain was born in Amoy, China in 1902, soon after his birth the family returned to Washington State. He received B.S. degree from Whitman College In 1924, M.A. degree from the University of Oregon In 1926 and Ph.D.
degree from the University of Minnesota In 1927.
Walter Brattain’s first job was as a radio engineer at the National Bureau of Standards. In 1929, Brattain started working for Bell Laboratories. He concentrated his research on the surface properties of solids,
his field of work included: the thermionic emission and absorbed layers on tungsten; and the rectification and photo-effects on the semiconductor surfaces of cuprous oxide, silicon, and germanium.
In 1947, Walter Brattain along with John Bardeen and William Shockley co-invented the transistor. It revolutionized the field of electronics, and paved way for smaller and cheaper computers, radios and calculators. It’s on the list of IEEE milestones in electronics. Transistor
is a semiconductor device used to amplify and switch electronic signals and electrical power. It is composed of semiconductor material with at least three terminals for connection to an external circuit. A
voltage or current applied to one pair of the transistor’s terminals changes the current through another pair of terminals. Because the controlled (output) power can be higher than the controlling (input)
power, a transistor can amplify a signal.
Main Awards & Honours:
1952 – Stuart Ballantine Medal of the Franklin Institute. Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Portland University
1955 – Scott Medal. Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from Whitman College and Union College
1956 – Shared Nobel Prize Physics along with John Bardeen and William B. Shockley ,for the invention of the transistor
1957 – Honorary Doctor of Science degrees from University of Minnesota.
Brattain worked at Bell Labs until his retirement in 1967. At the age of 85 on October 13, 1987 he died of Alzheimer’s disease in Seattle, Washington.