Walter Houser Brattain (/ˈbrætən/; February 10, 1902 – October 13, 1987) was an American physicist at Bell Labs who, along with fellow scientists John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the point-contact transistor in December 1947. They shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention. Brattain devoted much of his life to research on surface states.
Walter Houser Brattain
Brattain circa 1950
|Born||February 10, 1902|
|Died||October 13, 1987 (aged 85)|
|Alma mater||Whitman College|
University of Oregon
University of Minnesota
|Awards||Stuart Ballantine Medal (1952)|
Nobel Prize in Physics (1956)
|Fields||Physics, Electronic engineering|
|Doctoral advisor||John Torrence Tate, Sr.|
Walter Brattain was born in Amoy (now Xiamen), Fujian, Qing China, to American parents Ross R. Brattain and Ottilie Houser Brattain. Ross R. Brattain was a teacher at the Ting-Wen Institute,:11 a private school for Chinese boys. Both parents were graduates of Whitman College;:71 Ottilie Houser Brattain was a gifted mathematician. Ottilie and baby Walter returned to the United States in 1903, followed by Ross.:12 The family lived for several years in Spokane, Washington, then settled on a cattle ranch near Tonasket, Washington in 1911.:12:71
Brattain attended high school in Washington, spending one year at Queen Anne High School in Seattle, two years at Tonasket High School, and one year at Moran School for Boys on Bainbridge Island. Brattain then attended Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, where he studied with Benjamin H. Brown (physics) and Walter A. Bratton (mathematics). Brattain earned a bachelor's degree from Whitman College in 1924, with a double major in physics and mathematics. Brattain and his classmates Walker Bleakney, Vladimir Rojansky and E. John Workman were later known as "the four horsemen of physics" because all went on to distinguished careers.:71 Brattain's brother Robert, who followed him at Whitman College, also became a physicist.:71
Brattain earned a Master of Arts from the University of Oregon in Eugene in 1926, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1929. At Minnesota, Brattain had the opportunity to study the new field of quantum mechanics under John Hasbrouck Van Vleck. His thesis, supervised by John T. Tate, was Efficiency of Excitation by Electron Impact and Anomalous Scattering in Mercury Vapor.:72
Walter Brattain married twice. His first wife was chemist Keren Gilmore. They married in 1935 and had a son, William G. Brattain, in 1943. Keren Gilmore Brattain died April 10, 1957. Walter Brattain married Mrs. Emma Jane (Kirsch) Miller, who already had three children, in 1958.
He moved to Seattle, Washington, in the 1970s where he lived until his death. He died on October 13, 1987, in a nursing home in Seattle from Alzheimer's Disease. He is buried in Pomeroy City Cemetery, Garfield County, Washington, USA.
From 1927 to 1928 Brattain worked for the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C., where he helped to develop piezoelectric frequency standards. In August 1929 he joined Joseph A. Becker at Bell Telephone Laboratories as a research physicist. The two men worked on the heat-induced flow of charge carriers in copper oxide rectifiers.:72 Brattain was able to attend a lecture by Arnold Sommerfeld. Some of their subsequent experiments on thermionic emission provided experimental validation for the Sommerfeld theory. They also did work on the surface state and work function of tungsten and the adsorption of thorium atoms.:74 Through his studies of rectification and photo-effects on the semiconductor surfaces of cuprous oxide and silicon, Brattain discovered the photo-effect at the free surface of a semiconductor. This work was considered by the Nobel prize committee to be one of his chief contributions to solid state physics.
At the time, the telephone industry was heavily dependent on the use of vacuum tubes to control electron flow and amplify current. Vacuum tubes were neither reliable nor efficient, and Bell Laboratories wanted to develop an alternative technology. As early as the 1930s Brattain worked with William B. Shockley on the idea of a semiconductor amplifier that used copper oxide, an early and unsuccessful attempt at creating a field effect transistor. Other researchers at Bell and elsewhere were also experimenting with semiconductors, using materials such as germanium and silicon, but the pre-war research effort was somewhat haphazard and lacked strong theoretical grounding.
During World War II, both Brattain and Shockley were separately involved in research on magnetic detection of submarines with the National Defense Research Committee at Columbia University. Brattain's group developed magnetometers sensitive enough to detect anomalies in the earth's magnetic field caused by submarines.:104 As a result of this work, in 1944, Brattain patented a design for a magnetometer head.
In 1945, Bell Labs reorganized and created a group specifically to do fundamental research in solid state physics, relating to communications technologies. Creation of the sub-department was authorized by the vice-president for research, Mervin Kelly. An interdisciplinary group, it was co-led by Shockley and Stanley O. Morgan.:76 The new group was soon joined by John Bardeen. Bardeen was a close friend of Brattain's brother Robert, who had introduced John and Walter in the 1930s. They often played bridge and golf together.:77 Bardeen was a quantum physicist, Brattain a gifted experimenter in materials science, and Shockley, the leader of their team, was an expert in solid-state physics.
According to theories of the time, Shockley's field effect transistor, a cylinder coated thinly with silicon and mounted close to a metal plate, should have worked. He ordered Brattain and Bardeen to find out why it wouldn't. During November and December the two men carried out a variety of experiments, attempting to determine why Shockley's device wouldn't amplify. Bardeen was a brilliant theorist; Brattain, equally importantly, "had an intuitive feel for what you could do in semiconductors".:40 Bardeen theorized that the failure to conduct might be the result of local variations in the surface state which trapped the charge carriers.:467–468 Brattain and Bardeen eventually managed to create a small level of amplification by pushing a gold metal point into the silicon, and surrounding it with distilled water. Replacing silicon with germanium enhanced the amplification, but only for low frequency currents.
On December 16, Brattain devised a method of placing two gold leaf contacts close together on a germanium surface. Brattain reported: "Using this double point contact, contact was made to a germanium surface that had been anodized to 90 volts, electrolyte washed off in H2O and then had some gold spots evaporated on it. The gold contacts were pressed down on the bare surface. Both gold contacts to the surface rectified nicely... One point was used as a grid and the other point as a plate. The bias (D.C.) on the grid had to be positive to get amplification"
As described by Bardeen, "The initial experiments with the gold spot suggested immediately that holes were being introduced into the germanium block, increasing the concentration of holes near the surface. The names emitter and collector were chosen to describe this phenomenon. The only question was how the charge of the added holes was compensated. Our first thought was that the charge was compensated by surface states. Shockley later suggested that the charge was compensated by electrons in the bulk and suggested the junction transistor geometry... Later experiments carried out by Brattain and me showed that very likely both occur in the point-contact transistor.":470
On December 23, 1947, Walter Brattain, John Bardeen, and William B. Shockley demonstrated the first working transistor to their colleagues at Bell Laboratories. Amplifying small electrical signals and supporting the processing of digital information, the transistor is "the key enabler of modern electronics". The three men received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 "for research on semiconductors and the discovery of the transistor effect."
Convinced by the 1947 demonstration that a major breakthrough was being made, Bell Laboratories focused intensively on what it now called the Surface States Project. Initially, strict secrecy was observed. Carefully restricted internal conferences within Bell Labs shared information about the work of Brattain, Bardeen, Shockley and others who were engaged in related research.:471 Patents were registered, recording the invention of the point-contact transistor by Bardeen and Brattain. There was considerable anxiety over whether Ralph Bray and Seymour Benzer, studying resistance in germanium at Purdue University, might make a similar discovery and publish before Bell Laboratories.:38–39
On June 30, 1948, Bell Laboratories held a press conference to publicly announce their discovery. They also adopted an open policy in which new knowledge was freely shared with other institutions. By doing so, they avoided classification of the work as a military secret, and made possible widespread research and development of transistor technology. Bell Laboratories organized several symposia, open to university, industry and military participants, which were attended by hundreds of scientists in September 1951, April 1952, and 1956. Representatives from international as well as domestic companies attended.:471–472, 475–476
Shockley believed (and stated) that he should have received all the credit for the discovery of the transistor. He actively excluded Bardeen and Brattain from new areas of research, in particular the junction transistor, which Shockley patented. Shockley's theory of the junction transistor was an "impressive achievement", pointing the way to future solid-state electronics, but it would be several years before its construction would become practically possible.:43–44
Brattain transferred to another research group within Bell Laboratories, working with C. G. B. Garrett, and P. J. Boddy. He continued to study the surface properties of solids and the "transistor effect", so as to better understand the various factors underlying semiconductor behavior.:79–81 Describing it as "an intolerable situation", Bardeen left Bell Laboratories in 1951 to go to the University of Illinois, where he eventually won a second Nobel Prize for his theory of superconductivity. Shockley left Bell Laboratories in 1953 and went on to form the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory at Beckman Instruments.
In 1956, the three men were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics by King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden "for research on semiconductors and the discovery of the transistor effect." Bardeen and Brattain were included for the discovery of the point-contact transistor; Shockley for the development of the junction transistor. Walter Brattain is credited as having said, when told of the award, "I certainly appreciate the honor. It is a great satisfaction to have done something in life and to have been recognized for it in this way. However, much of my good fortune comes from being in the right place, at the right time, and having the right sort of people to work with." Each of the three gave a lecture. Brattain spoke on Surface Properties of Semiconductors, Bardeen on Semiconductor Research Leading to the Point Contact Transistor, and Shockley on Transistor Technology Evokes New Physics.
Brattain later collaborated with P. J. Boddy and P. N. Sawyer on several papers on electrochemical processes in living matter.:80 He became interested in blood clotting after his son required heart surgery. He also collaborated with Whitman chemistry professor David Frasco, using phospholipid bilayers as a model to study the surface of living cells and their absorption processes.
Brattain taught at Harvard University as a visiting lecturer in 1952 and at Whitman College as a visiting lecturer in 1962 and 1963, and a visiting professor beginning in 1963. Upon formally retiring from Bell Laboratories in 1967, he continued to teach at Whitman, becoming an adjunct professor in 1972. He retired from teaching in 1976 but continued to be a consultant at Whitman.
At Whitman, the Walter Brattain Scholarships are awarded on a merit basis to "entering students who have achieved high academic excellence in their college preparatory work." All applicants for admission are considered for the scholarship, which is potentially renewable for four years.
Walter Brattain has been widely recognized for his contributions.
Walter H. Brattain was born in Amoy, China, on February 10, 1902, the son of Ross R. Brattain and Ottilie Houser. ...
Walter H. Brattain, who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of the transistor, died yesterday of Alzheimer's Disease in a nursing home in Seattle. He was 85 years old. ...
was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar, the 1902nd year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 902nd year of the 2nd millennium, the 2nd year of the 20th century, and the 3rd year of the 1900s decade. As of the start of 1902, the Gregorian calendar was
13 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.1902 in science
The year 1902 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.1956 in science
The year 1956 in science and technology involved some significant events, listed below.1987 in science
The year 1987 in science and technology involved many significant events, some listed below.Bell Labs
Nokia Bell Labs (formerly named AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories) is an industrial research and scientific development company owned by Finnish company Nokia. Its headquarters are located in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Other laboratories are located around the world (with some in the United States). Bell Labs has its origins in the complex past of the Bell System.
In the late 19th century, the laboratory began as the Western Electric Engineering Department and was located at 463 West Street in New York City. In 1925, after years of conducting research and development under Western Electric, the Engineering Department was reformed into Bell Telephone Laboratories and under the shared ownership of American Telephone & Telegraph Company and Western Electric.
Researchers working at Bell Labs are credited with the development of radio astronomy, the transistor, the laser, the photovoltaic cell, the charge-coupled device (CCD), information theory, the Unix operating system, and the programming languages C, C++, and S. Nine Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Laboratories.Brattain
Brattain is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Robert Brattain (1911–2002), American physicist
Walter Houser Brattain (1902–1987), American physicistExperimental physics
Experimental physics is the category of disciplines and sub-disciplines in the field of physics that are concerned with the observation of physical phenomena and experiments. Methods vary from discipline to discipline, from simple experiments and observations, such as the Cavendish experiment, to more complicated ones, such as the Large Hadron Collider.February 10
February 10 is the 41st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 324 days remain until the end of the year (325 in leap years).Ian Munro Ross
Ian Munro Ross FREng (15 August 1927 – 10 March 2013) was an early pioneer in transistors, and for 12 years President of Bell Labs.
Ross was born in Southport, England, and in 1948 received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University. In 1952 he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from Cambridge.
In 1952 William Shockley hired him to work in semiconductors at Bell Labs, and he arrived in Murray Hill just after John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain had left. Shockley's group focused exclusively on transistor improvements, and Ross and G. C. Dacey were instrumental in the early stages of development of the field-effect transistor. In 1960 Ross and others invented epitaxy. He subsequently rose through managerial ranks, ultimately serving as the sixth President of Bell Labs 1979–1991 and overseeing its reorganization following the breakup of the Bell System.
Ross was a member of the National Academy of Engineering, National Academy of Sciences, and Royal Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He received the 1963 IEEE Morris N. Liebmann Memorial Award "for contributions to the development of the epitaxial transistor and other semiconductor devices", the 1987 IRI Medal from the Industrial Research Institute in recognition for his contributions to technology leadership, the 1988 IEEE Founders Medal "for distinguished leadership of AT&T Bell Laboratories guiding innovation in telecommunications and information processing", and the 2001 Bueche Award "for his contributions to semiconductor development, his leadership of engineering for communications networks and the Apollo program, and his role in shaping national policies affecting the semiconductor industry."Index of physics articles (W)
The index of physics articles is split into multiple pages due to its size.
To navigate by individual letter use the table of contents below.Information Age
The Information Age (also known as the Computer Age, Digital Age, or New Media Age) is a historic period in the 21st century characterized by the rapid shift from traditional industry that the Industrial Revolution brought through industrialization, to an economy based on information technology. The onset of the Information Age can be associated with William Shockley, Walter Houser Brattain and John Bardeen, the inventors and engineers behind the first transistors, revolutionising modern technologies. With the Digital Revolution, just as the Industrial Revolution marked the onset of the Industrial Age. The definition of what "digital" means (or what "information" means) continues to change over time as new technologies, user devices, methods of interaction with other humans and devices enter the domain of research, development and market launch.
During the Information Age, digital industry shapes a knowledge-based society surrounded by a high-tech global economy that exerts influence on how the manufacturing and service sectors operate in an efficient and convenient way. In a commercialized society, the information industry can allow individuals to explore their personalized needs, therefore simplifying the procedure of making decisions for transactions and significantly lowering costs both for producers and for buyers. This is accepted overwhelmingly by participants throughout the entire economic activities for efficacy purposes, and new economic incentives would then be indigenously encouraged, such as the knowledge economy.The Information Age formed by capitalizing on computer microminiaturization advances. This evolution of technology in daily life and social organization has led to the modernization of information and communication processes becoming the driving force of social evolution.October 13
October 13 is the 286th day of the year (287th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. 79 days remain until the end of the year.Ottilie
Ottilie is a given name for women. The name is a French derivative of the medieval German masculine name Otto, and has the meaning "prosperous in battle", "riches", "prosperous" or "wealth". It has never become very popular in modern culture and has remained very low on popularity rankings only reaching its peak in 1880 when it reached almost 600th position in the US. Ottilie is a much more common first name in German-speaking countries.One of the most well known historical uses of the name is Ottilie Assing, a 19th-century German feminist, freethinker, and abolitionist.
Ottilie was the name given to the female protagonist in John Wyndham's science fiction story "Random Quest" later made into a film "Quest for Love", starring Joan Collins as Ottilie, Tom Bell, Denholm Elliott and Laurence Naismith. The story is about a scientist, Colin Trafford, who crosses into a parallel world after a scientific demonstration goes wrong. He finds himself married to Ottilie Harshom, falls in love with her, and then desperately looks for her when he returns to his own world - the "quest" of the title.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem called "To Ottilie".Ottilie is one of the four principal characters in the novel Elective Affinities by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The term elective affinities was taken from 18th century chemistry, and describes how attractive forces between different atoms dictate their reactions. In the story, Eduard, Charlotte, the Captain, and Ottilie are assembled in a mansion on Eduard's estate in the country. In keeping with its title, the characters are isolated from extraneous influences and allowed to react with each other.
There is a character called Ottilie in a short story by Truman Capote, 'House Of Flowers' published in 1958 and later adapted into a musical.
Ottilie is a variant of Odile. Ottilia, Ottiliana, and Ottoline are variants of Ottilie.
Ottilie Abrahams, a Namibian activist.
Ottilie Assing, a German journalist.
Ottilie von Bistram, a Latvian writer and teacher.
Ottilia Borbáth, a Romanian actor.
Ottilie Davidová, the youngest of Franz Kafka's three sisters.
Ottilie Fleischer, a German athlete.
Ottilie Louise Fresco, a Dutch scientist.
Ottilie Godefroy, an Austrian actor who performed under the name Tilla Durieux.
Ottilie Houser Brattain an American mathematician and mother of the physicist Walter Houser Brattain.
Ottilie Hoffmann a German educationalist and social reformer
Ottilie von Katzenelnbogen, a German aristocrat.
Ottilie Klimek, an American serial killer.
Ottilie Kruger an American actor and daughter of the actor Otto Kruger.
Ottilia Carolina Kuhlman, a Swedish actor.
Ottoline Leyser, a British plant biologist.
Ottilie Adelina Liljencrantz an American writer of Norse themed historical novels.
Ottilia Littmarck, a Swedish actor and director.
Ottilie Losch, an Austrian dancer and choreographer who lived and worked in the United States and United Kingdom.
Ottilie Maclaren Wallace, a Scottish sculptor.
Ottilie Metzger, a German contralto.
Lady Ottoline Morrell, an English society hostess.
Ottilie Palm Jost a Canadian impressionist artist
Ottilie Patterson, a Northern Irish jazz singer who recorded in the late 1950s and early 1960s with Chris Barber.
Ottilie Roederstein, a Swiss painter.
Ottilie Sutro, an American pianist.
Ottilie Wildermuth, a German writer.Queen Anne High School, Seattle
Queen Anne High School (1909–1981) was a Seattle Public Schools high school on Galer Street atop Queen Anne Hill in Seattle, Washington, United States. The building was converted to condominium apartments in 2007.
The school was built in 1908 with additions in 1929 and 1955, and is on the National Register of Historic Places (ID #85002916). It is also an official City of Seattle landmark.QAHS closed in 1981 due to decreasing enrollment. Students in the school's attendance area transferred to various high schools in the district. The school facility underwent renovation and adaptive reuse to become a residential apartment building in 1986, with 137 apartments. In 2006 the residential apartments underwent another renovation and converted to condominium units.Robert Brattain
R. Robert Brattain (May 21, 1911 – November 17, 2002) was an American physicist at Shell Development Company. He was involved in a number of secret projects during World War II. He is recognized as one of America’s leading infrared spectroscopists for his work in designing several models of spectrophotometer, and for using the infrared spectrophotometer to determine the β-lactam structure of penicillin. His instrumentation work was essential to the subsequent study and understanding of structures in organic chemistry.Tonasket High School
Tonasket High School is located in Tonasket, Washington about 25 miles south of the Canada–US border and 160 miles west of Spokane. The elementary, middle, and high school are all located on the same property; grades 6-12 share a spacious library and resource center. The Outreach Program provides parents with the opportunity to supervise and instruct their children at home while having the professional guidance of a certified teacher. The school's athletic teams are the Tonasket Tigers and the Lady Tigers. The school is home to the award-winning Tonasket School Marching Band, which traveled to Anaheim in March 2011 to perform at Disneyland and meet with actor/musician Jack Black, who personally donated $10,000 to help fund the trip.University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences
The University of Oregon College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is the largest academic unit of the University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene, Oregon, United States. The main offices of the college are located in Friendly Hall on the UO campus. Through its 45 departments and programs—spanning the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences—CAS offers the core liberal arts curriculum that serves the entire undergraduate population of the UO.
CAS typically has approximately 11,000 undergraduates majoring in its 47 major fields of study at any given time. At the graduate level, CAS offers 30 graduate degree programs and grants approximately three-quarters of UO's doctoral degrees.
CAS is also the research hub of the UO, with nearly 500 tenure-track faculty, or 60% of the UO total. CAS research faculty generate more than half the sponsored research at UO and the academic accomplishments of CAS faculty provide the basis for the UO's membership in the Association of American Universities.