Walter H. Brattain

Walter H.
Bell Telephone Laboratories | New Jersey
For the theory of surface states in semi-conductors and the invention of the point contact transistor (with John Bardeen).

Born in Amoy, China in 1902, Walter Brattain is best known for jointly inventing the the transistor with John Bardeen and William B. Shockley. The transistor is a a solid-state device that could amplify electrical current.

After receiving his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 1929, he became a research physicist for Bell Telephone Laboratories. His chief field of research involved investigations into the surface properties of solids, particularly the atomic structure of a material at the surface, which usually differs from its atomic structure in the interior. He became adjunct professor at Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington, in 1967.

The transistor performed electronic functions similar to the vacuum tube in radio and television, but was far smaller and used much less energy. The transistor became the building block for all modern electronics and the foundation for microchip and computer technology.

Walter Brattain died in 1987.

Information as of 1987