John Bardeen

University of Illinois, Urbana
Theory and technology of superconductivity and semiconductors

Born in 1908, John Bardeen studied electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, receiving a B.S. in 1928 and an M.S. in 1929. After these degrees, he spent 1930-33 doing research in geophysics at the Gulf Research Laboratories in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1933, he returned to graduate studies in mathematical physics at Princeton University, where he had his first introduction to solid state theory, and received his Ph.D. in 1936.

Dr. Bardeen spent several years engaged in research at Harvard University, the University of Minnesota, and the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Washington, D.C. In 1945, he joined the newly formed research group in solid state physics at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he became interested in semiconductors. In 1951, he left Bell Labs to become Professor of Electrical Engineering and of Physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana, where he remained through the rest of his career.

At Illinois, Bardeen established two major research programs, one in the Electrical Engineering Department dealing with both experimental and theoretical aspects of semiconductors, and one in the Physics Department which dealt with theoretical aspects of macroscopic quantum systems, particularly superconductivity and quantum liquids. The microscopic theory of superconductivity, developed in collaboration with L.N. Cooper and J.R. Schrieffer in 1956 and 1957, has had profound implications for nearly every field of physics from elementary particle to nuclear and the helium liquids to neutron stars. During his sixty year scientific career, he made significant contributions to almost every aspect of condensed matter physics from his early work on the electronic behavior of metals, the surface properties of semiconductors and the theory of diffusion of atoms in crystals to his most recent work on quasi-one-dimensional metals.

In addition to his other honors, Dr. Bardeen was awarded the Ballantine Medal (1952) and Franklin Award (1975) from The Franklin Institute, as well as the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956 and 1972.

Information as of 1975