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John Bardeen
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Scientist
    (May 23, 1908-January 30, 1991)
    Born in Madison, Wisconsin
    Won two Nobel Prizes in Physics: as co-inventor of the transistor (1956) and as co-developer of the BCS theory of superconductivity (1972)
    Awarded the National Medal of Science (1965) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977)
    He earned the membership fees for his college fraternity by playing pool.
    He was turned down for a fellowship to Trinity College, Cambridge (1929).
    He feuded with transistor co-inventor William Shockley, commenting on leaving Bell Labs, 'My difficulties stem from the invention of the transistor. Before that there was an excellent research atmosphere here.'
    Some colleagues suggested he was overlooked by the media because he did not live up to the stereotype of an eccentric genius.
    He entered the University of Wisconsin at age 15.
    He was married to Jane Maxwell for 53 years until his death.
    Noting that it took two decades to develop a theory of superconductivity, he said, 'You have got to believe in persistence. It sometimes pays off.'
    He was the first person to win two Nobel Prizes in the same field.
    University of Illinois Chancellor Morton Weir said, 'It is a rare person whose work changes the life of every American. John's did.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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