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William Shockley
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Inventor
    (February 13, 1910-August 12, 1989)
    Co-invented the transistor (1947)
    Co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1956)
    Professor of Engineering Science at Stanford University (1963-72)
    His attempt at running his own semiconductor company failed due to his domineering and abrasive management style.
    When his secretary cut her thumb, he claimed it was a malicious act and demanded that employees take lie detector tests to find the culprit.
    Eight of his leading researchers resigned, formed their own company, and invented the integrated circuit.
    Despite having no training in psychology or genetics, he concluded that blacks were inherently less intelligent than whites.
    He suggested that people with IQs below 100 should be paid to undergo voluntary sterilization.
    He ran for the Republican nomination for Senator from California on a pro-eugenics platform and finished eighth (1982).
    He felt his work in genetics was more important than his work in physics.
    He contributed sperm to the Repository for Germinal Choice, a.k.a. 'the Nobel Prize sperm bank.'
    He described his three children as 'a regrettable regression to the mean,' and blamed their mother because she lacked his academic achievements.
    He became estranged from his children and they learned of his death through the newspapers.
    He was an amateur magician who once ended an address to the American Physical Society by producing a bouquet of roses.
    When press accounts referred to him as the sole inventor of the transistor, he would make sure to correct the record and credit his co-inventors.
    A colleague said, 'Shockley is the man who brought silicon to Silicon Valley.'
    He was one of Time's 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century.

Credit: C. Fishel


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