Walter Brattain

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Brattain, Walter


Born Feb. 10, 1902, in Hsiamen, China. American physicist.

Brattain studied at universities in Walla Walla, Wash., and in Arizona and Minnesota. A teacher at various universities in the USA, he has been a professor at a college in Walla Walla since 1963. Brattain has studied the surface properties of semiconductors (the determination of the rate of recombination and distribution of potential on the surface of a semiconductor). A number of his works have been devoted to the study of the semiconductor properties of copper oxide, the study of the optical properties of germanium films, and the measurement of conductivity under the action of irradiation by α-particles. He won the Nobel Prize in 1956 (with J. Bardeen and W. Shockley) for creating semiconductor transistors and studying the physical principles of their operation.


“The Transistor: A Semiconductor Triode. Nature of the Forward Current in Germanium Point Contacts.” The Physical Review, 1948, vol. 74, no. 2, pp. 230-31. (With J. Bardeen.)
“Physical Principles Involved in Transistor Action.” The Physical Review, 1949, vol. 75, no. 8, pp. 1208-25. (With J. Bardeen.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This work was recognized with the 1956 Physics Nobel Prize awarded jointly to William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain "for their researches on semiconductors and their discovery of the transistor effect." Building on early work on the effect of electric fields on metal semiconductor junctions, the interdisciplinary Bell Labs team built a working bipolar-contact transistor and clearly demonstrated (discovered) the transistor effect.
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