(May 23, 1908 – January 30, 1991)

John Bardeen gained fame after becoming the first (and so far the only) person to win two Nobel Prizes in physics. But that is not the reason why he is on this list. His intellect alongside research outputs, and their influences on electronics developments, placed him here. The transistor was invented in 1947 by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley: when the trio worked in collaboration. Shockley was their lab manager then. But his arrogance and unruly attitudes towards Bardeen and Brattain ensured that those two ended all corporations with him. Nevertheless, the three men were awarded Nobel Prize in 1956 for the invention. Although Bardeen did not participate in the advancement of transistors beyond that first year of invention, his role and credit cannot be expunged. He went ahead to work on Superconductivity with Leon N. Cooper and John R. Schrieffer (who was his former doctorate student). Their efforts culminated in the 1957 proposition of the first microscopic theory of superconductivity, known now as the Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer Theory. In 1972, the trio received Nobel Prize for it. That work on superconductivity is vital for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance technique which in turn is used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging. In addition to John Schrieffer, Nick Holonyak Jr., (who discovered the first visible wavelength GaAs laser diode) is Bardeen’s ex-student of international repute. As an honor for his contributions to science, the then world’s biggest electronics company, Sony Corporation, setup a $3million John Bardeen professorial chair endowment at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, in 1990.

4 Comments

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