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William Bradford Shockley

Shockley, William Bradford, 1910–89, American physicist, b. London. He graduated from the California Institute of Technology (B.S., 1932) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D., 1936). After directing antisubmarine research for the U.S. Navy during World War II, he returned to work at Bell Laboratories. There he and two colleagues, John Bardeen and Walter H. Brattain, produced the first transistor in 1947; for this work they shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1956. Shockley taught electrical engineering at Stanford from 1958 to 1975. In the late 1960s and 1970s he became the center of controversy when he lectured on his theory that blacks were intellectually inferior and, by reproducing faster than whites, were causing a retrogression in human evolution. Most social scientists took issue with his interpretation of gross intelligence quotient (IQ) scores because he made no allowance for cultural and social influences.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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