(born May 23, 1908, Madison, Wis., U.S.—died Jan. 30, 1991, Boston, Mass.) U.S. physicist. He earned a Ph.D. in mathematical physics from Princeton University. He worked for the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory during World War II, after which he worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories. His work there led to his sharing a 1956 Nobel Prize with William B. Shockley
and Walter H. Brattain
for the invention of the transistor
. In 1972 he again shared a Nobel Prize, this time with Leon Cooper
and J. Robert Schrieffer for developing the theory of superconductivity
(1957); this theory (called the BCS theory, for Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer) is the basis for all later theoretical work in superconductivity. Bardeen was also the author of a theory explaining certain properties of semiconductors
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.