Brattain, Walter Houser,
1902-87, American physicist, b. Xiamen, China, Ph.D. Univ. of Minnesota, 1929. He was a researcher at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J. from 1929 to 1967. He then taught at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., until he retired in 1972. Brattain, William Shockley
, and John Bardeen
were jointly awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention in the late 1940s of the transistor
. The transistor replaced bulky, high-maintenance vacuum tubes in telecommunications systems and became the basic building block of modern radios, televisions, computers, and other electronic devices.
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