Birth of an Era; The Solid-State Century; Scientific American Presents; by Riordan, Hoddeson; 6 Page(s)
William Shockley was extremely agitated. Speeding through the frosty hills west of Newark, N.J., on the morning of December 23, 1947, he hardly noticed the few vehicles on the narrow country road leading to Bell Telephone Laboratories. His mind was on other matters.
Arriving just after 7 A.M., Shockley parked his MG convertible in the company lot, bounded up two flights of stairs and rushed through the deserted corridors to his office. That afternoon his research team was to demonstrate a promising new electronic device to his boss. He had to be ready. An amplifier based on a semiconductor, he knew, could ignite a revolution. Lean and hawk-nosed, his temples graying and his thinning hair slicked back from a proud, jutting forehead, Shockley had dreamed of inventing such a device for almost a decade. Now his dream was about to come true.