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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index B > Walter H. Brattain Quotes

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Walter H. Brattain
(10 Feb 1902 - 13 Oct 1987)

American physicist who shared (with John Bardeen and William B. Shockley) the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1956 for investigating semiconductors (materials of which transistors are made) and for the development of the transistor.


Science Quotes by Walter H. Brattain (1 quote)

I would like to start by emphasizing the importance of surfaces. It is at a surface where many of our most interesting and useful phenomena occur. We live for example on the surface of a planet. It is at a surface where the catalysis of chemical reactions occur. It is essentially at a surface of a plant that sunlight is converted to a sugar. In electronics, most if not all active circuit elements involve non-equilibrium phenomena occurring at surfaces. Much of biology is concerned with reactions at a surface.
— Walter H. Brattain
'Surface properties of semiconductors', Nobel Lecture (11 Dec 1956). In Nobel Lectures, Physics 1942-1962 (1967), 377.
Science quotes on:  |  Biology (169)  |  Catalysis (6)  |  Chemistry (255)  |  Circuit (15)  |  Electronic (12)  |  Emphasis (17)  |  Equilibrium (20)  |  Importance (218)  |  Interest (240)  |  Occurrence (34)  |  Phenomenon (278)  |  Planet (264)  |  Plant (207)  |  Reaction (62)  |  Start (98)  |  Sugar (14)  |  Sunlight (18)  |  Surface (102)



Quotes by others about Walter H. Brattain (2)

I can’t work well under the conditions at Bell Labs. Walter [Brattain] and I are looking at a few questions relating to point-contact transistors, but [William] Shockley keeps all the interesting problems for himself.
From conversation with Frederick Seitz as quoted in Lillian Hoddeson, 'John Bardeen: A Place to Win Two Nobel Prizes and Make a Hole in One', collected in Lillian Hoddeson (ed.), No Boundaries: University of Illinois Vignettes (2004), Chap. 16, 242.
Science quotes on:  |  Bell Laboratories (3)  |  Condition (164)  |  Contact (36)  |  Interest (240)  |  Keep (101)  |  Problem (502)  |  Question (408)  |  Relate (21)  |  William B. Shockley (4)  |  Transistor (3)  |  Work (645)

On the morning of 1 November 1956 the US physicist John Bardeen dropped the frying-pan of eggs that he was cooking for breakfast, scattering its contents on the kitchen floor. He had just heard that he had won the Nobel Prize for Physics along with William Shockley and Walter Brattain for their invention of the transistor. That evening Bardeen was startled again, this time by a parade of his colleagues from the University of Illinois marching to the door of his home bearing champagne and singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”.
In Abstract for 'John Bardeen: An Extraordinary Physicist', Physics World (2008), 21, No. 4, 22.
Science quotes on:  |  John Bardeen (6)  |  Biography (237)  |  Breakfast (8)  |  Colleague (24)  |  Cook (17)  |  Drop (41)  |  Egg (46)  |  Hear (65)  |  Invention (325)  |  Nobel Prize (30)  |  Parade (3)  |  Physics (350)  |  William B. Shockley (4)  |  Sing (26)  |  Transistor (3)  |  Win (40)


See also:
  • 10 Feb - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Brattain's birth.

Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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