Walter Houser Brattain

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Walter Houser Brattain
Brattain circa 1950
Born (1902-02-10)February 10, 1902
Xiamen, China
Died October 13, 1987(1987-10-13) (aged 85)
Seattle, Washington, US
Nationality American
Fields Physics, Electronic engineering
Institutions Whitman College
Bell Laboratories
Alma mater Whitman College
University of Oregon
University of Minnesota
Doctoral advisor John Torrence Tate, Sr.
Known for Transistor
Notable awards Stuart Ballantine Medal (1952)
Nobel Prize in Physics (1956)
John Bardeen, William Shockley and Walter Brattain at Bell Labs, 1948.

Walter Houser Brattain (February 10, 1902 – October 13, 1987) was an American physicist at Bell Labs who, along with John Bardeen and William Shockley, invented the transistor.[1] They shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for their invention. He devoted much of his life to research on surface states.


Walter Houser Brattain was born to American parents Ross R. Brattain and Ottilie Houser on 10 February 1902, in Xiamen, China. His father was a teacher there.

Brattain earned a bachelor's degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington in 1924, a master's degree from the University of Oregon in Eugene, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.[2][3]

Brattain was a resident of Summit, New Jersey. He moved to Seattle, Washington, in the 1970s where he lived until his death. He died on October 13, 1987 in a nursing home in Seattle, Washington from Alzheimer's Disease.[3] [2]


  1. ^ "Walter H. Brattain". IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Walter Houser Brattain". Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 2014-12-08. Walter H. Brattain was born in Amoy, China, on February 10, 1902, the son of Ross R. Brattain and Ottilie Houser. ... 
  3. ^ a b Susan Heller Anderson (October 14, 1987). "Walter Brattain, Inventor, Is Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-08. Walter H. Brattain, who shared the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of the transistor, died yesterday of Alzheimer's Disease in a nursing home in Seattle. He was 85 years old. ... 

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