Professor John Bardeen

John BardeenIn December 1947, while working at Bell Labs, John Bardeen and his colleagues Walter Brattain and William Shockley ushered in the era of solid state electronics (no vacuum tubes or moving parts) with their invention of the transistor, earning the team the 1956 Nobel Prize in physics. One of the most important inventions in modern history, the transistor is an essential component of nearly all modern electronics.

Photo of TransistorWhile an electrical engineering and physics professor at Illinois, Bardeen went on to develop, with Leon Cooper and John Schrieffer, the BCS theory (named after them), explaining the behavior of superconductors.


The group earned the 1972 Nobel Prize in physics for this work. Bardeen is the only person to have won two Nobel prizes in physics.