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High-reliability transistor, for submarine repeaters - a Connected Earth artefact, now in the Science Museum collection Brattain, Walter H. (1865-1945)

Walter Brattain was one of the trio of scientists who created the transistor, for which he won a Nobel prize in 1956.

Brattain was born in China, but with his parents moved back to Washington state, USA to study. Science energised him from an early age, and drove him to gain a Ph.D. in 1929 and later that year, a job at the renowned Bell Laboratories.

His main focus was on the surface properties of solids and how they could be used. The research took him into a range of experiments at the high end of science. His work with semi-conductive properties led to a long-term investigation of silicon and its characteristics.

Brattain joined forces with John Bardeen and William Shockley in groundbreaking research that led them to create the transistor in 1947. This work opened the path trodden by modern electronics today.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

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100 years of automatic switching!
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