Welcome to Genius Week here at OPOD where we will be looking at some super smart people that changed the way the world works. We start with this picture of William Shockley, who is in the middle. Shockley, along with John Bardeen (left) and Walter Brattain (right) invented the transistor. The transistor is one of the all time most important inventions. You see, all computers and most all electronic devices work based off of all information being represented by 0's and 1's. These can be realized by use of switches . . . an on switch represents a "1" and an off switch represents a "0". The very earliest computers used vacuum tubes as the on/off switches, but these were big, bulky, expensive, power hungry, hot, and they broke down frequently. The gentlemen in this picture figured out how to make a solid state switch in a piece of silicon, which they called the transistor. The transistor is small, cheap, low power, has no moving parts, and lasts virtually forever. It was this invention of the transistor that ushered in the computer age.
Shockley is generally the one most remembered for the invention. While a genius, by most accounts he was not a very nice man, and had trouble getting along with people. I think that this is not an unusual trait for uber-brilliant people. They somehow lack that social intuition that most folks have.